New Zealand – General information

New Zealand belongs to the British Commonwealth and is located approximately 2,000 km east of Australia between the 165th and 180th degrees East longitude and 34th and 47th degrees South latitude and consists of a North and a South Island.
269,112 km².
Administrative divisions:
16 regions (Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, Nelson, Northland, Otago, Southland, Taranaki, Tasman, Waikato, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, West Coast); 3 outdoor areas (Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelan).
Population: Approximately 3.8 million.
Cities: Wellington (capital) about 166,000, Auckland about 337,000, Christchurch about 322,000, Hamilton about 115,000, Dunedin about 117,000, Palmerston North about 49,500, Invercargill about 51,700
In New Zealand English and Maori are spoken.
time shift
Central European Time (CET) +11 hours
Due to the summer time in Europe and New Zealand, the time difference from the beginning of October to the end of March is +12 hours, from the end of March to the end of September +10 hours.
230/240 volt alternating current, 50 hertz.
Mostly 3-pin flat plugs are available. It is recommended to take an adapter with you.
Country code: .nz
Internet cafés are available in almost all cities. Internet access is also available in libraries, hotels and guesthouses.
The country code from Germany to New Zealand is 0064, from New Zealand to Germany one chooses 0049. There are mainly card phones, some also payphones. Phone cards are available for $ 5, $ 10 and $ 20 at post offices, telecom outlets, hotels and dairies (small shops).
public holidays
1st and 2nd January (New Year holidays), 6th February (Day of Waitangi), Good Friday, Easter Monday, 25th April (Anzac Day), 1st Monday in June (Queens’s Birthday), 4th Monday in October (Labor Day ), 25 and 26 December (Christmas). In addition, each province has a holiday on the anniversary of its founding.
opening hours
Banks Mon to Fri 9-16.30 (some banks do not open until 9.30 on Thursdays);

Shops: Mon to Fri 9-17.30, Sat 10-16 clock in the city centers, in the suburbs often to 18 clock. On Sundays some shops are open to tourists in the city centers; Large supermarkets are mostly open from 8:30 to 20:00, in larger cities so-called “convenience stores” are open around the clock.
Currency Unit: New Zealand Dollar (NZ $)
1 New Zealand dollar = 100 cents.
Current foreign exchange rate:
1 Euro = about 1.69 NZ $
1 US $ = about 1.27 NZ $
If you visit New Zealand in the late spring, summer or fall, you should take summer clothes as well as warmer jackets or sweaters to cover, as it can be a bit cool at night in the evening. For the winter months and early spring you need warm clothes. You should definitely have a rain cover with you. In addition, you should definitely take a good pair of sunglasses.
For hiking in the mountains you need good hiking boots and hard-wearing clothes.
Agriculture, especially the export of wool, meat and dairy products, formed the basis for the development of the modern economy in New Zealand and is still of central importance today. In addition to livestock farming is operated. In addition to wheat, corn and barley, citrus fruits and other fruits are also grown. The kiwi or Chinese gooseberry is the most successful of the new crops. In the last 25 years, the economy has been affected by profound changes. The industrial sector has been greatly expanded. The processing of agricultural products and fruit are among the most important industries. Other significant sectors include the manufacture of paper and the manufacture of chemical products, metal goods, machinery, vehicles and electrical machinery. Tourism has become one of the largest sources of income since the mid-1980s.
Most New Zealanders are Christians. Of these, 25 percent are Anglicans, 18 percent are Presbyterians, 16 percent Catholics and 5 percent Methodists. Most Maori are members of the Christian churches of Ratana and Ringatu. Jews, Hindus and Confucians form minorities. About 15 percent of the population is non-denominational.

New Zealand – Climate

The seasons in New Zealand are opposite to the European ones.

New Zealand is mostly located in the temperate zone.

However, the weather is much more changeable than in Central Europe.

The North Island, which is closer to the equator, is warmer in the northern part, colder in the southern part, and colder in the south of the South Island.

In general, one can say that the climate of the North Island is subtropical, but the climate of the South Island is rather Central European (with slightly higher temperatures). The rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.
The temperatures drop at night in the highlands much lower than on the sea level. Therefore, you should expect during a visit to the Southern Alps in the summer with temperatures below 10 ° C.

The width-dependent temperature differences between the north and south of New Zealand are less than the distance of 1500 km would suggest. The balancing effect of the surrounding masses of water is responsible for this. The oceanic climate of New Zealand has a temperature difference of more than 10 ° C both in the annual and the daily cycle. The exception to this is especially Central Otago, a more continental landscape. Here larger temperature fluctuations are the rule.

The highest annual average between 13 ° C and 14 ° C is the north of the North Island. The extreme north of the South Island and the other regions of the North Island are in the 12 ° C zones. Following the south, annual averages fall to 9 ° C. For comparison: Stuttgart 8 ° C. The highest daily temperatures of more than 22 ° C prevail during the summer months (December, January, February) on the North Island and in the north and east of the South Island, temperatures below 0 ° C are rare even during the New Zealand winter (June, July, August) , Only in the Southern Alps, the Central Otago and the central volcanic area of ​​the North Island does the thermometer fall below freezing. In the coastal regions, maritime influence prevents values ​​below freezing.
Best travel time
Due to the mild climate, which knows neither extreme heat nor cold, every season is suitable for a stay in New Zealand.

Summer lasts from December to February, autumn from March to May, winter from June to August and spring from September to November.

New Zealand’s main season spans the months of December, January and February.

During this time you should book the accommodations from your home country, as at this time, most New Zealanders go on vacation.
Despite the relatively high rainfall, New Zealand has a longer sunshine duration than it is known from Central Europe (around 1600 hours a year).

The average annual sunshine duration varies between 2500 hours in the north of the South Island and 1500 hours in the Southern Alps and the Fiordland.

Apart from these extreme values, 1600 to 2000 hours of sunshine per year are normal for the South Island, whereby a decrease in the sunshine duration from north to south is to be considered.

In the lee of the Southern Alps, the annual sunshine is 2200 hours. For the coastal areas of the North Island, values ​​of 2,000 to 2,200 hours a year are the norm. Only in the central volcanic area of ​​the North Island does the sunshine duration decrease below 1800 hours / year. With an average sunshine duration of 2000 hours per year, this results in a daily average of 5 ½ hours per day.

New Zealand – Fauna

About 80 to 100 million years ago, New Zealand drifted away from the massive supercontinent Gondwanaland to the South Pacific. Since then, a unique flora and fauna has emerged, with a large number of beautiful native birds and plants and direct descendants of prehistoric wildlife such as the Tuatara, the Weta and the giant snake. New Zealand is a last resort for extinct zoological species elsewhere.

Before humans settled in New Zealand, large areas were lush with native bush and this created an incredible variety of birds. In the course of their development wings became superfluous for some birds, since they had no more natural enemies, whom they had to fly away. That’s why some of New Zealand’s native birds became flightless. These include z. The kakapo parrot, the kiwi, the takahe and the largest bird in the world, the (meanwhile extinct) moa.

When the Maori and Europeans settled in New Zealand, they hunted birds and brought rats and weasels with them. This circumstance and the loss of habitat led to the eradication of a number of birds such. B. the Moa and the Huia. Others, such as the kakapo and the takahe, became endangered species.
The national symbol of New Zealand is a flightless night bird and it has nostrils at the end of its large beak. He is now one of the endangered species. It is difficult to experience him in the wild. Although they look cute, kiwis can be wild and extremely territorial.
The Moa is the only ever-existing wingless bird. The Giant Moa, one of eleven Moaarten, is also the largest known bird with a size of 3 meters. Many Moa Bones and Skeletons were found in small caves where the Moa had fallen. The Maori chased the Moa and it was probably extirpated about 400 years ago.
More birds
Other native birds in New Zealand are the Kea (a parrot), the Weka, the Takahe, the Tui and the Cuckoo Owl. The playful Kea is one of the most intelligent birds in the world; especially he loves cars from which he steals windshield wipers or other rubber parts. The gracious Weka is a flightless bird with a weakness for shiny objects.

The Takahe stands out with its beautiful indigo feather dress and a bright red beak. Like many native New Zealand bird species, the Tui has beautiful singing and a white collar.

The Morepork Owl (Cuckoo Owl) is named after its reputation, which is often heard at night. The Maori name, Ruru, was given to the bird also because of its reputation.
The Tuatara is a relic of the past – the only reptile with a beaked head that still exists in the world. All species of this reptilian family, with the exception of the Tuatara, have probably died out about 65 million years ago. The Tuatara can be over 100 years old and was once found throughout New Zealand. Today, they are only found on sheltered offshore islands – about 30,000 live on Stephens Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

With a length of at most 24 cm, the Tuatara is completely harmless.
Whales and dolphins
New Zealand has a rich and diverse marine life. Here you can watch whales and swim with dolphins. The small, up to 1.4 m long, Hector dolphin occurs only in the waters of New Zealand. There are some places on the South Island from which you can observe Hector dolphins up close.

New Zealand – Flora

New Zealand once formed a contiguous land mass with the present continents of Australia, Antarctica, South America, Africa and India, the primordial continent of Gondwana. The origin of most native New Zealand plants can be traced back to this landmass.

New Zealand lost its land connection with the rest of the world about 150 million years ago. By introducing some of their crops, including the Taro, and at least one mammal, the Kiore or the Polynesian rat, the Maori have caused considerable damage to native plant and animal life.

The arrival of the 18th century European settlers helped the Maori to bring down the last Moas. They also brought a variety of plants and animals from their countries of origin. For this reason, large parts of New Zealand today are very similar to Europe. About 560 introduced plant species have spread to the islands and about 240 are native to the country.

The original vegetation consisted of evergreen and hardy plants. Bracken, bramble and oleander were brought into the country together with the grain seeds and today dominate the picture in vast areas of New Zealand. The eucalyptus was originally not native to New Zealand. He was also introduced.

In the highlands, Monterey pine from California was planted with great success against progressing soil erosion. On the west coast and in the Southern Alps of the South Island some of the deciduous tree species are cultivated for reforestation.

On the North Island you will find in many places temperate rainforest with mosses,
Ferns, tree ferns, creepers and lichens.

New Zealand – History

About 500 years after Christ, the islands of New Zealand were settled by the Maori, a people who came from eastern Polynesia.

In 1642, Dutch sailors became the first Europeans to reach the west coast of the South Island.

Later, the islands were renamed to the Dutch province of Zeeland in Nieuw Zeeland.

In 1769, the British navigator and explorer James Cook discovered the North Island. At this time, the population of Maori living there was about 125,000.

In 1844, the British government took possession of New Zealand.

The systematic immigration of European settlers began in 1839/40. Through the Waitangi treaty with the indigenous Maori, the English acquired ownership.

In 1841, New Zealand became a British Crown Colony and Auckland became its capital. Territorial conflicts between the British settlers and the Maori led to the New Zealand wars on the North Island (1845-1848 and 1860-1872).

A more moderate policy led to peace between the colonialists and the Maori people.

In 1852, a separate constitution was passed, and four years later a parliament and a central government were established.

In the second half of the 19th century, liberal and conservative groups alternately took power.

In 1910, the New Zealand Labor Party was founded, which later succeeded in enforcing land reforms as well as social reforms.

New Zealand fought on the British side in both the First and Second World Wars.

In 1951, the country with Australia and the United States joined the defensive pact ANZUS.

In the 1970s, ties to Britain eased and more political and economic ties were established in the Pacific and with Australia.

New Zealand – Food & Drink

The kiwi is an outspoken fan of the “picnic”. Barbecuing is simply a way of life for New Zealanders.

But you also know how to dine in style. Since the beginning of the nineties, the Inaeln are littered with a variety of restaurants.

In particular, the kitchens of Europe and Asia were imported. So there is something for every taste.

The prices are at the level of German restaurants.

The puritanischen alcohol laws were meanwhile steadily relaxed. In the cities, some pubs and cafes are open until after midnight. Alcohol offer supermarkets and special liquor stores.

There are a variety of beers that are worth trying. New Zealand wine in bottles is a pronounced tip.

Most restaurants have a liquor license (licensed).

However, some restaurants are still listed as “BYO” (for “bring your own”). That means: You have to bring your own alcohol.

Among the dishes of course is the excellent lamb to mention, the (raised in farms) game and the delicious delicacies from the sea.

Snapper, orange roughy and trout are just a sample of the fish we want to mention. Furthermore, there are several types of mussels (paua, pee, scallops) and the tasty bluff oysters from the Foveaux Strait in front of Stewart Island.

A special specialty is the whitebait, a fish of only two to four centimeters in size. The Inanga fish is caught in the spring with nets from the rivers as it wanders upriver. It is served as a fresh delicacy.

For starters, a dip from the ripening on the North Island five avocado varieties and local vegetables is recommended.

For dessert you should try the traditional calorie bomb Pavlova. For some years excellent white wines have been served for dinner. Chardonnay from Gisborne and Sauvignon are the finest wines. Merlot and Gewürztraminer are also excellent and have international awards.

New Zealand – Accommodations

In addition to hotels, motels and inns, there is the possibility to stay in traditional Maori houses.

In rural areas, overnight stays are often cheaper. In the cities you can find budget accommodation. There are few luxury hotels. In the high season it is not always easy to find rooms of the desired price range. It is advisable to book as soon as possible.

Good motels with cooking facilities make up about 80% of the accommodations offered.

Further information from the Motel Association of New Zealand, Paxus House, Level 5, 79 Boulcott Street, NZ-Wellington. Tel: (04) 499 64 15. Fax: (4) 499 64 16. (Internet: or the Hospitality Association of New Zealand, Education House, 8th Floor, 178-182 Willis Street, PO Box 503, NZ Wellington. Tel: (04) 385 1369. Fax: (04) 384 8044. (Internet:
Many farms receive visitors. Often there are also sports activities such as fishing, skiing or horseback riding. Prices are usually including breakfast and dinner.

Holdsworth (Internet: publishes a guide to various accommodations in New Zealand.
Backpackers’ hostels are available nationwide. For more information, contact The Budget Backpacker Hostels, 99 Titiraupenga Street, NZ-Taupo. Tel: (07) 377 15 68. (Internet: BBH offers a Backpacker Card for around $ 20, which offers many discounts. Detailed information on backpacking can also be found on the destination Downunder (Internet:
From December to March you can book in advance at the Youth Hostel Association Beds, Address: PO Box 436, NZ-Christchurch. Tel: (03) 379 99 70. Fax: (03) 365 44 76. (Internet: In the larger cities there are other inexpensive accommodations.
Numerous campsites of various price ranges with different standard are available. Between December and April (Easter) advance booking is recommended. The New Zealand Motor Camps generally have washing and cooking facilities, larger seats are often better equipped. The camps do not provide tents, but equipment can be rented from various organizations.

Questions about the destination New Zealand?