How do I get from the airport to the city centre or my accommodation?

Dunedin Airport is approximately 29km from the city centre and it takes approximately 30 minutes by car and around 50 minutes if you choose to use a shuttle bus. The shuttle bus can be booked in advance at https://www.airportshuttlesdunedin.co.nz/book-online. If you decide to take a taxi, please be aware that it will cost in the range of $80.

Can I use my mobile in New Zealand?

European phones should work on NZ’s network, but most American or Japanese phones will not. You may want to check with your provider before traveling if they have an international roaming plan. It is straightforward to buy a local SIM card and prepaid account at outlets in airports and large towns around New Zealand - provided your mobile is unlocked.

Do I need an adapter?

Unless you are visiting from Australia, you will an adapter for your electronic devices. The standard electrical supply in New Zealand is 230V and 50Hz. If you are visiting from the US or Canada, for example, this means you will need a voltage converter or transformer as well unless your device is dual voltage.

Is it customary to tip in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, tips are not expected. A good rule to follow is tip only when service is great, but do not feel obliged to do so. You can tip if you want, but it is more common to leave space change instead and even this is not expected. In lots of places, you can find a tip jar, or charity jar on the counter when you pay for your meal. Be aware that in most restaurants and cafes in NZ you will need to go up to the counter to pay even if the bill if brought to the table.

Should I use credit cards or cash?

All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and MasterCard accepted most widely, though credit card transactions will incur charges. If you want to use cash, New Zealand banks are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Some are also open during weekends. Automated Teller Machines (ATM's) are widely available at banks, along main shopping streets and in malls. International credit cards and ATM cards will work as long as they have a four-digit PIN encoded.

Many New Zealand businesses use Eftpos (electronic funds transfer at point of sale), allowing you to use your bankcard (credit or debit) to make direct purchases and often withdraw cash as well. Eftpos is available practically everywhere: just like at an ATM, you will need a PIN.

Check with your bank before leaving home if you are unsure if your card will work overseas.

What is Swedish rounding?

Due to the discontinuation of 1c, 2c and 5c pieces, purchases made in New Zealand are subject to "rounding" of amounts either up or down. The Reserve Bank believes most retailers are adopting the Swedish Rounding System. Under this system prices, ending in 1 to 4 cents will be rounded down and prices ending in 6 to 9 cents will be rounded up. For example, a purchase of $15.14 would be rounded down to $15.10, and a purchase of $15.16 would be rounded up to $15.20. It is at the retailer’s discretion how they handle prices ending in 5 cents.

What sort of clothes should I bring?

The average August temperature for Dunedin is 11.2oC (52.2oF). Though the climate in Dunedin is generally temperate, the weather can be very changeable with the possibility of experiencing four seasons of weather in a day. With this in mind, we would suggest that layers and a warm coat are a must.

Are there any Biosecurity rules? What can I bring with me and what can I take home?

New Zealand has strict rules for bringing items in and out of the country. Any risk and prohibited items need to be declared on the arrival card to avoid fines. Risk items include food items such as fruits, vegetables, meat, honey and items containing honey, dairy products, herbs and spices including herbal medicines. Any dead or alive plant and plant material, wooden material and used outdoor equipment are considered risk items. Special permits are required for importing and exporting endangered plants and animals and their products. Pets meeting import standards can be brought in to the country with adequate paper work. Pounamu (green stone) in its natural state, paua shell, wildlife, antiquities and some work of art may also have export restrictions. More information can be found at the Biosecurity New Zealand website.

What are the driving condition like in New Zealand?

New Zealand’s diverse terrain means roads are often narrow, hilly and windy with plenty of sharp corners. Outside of the main cities, there are very few motorways. Most of our roads are single lane in each direction without barriers in between. You may also encounter gravel roads. It’s important to allow plenty of time, go slow and pull over in a safe place if traffic wants to pass from behind you. Take plenty of breaks so that you stay alert. Maps don’t show how narrow and windy roads can be. What might look like a short trip can take a long time – always allow for more time than you think you’ll need. 

Please note that you must drive on the left while in New Zealand and that the maximum speed on any open road is 100km/h. While the maximum speed in urban areas is 50km/h. Adjust your speed as conditions demand – Driving in New Zealand is different to driving in other countries.

What do I do in the event of an Earthquake?

There are thousands of earthquakes in New Zealand every year, but most of them are not felt because they are either small, or very deep within the earth. Each year there are about 150 – 200 quakes that are big enough to be felt. However, Dunedin is relatively geologically stable.

  • In the event of an earthquake then the New Zealand Government, provides the following advice:
  • If you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps, drop, cover and hold. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In most buildings in New Zealand, you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops.
  • If you are in an elevator, drop, cover and hold. When the shaking stops, try to get out at the nearest floor if you can safely do so.
  • If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, move no more than a few steps away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold.
  • If you are at the beach or near the coast, drop, cover and hold then move to higher ground immediately in case a tsunami follows the quake.
  • If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling debris or landslides.