New Zealand

There aren't many places on this planet where travellers are so well catered for – in terms of both man-made enticements and splendours of the natural realm. New Zealand is bigger than the UK, with one-fourteenth the population size. Filling in the gaps are sublime forests, majestic mountains, and the stunning lakes, beaches and fjords that have made this country one of the best hiking (locals call it 'tramping') destinations on Earth. It’s renowned worldwide for having a relaxed, friendly, spacious and outdoor adventure lifestyle (think sport, walks, BBQs, and beaches). When you combine this adventurous outlook with a stunning backdrop you start to see why travellers rate New Zealand as the action/adventure/adrenalin capital of the world!


Banking and Currency

Currency

The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD; symbol: NZ$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of NZ$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of NZ$2 and 1, and 50, 20 and 10 cents.

Please note that In November 2006, the New Zealand Reserve Bank introduced new, smaller 50-, 20- and 10-cent coins. The old 5-cent coin has been phased out. Old coins can only be exchanged at the Reserve Bank.

There are no restrictions on the import and export of either local or foreign currency, subject to declarations for cash amounts of NZ$10,000 upon departure or arrival.

Banking

Banking Hours: Monday to Friday 9h30 to 4h30. Some banks are open on a Saturday until 12h30

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted.

Automated Teller Machines (ATM) 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. Check with your bank before leaving home.

Travellers' cheques can be exchanged at official rates at trading banks, large hotels and some shops. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars, Euro, Pounds Sterling or Australian Dollars. American Express, Visa and Thomas Cook cheques are the most frequently accepted.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

With so many things to do and spectacular places to see, choosing how you travel around New Zealand is as important as choosing where you want to go.

Your choice of transport will depend on how quickly you want to get from A to B. Plane, train, bus, boat, car or caravan – you could even cycle if you’re feeling adventurous.  In most cases getting there is all part of the fun so hire a motor home to see the sights at your own pace, or jump on a train for a scenic tour through remote areas often inaccessible by road.  

For travel between New Zealand's islands, hop on a plane or ferry. Daily flights are available between domestic airports. Several passenger and vehicle ferries offer services between the North, South and other islands.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

The cuisine in New Zealand is very seasonal and relies heavily on local produce. As the islands are very agricultural there is a wide variety of fresh foods always available. The influences are largely British although there are Asian influences creeping in and takeaways are becoming more popular.

New Zealand is an island nation with its waters containing a large variety of fish and seafood. Despite this, until recently shellfish hasn't played an important part in the diet of New Zealanders. The consumption of fish has traditionally been low as meat has been the main preference for meals. Having said this, fish and seafood has always been significant in the Maori diet and you will notice that the names of many of them are still used today in Maori.


Climate and Weather

New Zealand has a largely temperate climate. While the far north has subtropical weather during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as - 10°C in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and abundant sunshine.

Because New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases as you travel south. The far north of the country has an average temperature of about 15°C, while the deep south has a cooler 9°C average. January and February are the warmest months of the year, and July is the coldest.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

New Zealand is typically an informal place so pack casually for comfort.

Famous for having four seasons in one day; our advice if you are traveling even in the summer is to pack a light jacket or pashmina shawl just in case the weather turns cooler or if you're visiting higher altitudes. You can also expect some rain, so include a light raincoat.

Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and night-spots.

New Zealand is renowned for its outdoor activities, so make sure you take swimming gear, hiking shoes, trekking pants/shorts, sunhat and sunglasses, as well as plenty of sunscreen

If you plan to do much walking then lightweight walking shoes or sneakers are fine.


Electricity and Plug Standards

Electrical sockets in New Zealand are Type I (AS/NZS 3112). If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all types.

Electrical sockets in New Zealand usually supply electricity at230 volts AC / 50 Hz frequency. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 230 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 230 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary.


Tonga

Commonly known as the 'Friendly Islands' due to its remarkably warm and welcoming locals, Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprised of over 170 scenic tropical islands. Dramatic volcanic landscapes are complemented by lush rainforests, clear lagoons, colourful coral atolls and exquisite beaches, providing a range of diverse habitats for a variety of exotic wildlife. Believed to have been inhabited as far back as the 5th century BC, Tonga boasts a rich history with fascinating archaeological sites, including the terraced tombs in the Lapaha area of Tongatapu Island. Whether you are keen to enjoy the area’s first-class diving opportunities or spot the humpback whales at one of the world’s finest whale-watching spots, Tonga makes an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxing Pacific getaway.


Banking and Currency

Currency

The Tonga currency is the Pa'anga (divided into 100 seniti) = 100 seniti. Notes are in denominations of TOP50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 seniti. 

Banking

Banking hours: Monday-Friday 09h00-16h00, Saturday 08h30-11h30.

There is limited use of both Diners Club and Visa. 

Travellers cheques are accepted at banks and at some hotels and tourist shops. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Australian Dollars or Pounds Sterling.



Travel, Transport and Getting Around

REALtonga runs domestic flights across Tonga. There is a good network of metalled roads, although with some potholes. Speed limits are low compared to Europe and North America and are generally observed. Car hire may be arranged through various agencies. Self-drive or chauffeur-driven cars are available. Saloon-car taxis, minimokes and minibuses are available. Taxis may not be marked, but you can identify them by the letter 'T' at the beginning of the number plate. They aren't metered, so make sure you agree the fare before departure. Used mainly by visitors, buses can be a fun way to get around the island. If you see one passing, you can wave it down. Local ferries sail between all the island groups. There are regular sailings from Faua Wharf in Nuku'alofa to Ha'apai and Vava'u. Ferry schedules are subject to change according to demand or the weather. Water taxis also sail between islands, and private yacht charters are available.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Mains water is chlorinated and safe to drink in the main towns. Elsewhere, drinking water should be considered a potential health risk and sterilisation is advisable. Bottled water is available. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry and seafood are generally considered safe to eat. It is advised to wash vegetables and fruit with boiled water and boil any questionable drinking water before use.

Specialities include Ufi (a large white yam), Lu pulu (meat and onions, marinated in coconut milk, baked in taro leaves in an underground oven), Feke (grilled octopus or squid in coconut sauce), and devilled clams (raw fish marinated in lemon juice) and lobster. Feasts play a major role in the Tongan lifestyle. Up to 30 different dishes may be served on a pola (a long tray of plaited coconut fronds), and will typically include suckling pig, crayfish, chicken, octopus, pork and vegetables steamed in an umu (underground oven), with a variety of tropical fruits.


Climate and Weather

Tonga's climate is marginally cooler than most tropical areas. The best time to visit is from May to November. Heavy rains occur from December to March.




Electricity and Plug Standards

For the most part, electrical sockets in Tonga are Type I (AS/NZS 3112). If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. 

Electrical sockets in Senegal usually supply electricity at between 100 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 100-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 100-240 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary. 



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