Language:

English. Maori is also spoken but is not widely used.

Passport and Visas:

Visas are not required for UK passport holders.

Voltage & Electricity:

230 volt AC. Three round pin plugs are used, therefore an adapter is required.

Good to know:

Where to go

Downtown Auckland is the heart of the city; you can relax and soak up the atmosphere as you wander down popular Queen Street, home to boutiques, cafés, galleries and other entertainment venues. At the end of the street you’ll find all the ferries going out to the islands. Or take a walk through Aotea Square, a mixture of stalls selling clothing, crafts, food and more.

Just off Auckland’s shores you’ll find the Hauraki Gulf and its collection of idyllic islands. Every island has its own character, from the tiny Beehive Island to the popular Waiheke Island, the secluded hot springs of Great Barrier Island and the volcanic Motukorea. If you need your sun and sand fix closer to the city you can either relax on east Auckland’s sweeping coastline overlooking the Hauraki Gulf or enjoy bohemian laid-back living in the Northern Bays.

Sophisticated northern Auckland is dedicated to fine dining and even finer wines. Take a step away from the bustling city centre and lose yourself in exquisite vintages and haute cuisine.

The west of Auckland is not for the faint hearted. Catch a mighty wave or two off the volcanic black sands of Piha or Muriwai beach, enjoy horse riding in Kumeu and wander along one of the meandering walking trails of the Waitakere Ranges. Play a round of golf in Titirangi, take a dip in the hot springs in Helensville or go mountain biking in Woodhill Forest.

What to do

Jet boating in the Viaduct Harbour is a thrilling experience as is the Auckland Bridge climb and bungee jump and the SkyJump. You can also go canyoning, quad biking, kayaking, surf off the black beaches at Piha or try a variety of snow sports at Snowplanet. For a slightly slower pace, there are horse treks, fishing, sailing and golfing opportunities. Auckland Zoo houses the largest collection of native and exotic animals in New Zealand. You can see porcupines, lions, penguins and maybe even an axolotl or Scheltopusik.

Alternatively you could visit the Glenfern Sanctuary, or take a trip out to the Muriwai Gannet colony. Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World is also a popular attraction, and you can also take an Auckland whale and dolphin safari.

Spend some time gazing at the stars at the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium before wandering through Auckland Museum and the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum. There are also a number of art galleries including the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki which are well worth a visit.

Eating out

The city’s diversity is reflected in its restaurant scene, from excellent Asian diners and upmarket sushi to convenient Asian food courts for inexpensive express dining. The harbour area of the city is host to many of the city’s finest restaurants, although a notable exception is ‘Orbit’, 190 metres up in the air atop the landmark Skycity Tower. Lamb, beef, and increasingly wine, are among New Zealand’s primary exports, but enough of the good stuff is kept at home for you to enjoy in-situ. Kiwis also pride themselves on the quality of their pies, which are generally available everywhere.

Tipping:

Tipping is a matter of choice. For excellent service, a discretionary tip of 10% may be given.

History:

The history of New Zealand dates back to approx. 1250 AD. It was discovered by Polynesians, who settled and developed a distinct Maori culture centred on kinship links and land. New Zealand is often referred to as the 'youngest country', as it was one of the last major landmasses to be inhabited, and has a fascinating mix of Maori and European heritage.