New Zealand has a temperate climate with moderate rainfall and plenty of sunshine hours. The far north has subtropical weather during summer, but in inland alpine areas of the South Island it can drop as low as -10°C (14°F) in winter. Most of the country is close to the coast - meaning average mild temperatures.
Money The unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$ or NZD). All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and MasterCard accepted most widely, followed by American Express and Diners Club.
New Zealand drives on the left with steering wheel on the right (just like Britain, Hong Kong, Japan etc.) If you're used to driving in the city, you should take care when driving on New Zealand's open country roads. There is a good motorway system but weather extremes, the terrain, narrow secondary roads and bridges require drivers to be vigilant. New Zealand recognises International Driving Permits and you can generally drive (and hire vehicles) on your home licence for short stays.
If you exhibit poor driving standards, your rental car company may cancel your contract and demand immediate return of the vehicle.
Safety and Health You should take the same care with your personal safety and your possessions as you would in any other country or at home. Take photocopies of your important documents (like your passport and credit cards), and keep them separate from the originals. You should keep a record of the description and serial number of valuable items (like digital cameras, laptop computers and mobile phones). You should also regularly back up treasured photos to a memory stick or cloud etc. for safe keeping.
Time Zone New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the new day, 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In Summer, New Zealand uses 'Daylight Saving', with clocks put forward one hour to GMT +13. Daylight saving begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of the following April, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.
Electricity The electricity supply runs at 230/240 volts, and uses angled two or three pin plugs (the same as Australia and similar to China). Most hotels and motels provide 110 volt sockets (rated at 20 watts) in bathrooms for electric razors. For all other equipment, a converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option. Plug adapter is a wise choice.