The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZ$, NZD).
Coins: 10/20/ 50 Cents, $1 and $2 coins.
Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.
There is no limitation on the import and export of foreign currency in New Zealand. However, if you import or export more than $10,000.00 cash you need to fill out a Border Cash Report.
Foreign currency exchange offices, banks and the bigger hotels all change foreign currency as well as travelers cheques from Euros, US$ and other currencies into NZ$ without a problem.
All common credit cards are easily accepted in New Zealand.
Business hours of banks in New Zealand are normally Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 4 pm. However, opening hours in larger cities are often longer and you might find some banks open on Saturday morning as well.
Money-dispensing machines are called ATM (automated teller machines) in New Zealand and are easily found near banks, at gas stations and in various stores and supermarkets throughout the country.
Credit cards, cash flow cards (Eftpos) and debit cards are accepted by ATMs with a 4 digit Pin number. We recommend that you ask your bank at home before you travel which is the best way to pay while overseas. Some banks offer credit cards with which you can draw cash from an ATM without paying extra fees.
Westpac, ASB, Bank of NZ (BNZ), ANZ and Kiwibank are the biggest banks in New Zealand.
There are no longer 1, 2, and 5 cent coins circulating in New Zealand. If you pay cash the final amount is therefore rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of ten. Prices ending in 1 to 4 cents are being rounded down and prices ending in 6 to 9 cents are rounded up. Prices ending in 5 cents are usually handled to the retailer’s discretion.
How much do I pay for everyday items?
Here are some prices of general expenses you might encounter in New Zealand:
A stamp to Europe: NZ$ 2.40
Breakfast in a hotel: from NZ$ 12.00
A cup of coffee: from NZ$ 3.50
A sandwich: from NZ$ 4.00
Internet: depending on where you are around NZ$ 2.00 per 30 minutes
One night in a hotel (double room): from NZ$ 125.00
One night in a motel (double room): from NZ$ 110.00
One night in a backpacker hostel (dorm room with several beds): from NZ$ 22.00 per person
Petrol: currently fluctuating between NZ$ 2.00 and 2.20 per liter
Diesel: currently fluctuating between NZ$ 1.40 and 1.60 per liter
Petrol prices in New Zealand don’t vary as much as in Germany. However, they can go up or down within a few weeks by around 20 cents.
Tips and Fees
Tipping is not that common in New Zealand. Usually waiters neither expect tips in restaurants nor bars. However, if you are very happy with the service, a small amount will be gladly accepted. No service fee is calculated into the price and waiters and other staff working in the hospitality industry don’t earn very much – just like everywhere else in the world.
Be aware of a 15% surcharge in most restaurants and bars on public holidays.
If you decide to take travelers cheques with you when coming to New Zealand you should make sure they are in a common currency. Depending on the exchange rate travelers cheques in Euros are usually your best bet. Travelers cheques are still one of the safest ways to travel with a relatively large amount of money. They can be exchanged for cash in all banks and currency exchange offices.
Traveling with Money in New Zealand
Although New Zealand is one of the safest countries to travel it pays to be careful. Here is a few things to keep in mind:
Never have a great deal of cash on you!
Never write your PIN number down or pass it on to a third party!
Never leave money (as well as other valuables) in your parked vehicle!
If you want to rent a car you will need a credit card. The same goes for booking bus tickets or a hotel room in New Zealand: A credit card – or at least a debit card – quite often is a must. Paying with credit card is possible almost anywhere in New Zealand without a problem.
When you rent a vehicle don’t forget to ask at the time of booking how much the bond is when you come to pick up the vehicle. Most rental companies ask between NZ$ 1000.00 and 2500.00. Depending on the vehicle this amount can be higher. This amount, in addition to the actual rental price, must be available on your credit card. Normally the bond is paid back into your account after 5 days.
One more tip: If you carry several credit cards with you during your trip, do not keep them all together in one pocket. In the case of an unfortunate loss you will always be able to use the ones you have hidden in other places.