Passports & Visas
Your passport must be valid for at least three months
after your intended departure date from New Zealand. Most visitors don’t
require a visa. But if you want to stay longer than three months or your home
country doesn’t have a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand, you’ll need to
apply for a Visitor’s Visa. Australian citizens and residents with a valid
Australian passport don’t need a visa or permit to enter New Zealand.
If you want to rent a vehicle you’ll need to carry your full driver’s licence with you. If your licence is not in English, you must have an approved translation or get an International Driving Permit. The minimum legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 years.
We drive on the left-hand side of the road here (same as in Australia and Britain). The speed limit is usually 100km/hr on the open road, and 50km/hr in urban areas. Any other speed restrictions will be signposted. Drinking and driving laws are strictly enforced by police who can breath-test you at any time. Our signposts follow standard international symbols and all distances are in kilometres (km).
New Zealand law requires all the occupants of a moving vehicle to wear a seatbelt and it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving unless it’s ‘hands-free’.
If you’re riding a motorbike or bicycle you must wear a helmet at all times. It’s illegal to cycle on motorways and you’ll need rear and front lights at night.
Travel time & distances from Tauranga
- to Auckland – 200km, 3 hours
- to Hamilton – 105km, 1 hour 30 minutes
- to Coromandel Peninsula – 60km, 1 hour
- to Rotorua – 63km, 60 minutes
- to Taupo – 150km, 1 hour 50 minutes
- to Napier – 290km – 3 hours 30 minutes
- to Wellington – 521km, 6 hours 25 minutes
All prices are in New Zealand dollars and include our local 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST). Tipping is not required or expected. Almost all shops and restaurants will accept major credit cards and have eftpos facilities available.
Cash machines (ATMs) are found on main streets and shopping centres throughout our region. Trading banks are normally open Monday to Friday from 9am until 4:30pm.
Foreign currency (Bureaux de Change) is available at:
- Travelex Tauranga (inside House of Travel) - cnr Spring and Willow Streets.
- Travelex Mount Maunganui – 165 Maunganui Rd
First-class medical care is widely available in New Zealand. Well-equipped hospitals with accident & emergency departments can be found in Tauranga and Whakatane. You can call an ambulance by dialing 111.
For general sickness and minor injuries you can visit a GP (general practitioner). Search for doctors’ clinics online at www.yellow.co.nz.
Alternatively phone New Zealand’s 24 hour ‘Healthline’ service on 0800 611 116 for free advice from trained registered nurses.
- Tauranga Hospital - 829 Cameron Rd, Tauranga, ph 07 579 8000
- Accident and Health Clinic (8am – 9pm only) - 19 Second Ave, Tauranga, ph 07 577 0010
- CentralMed walk-in clinic (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm only) – 434 Devonport Rd, ph 07 928 8000
- Bayfair Doctors walk-in clinic (Mon-Fri 8am-12pm, and Sat 8am-1pm only) – 42 Girven Rd, Mt Maunganui, ph 07 572 6800
- Whakatane Hospital - Cnr Stewart/Garaway Sts, Whakatane, ph 07 306 0999
- Opotiki Community Health Centre - 32A King St, Opotiki, ph 07 315 8500
In a medical emergency dial 111
Safety & Crime
The Bay of Plenty is generally a safe, friendly place where you can relax and enjoy yourself. Pickpockets and serious crime are not major issues here. But be sensible with your belongings – don’t leave valuables on display or unattended, and always lock your vehicle. Thieves sometimes target carparks at remote walking tracks or reserves. To contact police, fire or ambulance in an emergency dial 111.
Local Police Stations
- Tauranga Central Police Station - 11 Monmouth St, Tauranga, ph 07 577 4879
- Mt Maunganui Police Station - Salisbury Ave, Mt Maunganui, ph 07 575 3143
- Papamoa Community Policing Centre - 530 Papamoa Beach Rd, Papamoa, ph 07 572 2440
- Te Puke - Jellicoe Street Kiosk, Te Puke, ph 07 573 0220
- Whakatane Police Station - 62-70 Boon St, Whakatane, ph 07 308 5255
- Katikati Police Station – 78 Main Rd, Katikati, ph 07 549 0004
- Waihi Beach Police Station – 26 Wilson Rd, Waihi Beach, ph 07 863 5236
A comprehensive local bus network is available in the Bay of Plenty, allowing you to travel around our biggest city, individual suburbs and between towns. Routes include all major shopping, dining and tourist destinations.
For a full range of Bay Bus timetables and fares, please visit www.baybus.co.nz
Taxis are also available in Tauranga, Mount Maunganui, Papamoa and Whakatane.
We experience four distinct seasons in the Bay of Plenty:
Spring (September – November)
Can be windy but has mild daytime temperatures of around 24°C, falling to 5°C at night.
Summer (December – February)
Generally warm and dry with temperatures reaching 28°C or more. Overnight temperatures rarely dip below 10°C but thunderstorms can sometimes occur in the evening.
Autumn (March – May)
Tends to be our wettest months but temperatures are still mild averaging 21°C during the day and dropping to about 4°C at night.
Winter (June - August)
The coolest time of year to visit, with temperatures averaging 15°C during the day and falling to 1°C or 2°C overnight.
For more information about coastal Bay of Plenty’s climate and weather click here (link through to Weather & Climate page)
New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the sun rise each day and is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
In summer we move to ‘daylight saving’ and put our clocks forward one hour to GMT + 13. This gives us more time to enjoy warm summer evenings!
Daylight saving begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the third Sunday of the following March when clocks are put back to GMT + 12
Electricity is supplied in New Zealand at 230/240
volts (50 hertz) so your electrical gear will need a three-pin plug or similar
adapter (same as in Australia and Europe). Most hotels and motels also provide
110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.
Tap (faucet) water is fresh and safe to drink in New Zealand. But bottled water can be bought at all supermarkets and dairies if you prefer. Unfortunately water from our rivers and lakes should be boiled, chemically treated or filtered before drinking to avoid an upset stomach.
Restaurants and cafes will generally serve still water but will occasionally offer sparkling water as an alternative.