Prepare for your trip to NZ

Plan ahead for your arrival in New Zealand, so you don’t get stuck at the airport—or find yourself wandering around Wellington with an inside-out umbrella.

What you’ll need at the airport

As well as your luggage, passport and visa, it’s good to bring:

  • a list of important phone numbers, like your bank (in case you lose your credit card), your emergency contact details and your High Commission or Embassy (in case you lose your passport)
  • prescriptions for medicine or glasses, translated into English if they’re in another language
  • a copy of your Offer of Place letter
  • contact details for Victoria International and our airport meeting service.

Keep a photocopy of your birth certificate and passport in your checked luggage—and leave a copy with someone at home, too.

Don’t bring any food—if you bring anything declare it on your arrivals card. New Zealand has very strict biosecurity rules, and strong penalties for breaking them. Find out what you have to declare when travelling to New Zealand.

Check the baggage allowance of your flights before you leave. If you book a domestic flight (for example, from Auckland to Wellington) separately to your international flight, the baggage allowance may be less and you’ll have to pay for any extra luggage.

Making a domestic connection

If you arrive at Auckland International Airport, you’ll need to make your way to the Domestic Terminal to catch your connecting flight to Wellington. There is a free shuttle bus service, but it is an easy walk.

Your health care in New Zealand

While you are in New Zealand, it is likely you will need health care at some time. New Zealand doctors, known as General Practitioners (GPs) are available at Student Health on campus.

For your GP to provide the best possible treatment, we strongly recommend you bring the following information with you in English:

  • medical history summary
  • current medication list
  • past immunisation history
  • travel related vaccinations.

Your medication

Every country has a different classification system for medicines—a medicine that’s sold over the counter in your country might be by prescription only in New Zealand.

If you are bringing prescription medicines or controlled drugs with you, the New Zealand Customs Service requires you to:

  • have a prescription or letter from your doctor in English
  • carry the drugs in their original containers
  • only carry up to three months’ supply of prescription medicines (you can bring up to six months’ supply of oral contraceptive pills), or
  • only carry one month’s supply of controlled drugs.

You should also carry a note (in English) from your doctor that says:

  • what you’re being treated for and for how long
  • the name of the medication and the dosage
  • how much medicine you’ll need over your whole stay in New Zealand
  • your doctor’s email address and phone number.

You must also declare on your incoming passenger arrival card anything that could be considered a prescription medication or controlled drug.

Herbal medication, over-the-counter medicine (like paracetamol or hay-fever pills) or dietary supplements are able to be brought into New Zealand without a note or other documentation as long as they’re for your own use.

For more information on medications, go to the New Zealand Customs and the Ministry of Health websites.

Immunisations or vaccinations

Staying healthy and protecting yourself from preventable illness while you are studying at Victoria University of Wellington is important.

It is recommended that all students are fully immunised against Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), Meningococcal ACWY and Pertussis (Whooping Cough).

The Varicella immunisation is also recommended for students who have not had chicken pox the disease or have not already completed a course of the varicella immunisation.

There is a cost for the Meningococcal ACWY, Pertussis and Varicella immunisations. There is no cost for the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) immunisation.

If you are not able to have these immunisations before arriving on campus, you can arrange to get them at Student Health, ideally during Orientation Week.

To book an appointment with Student Health, call +64 4 463 5308 or visit the Mauri Ora or Te Taunaki reception.

Money

Find out how banking in New Zealand works and what you’ll need to open an account.

Bring at least $NZD400 to cover expenses when you first arrive.

We strongly recommend that you bring most of this money in travellers’ cheques or loaded onto a credit card—don’t bring large amounts of cash. You might want to change about $100 of cash into New Zealand currency, especially if you’re arriving over the weekend.

You can exchange foreign currency at most banks and currency exchange services like Travelex. Auckland and Wellington airports both have Travelex branches—Travelex and banks in New Zealand aren’t open 24 hours, so it might be a good idea to get some cash before you arrive.

What you’ll need in Wellington

You might want to bring with you:

  • sunblock and sunglasses—the sun in New Zealand is strong, and you can be burned even on cloudy days
  • warm clothes and a waterproof jacket—the weather in Wellington can change quickly, even in summer
  • some good walking shoes (sneakers)—you can get around Wellington easily without a car, but there are a lot of hills.

You can leave the umbrella at home—Wellington is famous for its wind. Instead, bring a good raincoat and some strong hair product.

If you bring electrical items, make sure you bring the appropriate adaptor plug and voltage converter. The New Zealand power system is 240 volts, 50 hertz.

Find out what to expect when you first arrive in New Zealand.