New Zealanders are perhaps the easiest going folk there are. They are casual and easy to meet and you can dress casual for all but the swankiest restaurants and formal occasions. Referring to kiwis (New Zealanders) as Australians, even in jest, is a big faux pas. New Zealand is not a tip-happy society; you wouldn't tip the barman for serving you a beer, for example.
The New Zealand dollar (NZ$) is worth less than the US dollar and Australian dollar respectively and is obtainable anywhere in the world. Notes start at NZ$5 and go up to NZ$100, while coins go from 10 cents to NZ$2. It is worth obtaining some New Zealand dollars prior to arrival, although airports in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch have exchange services and ATMs.
ATMs are all over town and all major banks accept major foreign credit cards and debit cards with the Cirrus stamp marked on. Most places take credit cards as well as traveler's checks. New Zealand is one of the cheapest Western nations to travel to and Wellington is better priced than Auckland, yet more expensive than Christchurch.
Often referred to as the Windy City on account of its blustery winds owing to its southerly, exposed locale, Wellington can get really windy, although temperatures seldom drop below freeing. November through March has the best weather but bear in mind these are also the busiest months.
Because Wellington is compact you will seldom need to rely on public transport if you have a hotel anywhere near downtown. Metlink is the public transport system covering buses, trains and ferries. For getting about town, buses and taxis are the best bet, while Wellington Cable Car is good for visiting the Botanical Garden. The City Circular Bus is the most useful to tourists as it loops the city all day, while STARpass tickets allow for all-day travel.
The Stagecoach Flyer runs to town from Wellington International Airport (WLG) and back and is the most cost-effective transfer option. It is a bright orange bus and is found at the south end of the terminal. There are a couple of taxi options, with local firm Wellington Combined Taxis having its own rank.
Population: around 450,000
Spoken languages: English, minimal Maori
Electrical: 230 Volts, 50 Hertz
Phone/calling code: +64 4
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