Rotorua & NZ Information

Daunted? The following may help

During this period of uncertainty, some local attractions, businesses, hotels and motels may be closed or have limited hours. Please check with the operator when booking. For those of you who cannot visit New Zealand due to border closures, enjoy a virtual visit to Rotorua. Hopefully we get to see you in person real soon. Stay healthy and take care! —Karen

Key New Zealand information to access emergency services, public holidays, driving etc… includes points for Rotorua.

Get your questions answered. Like, where do I go to for medical help, is my Driver Licence valid in NZ, how do I keep myself safe?

NB: An * denotes Information relating generally to NZ

  • Accident & Illness * - Hopefully not but just in case you do end up ill or injured there are a couple of places where you can receive help.

    In the first instance, if its not serious enough to warrant hospitalisation try Lakes Primecare situated towards the lake end of the city. They are an Accident & Urgent Medical Care Centre owned and operated by Rotorua's general practioners. You don't need an appointment and there are upfront costs involved.

    Lakes Primecare cnr Arawa & Tutanekai Sts Ph 24hrs 348 1000 Hrs 8.00am - 10.00pm daily Adjoining Lakes Primecare is the Lakescare Pharmacy where you can get prescriptions filled straight away. Lakescare Pharmacy cnr Arawa & Tutanekai Sts Ph 348 4385 Hrs 8.30am - 9.30pm daily If things are more serious you had better get along to our local hospital. Rotorua Hospital Pukeroa St Ph 24hrs 348 1199 Patient Enquiries Ph349 7977 8am - 4.30pm Visiting hours are 2pm - 8pm daily NB: New Zealand facts - if you injure yourself in anyway whilst here you are covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). They provide no-fault personal injury cover for all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand. This includes accident-related costs such as medical transfer by ambulance or helicopter, surgery, hospital stay and rehabilitation. Be aware though, this only applies while you are in New Zealand. If it's an illness you are dealing with then your medical insurance will kick in. You've got it right? Right. Here's crossing fingers you don't need these services.

  • *ATM locations - you will find these dotted handily all around the city. They are in all the major supermarkets and the outlying shopping centres. The ATMs accept most major credit/debit cards. If you stop anyone - apart from a tourist that is - they will readily point you in the right direction to find an ATM.

  • Currency - Local NZ currency is the New Zealand dollar. $1.00 = 100cents. We have coins of 10, 20 and 50 cents. Notes are 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. When using cash the total amount is rounded up or down because the smallest coin is 10 cents. For example 57 cents is rounded to 60 cents or 54 cents is rounded to 50 cents.

  • Dress - This section is a blend of New Zealand information on dressing as well as Rotorua. We are a pretty casual lot when it comes to dressing although I would say that this is the case worldwide now. In Rotorua tidy casual seems to be the main uniform when eating at the majority of cafe bars and restaurants. A few may be a bit more upmarket so just check prior to going. If you're already out and about just enquire at the door. Rotorua eateries are well used to tourists and visitors passing by and popping in for a meal. If you are in the bigger centers like Auckland there is more scope for a nightlife therefore the chance to dress up a bit more. My 23yr old daughter lives in Auckland so when they go nightclubbing they dress up. When she comes back to Rotorua the same outfits make her feel definitely overdressed.

  • GST - or Goods and Services Tax is added onto pretty much everything we buy or use in New Zealand. At this point in time it is 15%. Sellers are legally obliged to advertise the fact that a product or service price does not include GST.

  • Emergency Services - New Zealand information relating to emergency services is standard nationwide. Phone 111 for Ambulance, Fire, Police and Civil Defence. For Rescue Services and Gas emergencies, use 111 as well but ask for Police. The Deaf emergency textphone (TTY) number is 0800 16 16 16. This only applies to Ambulance, Fire and Police. Contact details for non-urgent calls can be found in the local White Pages telephone directory. The White Pages also have details for animal emergencies, railway emergencies, electric power line faults, poisons and hazardous chemicals at the National Poisons Centre etc.

  • Driving - You can drive in New Zealand if you hold a driver licence from another country - and it's valid of course - or if you have an International Driving Permit (IDP). With the IDP you still have to carry your current Driver Licence. Don't be confused by the term 'Driving Permit' if that is how your licence is termed in your country. An IDP is totally different. If your Driver Licence is in a foreign language you have to obtain an authorised translation. It is a legal requirement to carry your Driver Licence at all times when you are driving here. You can be fined if you do not have it. In New Zealand we drive a bit different from some countries. We also have some different road rules too so Click this link to leave New Zealand Information and go to the NZ Transport Agency and get the factsheet "What's Different About Driving In NZ".

  • Public Holidays - Rotorua gets super busy on holiday weekends. There always seems to be some event/s on at these times so booking in advance is a good idea. Something else to consider is the possibility of stocking up on food etc. prior to arriving. The supermarkets become a nightmare, and you don't really want to be spending a lot of time in them while on holiday do you? There is far too much else to be seeing and doing.
    NZ Public Holidays 2020 2021 2022
    New Year's Day¹ Wed 1 Jan Fri 1 Jan Sat 1¹ Jan
    Day after NY Day² Thu 2 Jan Sat 2 Jan¹ Sun 2 Jan²
    Waitangi Day Thu 6 Feb Sun 8 Feb² Sun 6 Feb²
    Good Friday Fri 10 Apr Fri 2 Apr Fri 15 Apr
    Easter Monday Mon 13 Apr Mon 5 Apr Mon 17 Apr
    Anzac Day Sat 25 Apr¹ Sun 26 Apr¹ Mon 25 Apr
    Queen's Birthday Mon 1 Jun Mon 7 Jun Mon 6 Jun
    Labour Day Mon 26 Oct Mon 25 Oct Mon 24 Oct
    Christmas Day¹ Fri 25 Dec Sat 25 Dec¹ Sun 25 Dec¹
    Boxing Day Sat 26 Dec¹ Sun 27 Dec² Mon 26 Dec

    (1) observed on the following Monday if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday.
    (2) observed the following Monday if it falls on a Saturday or Tuesday if it falls on a Sunday.

    Anniversary Holidays - This is one further holiday observed annually - on different days depending on the region.

    Area 2020 2021 2022
    Wellington 20 Jan 25 Jan 24 Jan
    Auckland 27 Jan 01 Feb 31 Jan
    Nelson 03 Feb 01 Feb 31 Jan
    Otago 23 Mar 22 Mar 21 Mar
    Taranaki 09 Mar 08 Mar 14 Mar
    Southland 14 Apr 06 Apr 19 Apr
    Sth Canterbury 28 Sep 27 Sep 26 Sep
    Hawkes Bay 23 Oct 22 Oct 21 Oct
    Marlborough 02 Nov 01 Nov 31 Oct
    Canterbury 13 Nov 12 Nov 11 Nov
    Chatham Is 27 Nov 29 Nov 28 Nov
    Westland 30 Nov 29 Nov 28 Nov

    Source of information is Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment Public Holiday Dates

    School Holidays - New Zealand information on the school holidays is standard throughout the country. There will be local variances but they don't impact on the dates as a whole. Additionally, high schools tend to have some longer holiday periods.

    Term Holidays 2020 2021 2022
    End of Term 1 Apr 10 - Apr 27 Apr 17 - May 02 Apr 15 - May 01
    End of Term 2 Jul 04 - Jul 19 Jul 10 - Jul 25 Jul 09 - Jul 24
    End of Term 3 Sep 26 - Oct 11 Oct 02 - Oct 17 Oct 01 - Oct 16
    End of Term 4 Dec 19 - Feb 02 Dec 20 - Feb 01 Dec 20 - Feb 01

    Source of information is MOE - School Terms and Holidays

    Staying Safe - Although New Zealand is a relatively safe place to visit it still doesn't hurt to be safety conscious. Having spent seventeen plus years in the police force here I have seen my share of visitors get ripped off, assaulted etc. I don't want that to be you.
    Here's the reality. If your motel room/vehicle gets cleaned out, including your travel documents, you are stuck. You will spend hours in the police station, sometimes days, trying to arrange new passports, tickets etc. It's doubly worse when there are language barriers. The poor visitor quite often ends up shattered with their mementos gone, photos gone, everything gone.

    Once again, I don't want that to be you. The NZ Police website has indepth New Zealand information for travellers. It includes keeping safe on roads, personally, outdoors, possessions, cards and identity, text messaging and alcohol. I couldn't write it any clearer than what they have so click this link New Zealand Information- Visitor Safety in NZ to be taken to their page.

    Staying Safe In Rotorua * - There are just a few things I would say in relation to staying safe in Rotorua. In the evenings the city empties right out with very few people about. This seems to be the time that the riffraff decide to make their presence felt. Like vampires huh?

    In the main they are teenagers, quite often Māori - which I hate to have to admit - and boy do they have an attitude. Some of them can be quite intimidating. These teens harass people they perceive to be vulnerable, like tourists or people on their own asking for cigarettes, drugs and money. The behaviour is generally obnoxious.

    CCTV cameras are positioned throughout the city. These are monitored a big part of the time by volunteers. If they see anything going down, the boys and girls in blue are off.

    For a total about face, something else to be aware of that's peculiar to Rotorua is the thermal. It's all around us here so it pays to stay to the tracks. Our council does a good job in signposting the different areas but you never know where a new hole is going to pop up.

    Another about face and it's not about safety as such. Any silver jewellery you have will tarnish here with the sulphur in the air. I gave up on wearing silver and just use stainless steel or white gold now. I couldn't stand all the cleaning.

    Tipping - Tipping is not a normal practice in New Zealand. Unlike the USA, employees here receive a full wage and shouldn't have to rely on tips to survive.

    I did go to a cafe in Auckland recently though, and when I went to pay by EFT-POS the machine said, 'do you want to enter a Tip amount.' That got right up my nose straight away.

    If I think that I have been on the receiving end of spectacular service I probably would leave a tip. But to be asked for it. That's a no-no in my book.

    You will probably notice - especially with cafes - money jars for leaving tips which is up to the individual, no pressure.

    Victim Support - New Zealand has a great community of volunteers who provide support to crime or trauma victims. This 24/7 service applies to both NZ locals and visitors alike.

    Click to see the support services they provide which include practical and also financial assistance.

    Weather And Climate... in General - For such a tiny little country - we're only 1600km long - New Zealand sure knows how to pack things in and that includes our NZ weather and climate.

    At the top of the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) we have a sub-tropical climate right down to the sudden downpours with the hot steamy aftermath.

    Contrast that with the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) where we still have glaciers and fiords and you can see that the weather in New Zealand operates at both ends of the scale.

    What I find crazy is that the worlds' weather along with earthquakes and volcanoes seems to be getting topsy-turvy. Nowadays, places in the supposed colder South Island seem to get the higher temperatures in the summer whereas it used to be up North. It gets up to 35℃ (95℉) in Alexandra, Central Otago, with lows of -6℃ (21℉) in the winter.

    You will find a lot of New Zealand information telling you that this is a land of contrasts and that you can easily get the four seasons in one day. Bottom line, be prepared for anything.

    The Met Service provides in-depth weather reporting on NZ weather forecasts, tides, snow reports, radar maps and NZ weather maps.

    If you are here for anything to do with water activities they also have a section on the marine weather forecast. Information is included for both coastal marine and recreational (lakes etc).

    Additionally, clicking this link, Rotorua Weather will give you further Rotorua specific weather information.

    If there is anything I have missed in general New Zealand Information feel free to use my Contact Me Form with your question/s.

    Thanks for visiting.

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