New Zealand currency & costs

How to pay for things in New Zealand and a guide to general costs.

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Currency and payment in New Zealand 

New Zealand’s unit of currency is the dollar (NZD$). All major credit cards are accepted in New Zealand, with Visa and Mastercard the most widely used. Many retailers in main centres also have Apple Pay. Travellers’ cheques are no longer accepted.  

Currency exchange 

You can exchange foreign currency for New Zealand currency at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are in international airports and most city centres. 

New Zealand currency is available in: 

  • Coins with values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2. 
  • Notes with values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. 

Check the current currency rate with this currency converter 

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Bringing cash into New Zealand 

There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. However, every person who carries more than NZ$10,000 in cash in or out of New Zealand is required to complete a Border Cash Report. 

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Banking 

Bank opening hours in New Zealand vary, but branches are generally open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Some are also open during weekends. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are available at bank branches, along main shopping streets and in malls. International credit cards and ATM cards will work as long as they have a four-digit PIN encoded. Check with your bank before leaving home. 

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Tipping and service charges 

Tipping in New Zealand is not obligatory, even in restaurants and bars. However, tipping for good service or kindness is at the discretion of the visitor. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills. 

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Goods and Services Tax (GST) 

All goods and services in New Zealand are subject to a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 15%, which is included in the displayed price. Visitors cannot claim this tax back, but if a supplier ships a major purchase to a visitor's home address the GST will not be charged. 

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Swedish Rounding 

Due to the discontinuation of 1c, 2c and 5c pieces, purchases made in New Zealand are subject to “rounding” of amounts either up or down. New Zealand’s Reserve Bank believes most retailers are adopting the Swedish Rounding System. Under this system, prices ending in 1 to 4 cents will be rounded down, and prices ending in 6 to 9 cents will be rounded up. For example, a purchase of $15.14 would be rounded down to $15.10, and a purchase of $15.16 would be rounded up to $15.20. It is at the retailer’s discretion how they handle prices ending in 5 cents. 

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How much do things cost in New Zealand?  

Peak seasons in New Zealand 

Prices for accommodation, flights and vehicle hire can fluctuate during busy seasons. The peak times are around Christmas and high summer (December through to early March) across the country, and in winter (June to August) for popular ski areas such as Queenstown and the central North Island. School holidays are also very busy times. It is advisable to book well ahead if you’re planning to travel over those periods. Visiting in the low or shoulder seasons in between can mean better deals and more choice. 

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Accommodation 

Pricing will depend on the location, time of year, and day of the week, so the below is just to give a general idea of cost. Use our accommodation finder to see price ranges for your specific needs. 

  • Campsite: NZ$10-$35 per person 
  • Dorm bed in a hostel/backpackers: NZ$17-$35 per night 
  • 3-star motel / hotel room: NZ$80-$200 per night 
  • 4- to 5-star hotel: NZ $200 and above per night 

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Transport  

Vehicle hire prices can vary greatly depending on the time of year, the type of car/motorhome you want to hire and how long you are hiring it. Use our Transport finder below to check prices on supplier websites or contact them directly. The price of petrol (gas) can fluctuate daily and may differ slightly between regions. It is always indicated on signs outside petrol stations or at the pump. 

The price of domestic flights varies between airlines depending on demand, so check pricing on their websites. You can find more information on other transport options here.

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Food and drink  

This will vary widely depending on whether you’re ordering takeaways, eating at a casual café or at a fine dining restaurant. The following is a rough guide to food and beverage costs in New Zealand. 

  • McDonald’s Big Mac Hamburger: $8.70  
  • Café sandwich: $5-$10 
  • Main meal at casual dining restaurant: $20-$35 
  • Large coffee: $5-$6 
  • Can of soft drink: $3-$5 
  • Pint of beer: $10-$16 
  • Glass of wine: $10-16 

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