A watertight travel-insurance policy covering theft, loss and medical problems is essential. Some policies specifically exclude designated ‘dangerous activities’ such as scuba diving, bungy jumping, white-water rafting, skiing and even tramping. If you plan on doing any of these things (a distinct possibility in NZ!), make sure your policy covers you fully.
It’s worth mentioning that under NZ law, you cannot sue for personal injury (other than exemplary damages). Instead, the country’s Accident Compensation Corporation (www.acc.co.nz) administers an accident compensation scheme that provides accident insurance for NZ residents and visitors to the country, regardless of fault. This scheme, however, does not negate the necessity for your own comprehensive travel-insurance policy, as it doesn’t cover you for such things as income loss, treatment at home or ongoing illness.
Consider a policy that pays doctors or hospitals directly, rather than you paying on the spot and claiming later. If you have to claim later, keep all documentation. Some policies ask you to call (reverse charges) to a centre in your home country where an immediate assessment of your problem is made. Check that the policy covers ambulances and emergency medical evacuations by air.
Toilets in NZ are sit-down Western style. Public toilets are plentiful, and are usually reasonably clean with working locks and plenty of toilet paper.See www.toiletmap.co.nz for public toilet locations around the country.
It’s no more dangerous than any other developed country, but violent crime does happen in NZ. Play it safe on the streets after dark and in remote areas.
Avoid leaving valuables in vehicles: theft from cars is a problem.
NZ’s climate is unpredictable: hypothermia is a risk in high-altitude...