Preparing for your trip to New Zealand

Make sure you prepare for your trip to New Zealand and your first few days in Auckland.

Learn about New Zealand

Before you arrive in New Zealand you’ll want to learn about what it’s like to live and study here. Auckland is the country’s economic hub and biggest city – vibrant and busy, but with clean air and beaches, easy travel and friendly people.

Check the websites below for information about transport, costs, and things to do and see in Auckland and New Zealand.

New Zealand Tourism website
Study in Auckland (Auckland NZ website)
Auckland Transport website

General information about living in NZ

  • You need to be over 18 to buy alcohol and will be asked for ID if you look under 25
  • You need to be over 18 to buy cigarettes
  • Drink driving laws are strictly enforced

Book your transport from Auckland airport to your accommodation

You should fly into Auckland International Airport.

We recommend you book your transport from the airport with Airport Transfers Ltd. They will meet you at the airport and take you to your accommodation. The person meeting you will be carrying a sign with your name on it.

Book transport with Airport Transfers: email

Auckland Airport website

What you’ll need at the airport

As well as your luggage and passport, bring:

  • Offer of Place
  • Visa
  • Driver’s licence (you can use your licence for a year – after that you must get a New Zealand licence)
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Emergency cash (around NZD$300 will get you through the first few days)
  • Insurance certificates

Don’t bring any food. New Zealand has very strict rules on what you can bring into the country, and you must declare any food on your arrivals card. You can be fined if you don’t declare food to Customs.

Items to bring to New Zealand

You should be able to buy anything you need here in New Zealand. There are some things you might want to consider bringing with you.

Electrical items

If you bring electrical items, make sure you bring the correct adaptor (or you can buy one here).

Electricity is supplied in New Zealand at 230 volts, 50 hertz.


University students dress casually, but you may need formal clothing for special occasions. You will need clothes for winter and for summer, and you should bring a waterproof jacket.

Prescription medication

Most medication is available in New Zealand, but check with your doctor first. If you are bringing prescription medicines you should:

  • Have a note from your doctor (in English) that says:
    • The name of the medicine and what it is for
    • How much you need to take
    • Who your doctor is and their contact details
  • Keep the medicines in their original packaging
  • Have enough to last you for three months

Cost of living

You should budget for minimum annual living costs while you’re here. It’s a good idea to research living costs properly before you come to New Zealand.

Cost of Living on New Zealand Education website

Money and bank accounts

It’s a good idea to open a bank account here. You’ll learn more about banking during Orientation. To open a bank account you’ll need:

  • A letter from your home bank
  • Proof of your home account, like a copy of a statement
  • Your passport
  • Proof of enrolment at AUT

You can change foreign currency and travellers’ cheques easily at the airport, or at banks in and around Auckland. One NZ dollar = 100 cents.

You can check exchange rates online. currency converter website

Medical help

If you need urgent medical help in the first few days after you arrive, ask at your accommodation where the nearest accident and medical centre is. They are usually open seven days a week.

Once you are at AUT you can use the student health centres on campus.


In a medical emergency, call 111.

Check before you travel

Have you got a valid student visa? Is your insurance plan in place? Find more details: