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NZ travel advice (UPDATE)

CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
edited July 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm planning to spend a year (give or take) in New Zealand soon and I have no idea what I'm doing so you can expect this to be one of many H/A threads I'm no doubt going to make.

Basically I have would like to be able to book a ticket with an open return so I have the option of returning at any point within the year. My google fu is weak however and has failed me. I'm finding it hard to even find out if such a thing is even possible let alone who offers them and how much they cost.

Has anyone managed to get an open return ticket to that part of the world? How much did it cost? How long is it valid for? Any help would be appreciated.


UPDATE: Ok I got my visa! Since there was a few people here who have done this I wanted to ask for any general advice. Stuff you learned though experience since this is my first big trip on my own and I know nothing.

Casual on

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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    There's not really any advantage to buying an open ticket. It's the most expensive way to pay for a flight and given that it does not guarantee you a seat on any flight it has no advantages over another type of ticket. Just buy a one-way ticket and then get another one-way when you want to return. It won't cost any more and will possibly cost less.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    My only thought about that is immigration like you to have a return ticket as proof that you intend to leave when the visa is up. I don't know how much problems it could cause for me if I don't have any means in place for returning home when I try to enter the country.

    Casual on
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    ecco the dolphinecco the dolphin Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    My only thought about that is immigration like you to have a return ticket as proof that you intend to leave when the visa is up. I don't know how much problems it could cause for me if I don't have any means in place for returning home when I try to enter the country.

    Lots of chaps from the UK here!

    But it sounds like you want a working holiday visa:

    http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/work/workingholiday/unitedkingdomworkingholidayscheme.htm

    From the site:
    hold a return ticket, or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket**

    **You are required to hold sufficient funds for the duration of your visit and for the purchase of an outward ticket from New Zealand. Such evidence may be requested on arrival at the border.

    So you don't have to have a return ticket, you just need to hold sufficient funds to buy one.

    ecco the dolphin on
    Penny Arcade Developers at PADev.net.
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    oncelingonceling Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    9 months is the max for visitor visa, need the working one for longer stay.

    I recommend investigating options that let you book a flight but make changes to that for cheap or free. Book your flights with the maximum allowed time you may legally stay in NZ then if you get bored early make the change then.

    This page suggests you will have issues if you don't have a return ticket:

    http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/visit/visitors/

    onceling on
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Go see a travel agent perhaps. That is what I did when booking the reverse trip to what you are doing.

    I would recommend that you just get a single and keep your cash in reserve. Plus, I would suspect if you are like a lot of other British temporary migrants you will probably want to spend a bit of time in Australia or SE Asia on the way back, so unless your return ticket takes that into account, it may end up wasting you money in the end

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
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    NathuramNathuram Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Why would you want to go to New Zealand? New Zealand is a shithole. (No offence to any New Zealanders who might read this but If you've been there then you know what I'm talking about)

    It's the sheep-fucking capitol of the world for a reason you know.

    Nathuram on
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    see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Nathuram wrote: »
    Why would you want to go to New Zealand? New Zealand is a shithole. (No offence to any New Zealanders who might read this but If you've been there then you know what I'm talking about)

    It's the sheep-fucking capitol of the world for a reason you know.

    Because new-zealander sheep are damned sexy?

    see317 on
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    NathuramNathuram Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    see317 wrote: »
    Nathuram wrote: »
    Why would you want to go to New Zealand? New Zealand is a shithole. (No offence to any New Zealanders who might read this but If you've been there then you know what I'm talking about)

    It's the sheep-fucking capitol of the world for a reason you know.

    Because new-zealander sheep are damned sexy?

    Don't forget the Velcro gloves so they can't escape

    Nathuram on
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Pretty silly goose/ unhelpful comments there about the sheep. Maybe it has a place in idle banter, but the guy is asking about plane tickets, not about how to commit a criminal offence as per s 143 of the Crimes Act 1961 or common Australian stereotypes about Kiwis.

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
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    CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Right...


    Anyway, so just to be sure if I have enough money to buy another ticket once I'm there customs will think I'm good?

    Casual on
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    Right...


    Anyway, so just to be sure if I have enough money to buy another ticket once I'm there customs will think I'm good?

    No reason to guess this one, I would say call the Immigration Service's help line and ask them

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
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    LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    Right...


    Anyway, so just to be sure if I have enough money to buy another ticket once I'm there customs will think I'm good?

    Yes, I emigrated to NZ for a couple of years from the UK. I didn't have a return ticket. They didn't even bother checking my financials when I got there after I showed them the working holiday visa (you really should get this, you can apply online and they gave me mine the *day after*), but YMMV obviously.

    If you do want to buy a return ticket upfront, I have bought them from airlines and just scheduled the return date to be a year away (this is the max most will let you), then pay a fee to reschedule the return.

    And, Nathuram, go fuck yourself. I had a great time in New Zealand.

    Where are you planning to live, Casual? Any ideas about getting a jerb?

    Lewisham on
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    CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Lewisham wrote: »
    Casual wrote: »
    Right...


    Anyway, so just to be sure if I have enough money to buy another ticket once I'm there customs will think I'm good?

    Yes, I emigrated to NZ for a couple of years from the UK. I didn't have a return ticket. They didn't even bother checking my financials when I got there after I showed them the working holiday visa (you really should get this, you can apply online and they gave me mine the *day after*), but YMMV obviously.

    If you do want to buy a return ticket upfront, I have bought them from airlines and just scheduled the return date to be a year away (this is the max most will let you), then pay a fee to reschedule the return.

    And, Nathuram, go fuck yourself. I had a great time in New Zealand.

    Where are you planning to live, Casual? Any ideas about getting a jerb?

    Thanks for all the advice so far guys, sounds like you're the guy to speak to for this lewisham.

    A bit more background, I'm planning to go to Wanganui because I already know someone there and have a place to stay lined up. Yeah I'm also planning on a 12 month work visa, I've read up reasonably well about it online and that's how I'm planning to apply.

    How much money is it wise to have both from a convincing customs stand point and a having enough money to support yourself for a few months? I have no plan in place for employment now but I'm not fussy, I'll work in bars or grocery stores or whatever.

    Casual on
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    FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    A small town like Whanganui won't be too expensive. You'll find some things cheaper in NZ and other things a little more expensive. I guess a couple of grand would be ample, but as suggested before, if you are under 30 - get a working holiday visa, and they'll tell you EXACTLY what you need.

    It depends on whether you plan on working as to how much money you'll need. And of course what you'll work in (I have no idea what kind of work is available down in Whanganui).

    Fallingman on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    A bit more background, I'm planning to go to Wanganui because I already know someone there and have a place to stay lined up. Yeah I'm also planning on a 12 month work visa, I've read up reasonably well about it online and that's how I'm planning to apply.

    How much money is it wise to have both from a convincing customs stand point and a having enough money to support yourself for a few months? I have no plan in place for employment now but I'm not fussy, I'll work in bars or grocery stores or whatever.

    So, there are little games you can play with this system (DISCLAIMER: I am not advocating playing games with customs officials).

    Basically, my Dad and I went to the bank and spoke with the bank manager. The manager created an account in my name, moved the required lump sum from my parent's mortgage account, then printed and signed a statement there and then, and also ordered an official one printed. As soon as he did that, he moved the sum back again. I now have "evidence" of having enough money, despite the fact I personally didn't have direct access to those funds.

    One thing I did note is that you really do need to talk to the bank manager to do this, the general staff aren't very amenable to thinking outside the box. I also found that the first time I tried it, getting a bank staff member to sign a statement saying it was authoritative was simple. The second time, some years later, they said they refused to do it under company policy (both times was HSBC).

    When I went to NZ, I just had my Dad print and sign a letter for the "proof" of return flight saying that if anything happened, he would pay for the ticket.

    Lewisham on
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    Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    My only thought about that is immigration like you to have a return ticket as proof that you intend to leave when the visa is up. I don't know how much problems it could cause for me if I don't have any means in place for returning home when I try to enter the country.

    Lots of chaps from the UK here!

    But it sounds like you want a working holiday visa:

    http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/work/workingholiday/unitedkingdomworkingholidayscheme.htm

    From the site:
    hold a return ticket, or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket**

    **You are required to hold sufficient funds for the duration of your visit and for the purchase of an outward ticket from New Zealand. Such evidence may be requested on arrival at the border.

    So you don't have to have a return ticket, you just need to hold sufficient funds to buy one.


    Also, less suspicion will be cast on you as you are from a first world country. 'cism, whatever, but if you are from a country where you might be a kind of refugee, there is an additional layer of scrutiny.


    @Nathuram

    I have no fucking clue what you are on about, New Zealand is absolutely wonderful. I can't wait to take another vacation there, and I only wish my situation allowed me to visit there for an extended time like the OP.

    Regina Fong on
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Lewisham - you could get away with that trick? Coming to the UK, you have to be able to prove that you've had the maintenance fund in your account for at least 3 months immediately before arrival/application - and get a letter along with your account statements to verify that. My bank was so silly last time in the end I wrote the letter for them and then dictated it at the counter and to be fair, they were happy to roll with that, so long they didn't have to think

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
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    LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Lewisham - you could get away with that trick? Coming to the UK, you have to be able to prove that you've had the maintenance fund in your account for at least 3 months immediately before arrival/application - and get a letter along with your account statements to verify that. My bank was so silly last time in the end I wrote the letter for them and then dictated it at the counter and to be fair, they were happy to roll with that, so long they didn't have to think

    Yeah, it worked for me. Sounds like the UK are wise to it at this point.

    However, like I said, no-one in NZ ever looked at those papers.

    Lewisham on
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    CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Fortunatly for me I have some money lined up for this trip, a combination of my own savings and my dad being generious is allowing me to take this trip. Also I would be able to get him to confirm that in a worst case scenario he would spring for a ticket to get me home.

    Speaking of funds whats the best way to acess my money over there? Will my regular British ATM card work in NZ?

    Casual on
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    FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    Fortunatly for me I have some money lined up for this trip, a combination of my own savings and my dad being generious is allowing me to take this trip. Also I would be able to get him to confirm that in a worst case scenario he would spring for a ticket to get me home.

    Speaking of funds whats the best way to acess my money over there? Will my regular British ATM card work in NZ?

    You'll want to set up an accound with a NZ bank. Most UK banks do have a "partner" over here that they work with. I'd suggest having it organised in advance to avoid any hassles whatsoever. British Debit cards may not work, unless its a visa-debit or credit card (you want to check this, and certainly not take my word for it).

    It's quite a common thing to do - so I imagine that the websites would have a load of info for you on this.

    EDIT: Depending on what your money situation is, you may want to look into transferring as much as you can in one go - I'd avoid using Credit Cards too much as it can be tricky to calculate the FX rate they use. Of course, the pound is currently the weakest I've ever seen it against the NZD - so I don't really know what to suggest. Many people don't forsee it going back up either.

    Fallingman on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I just took about a lump sum of Traveller's checks with me, about 100 quid in NZD, got the checks into an account at Bank of New Zealand, and waited for my ATM card to arrive. If you have more than you feel comfortable taking with Traveller's checks, you can do a SWIFT transfer from the UK later. HSBC lets you do these online, but you can do this over the phone too.

    Which reminds me... if you don't feel too sketchy about it, get one of your parents to be also be an authority on your UK bank account. If anything needs handling which you didn't authorize and the bank are being all "well we'll need a faxed signature with originals and blahblahblah" you can just send your co-sign down to sort it out.

    Lewisham on
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    NathuramNathuram Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Pretty silly goose/ unhelpful comments there about the sheep. Maybe it has a place in idle banter, but the guy is asking about plane tickets, not about how to commit a criminal offence as per s 143 of the Crimes Act 1961 or common Australian stereotypes about Kiwis.

    That's the problem with this generation. They never appreciate some light hearted joke's keeping their thread afloat. They'd rather it just fell off the page.

    Nathuram on
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    FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Lewisham wrote: »
    I just took about a lump sum of Traveller's checks with me, about 100 quid in NZD, got the checks into an account at Bank of New Zealand, and waited for my ATM card to arrive. If you have more than you feel comfortable taking with Traveller's checks, you can do a SWIFT transfer from the UK later. HSBC lets you do these online, but you can do this over the phone too.

    Which reminds me... if you don't feel too sketchy about it, get one of your parents to be also be an authority on your UK bank account. If anything needs handling which you didn't authorize and the bank are being all "well we'll need a faxed signature with originals and blahblahblah" you can just send your co-sign down to sort it out.

    Banking is pretty easy internationally these day - it usually can be done online or over the phone. I have accounts in both NZ and the UK, and it's pretty easy to manage the two.

    Fallingman on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Nathuram wrote: »
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Pretty silly goose/ unhelpful comments there about the sheep. Maybe it has a place in idle banter, but the guy is asking about plane tickets, not about how to commit a criminal offence as per s 143 of the Crimes Act 1961 or common Australian stereotypes about Kiwis.

    That's the problem with this generation. They never appreciate some light hearted joke's keeping their thread afloat. They'd rather it just fell off the page.

    Well, it is the type of comment that would probably work in a pub perhaps, if that is any consolation. On a forum thread it just looks kind of wtf

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
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    CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So I'm gonna have to set up an NZ bank account then? I was hoping to avoid it but I guess I'll just have to take some money across in travelers cheques. Whats the best proof of the money in my bank account for customs? Should I just ask them to give me a bank statement? Is that good enough?

    Casual on
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    NathuramNathuram Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Nathuram wrote: »
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Pretty silly goose/ unhelpful comments there about the sheep. Maybe it has a place in idle banter, but the guy is asking about plane tickets, not about how to commit a criminal offence as per s 143 of the Crimes Act 1961 or common Australian stereotypes about Kiwis.

    That's the problem with this generation. They never appreciate some light hearted joke's keeping their thread afloat. They'd rather it just fell off the page.

    Well, it is the type of comment that would probably work in a pub perhaps, if that is any consolation. On a forum thread it just looks kind of wtf

    That's me. I'm the W in WTF.

    Nathuram on
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    So I'm gonna have to set up an NZ bank account then? I was hoping to avoid it but I guess I'll just have to take some money across in travelers cheques. Whats the best proof of the money in my bank account for customs? Should I just ask them to give me a bank statement? Is that good enough?

    Your visa application/guidance document should tell you what constitutes proof or not. If it doesn't, then call them and ask. On their website they list temporary visitor visa proof of funds requirements, but it doesn't say whether that is the same for all visa types and if NZ is like the UK for such things, assumptions can result in rejection

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
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    CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Ok, I've found out what funds I need and I've filled out the visa application. Thanks for your help guys and wish me luck.

    Casual on
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    Ok, I've found out what funds I need and I've filled out the visa application. Thanks for your help guys and wish me luck.

    Good luck! If you have any specific questions later about Whanganui just ask. I have a couple of friends who lived there for a while so can ask them, if it requires local knowledge

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
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    ecco the dolphinecco the dolphin Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Good luck!

    Stay a while!
    Stay... forever!!!

    :P

    ecco the dolphin on
    Penny Arcade Developers at PADev.net.
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    CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Woo! I got my visa!


    So now I just want to know if there is anything in general you guys think I would find useful? What sort of stuff would be good to take with me?

    Casual on
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    FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    When are you going?

    It's winter now, and can get pretty chilly. So I'd recommend against making the mistake of thinking NZ is tropical. It's not. We get awesome summers most years, but the winters are cold (not freezing in most places, but cold).

    A little more info on what you plan to do would help.

    Fallingman on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I want to go in mid August and I know it's cold but I don't mind, it can't be colder than where I live. I'm probably largely gonna stay in Wanganui but I will go to some of the surrounding national parks and visit Wellington too.

    Casual on
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    FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hmmm, in that case, there isn't really anything specialist you'll need. You'll be in small-ish places, but they'll have everything you may want.

    Good gear for the national parks is all I would suggest. Oh, and stay on the bloody tracks. Every year we see on the news about some tramper from another country that went off the tracks and has gotten lost in a hole or something ;-)

    Fallingman on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Well since you are from the UK i would simply advise you take one of your good winter jackets, gloves and a scarf. That should do you for everyday winter living at worse. I cannot imagine that Whanganui is that bad in winter compared to anywhere in the UK, while it is still temperate you are on the west coast of the North Island, so, it is hardly say Invercargill.

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
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