Tips to stay safe while travelling in New Zealand

New Zealand is generally a very safe place to travel. There is a relatively low crime rate, health standards are high and the locals are very friendly. In addition to common sense safety, we’ve compiled some further advice and tips to help you stay safe and well on your travels.
Weather conditions in New Zealand can change rapidly. Be prepared for cold, wet weather if you plan to walk in National Parks, whatever the time of year. Along with the unpredictable weather, snowstorms, heavy rain causing flooding and landslides, and avalanches are frequent which can cause extensive damage to infrastructure and can hamper the provision of essential services.
Earthquakes, volcanic activity and extreme weather can cause travel delays and cancellations. Look for travel insurance that provides cover for out of pocket expenses related to cancelled or delayed flights, accommodation, activities and other similar bookings.
New Zealand has a very high rate of ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer. The country’s clear, unpolluted atmosphere and proximity to the thinning ozone layer means that the sun is stronger, so remember to slip, slop, slap.
Giardia is a common parasite found in New Zealand waterways. Giardiasis generally affects people who drink untreated water from lakes, streams, ponds, rivers or wells, or by accidentally swallowing affected water while swimming or playing.
Hypothermia is a significant risk, especially during winter months and year-round at high altitudes. New Zealand is a popular country for skiing and mountaineering. Freezing temperatures in mountain ranges and strong winds produce a high chill factor. Keep warm and dry and be prepared for your trips.

Over 100 earthquakes are felt per year across New Zealand. This is because New Zealand lies on the boundary between the Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate.

The locals practise earthquake drills through school but if you’re new to earthquakes, follow these steps to stay safe:

  • Stay Inside. But if you’re outside already, head to a clear area away from trees and power lines.
  • Drop down to your hands and knees before the earthquake knocks you down. This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
  • Cover your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under the shelter of a sturdy table or desk.
  • Hold on to your shelter and be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
Theft is the most common crime in New Zealand1. Tourist areas are often targeted as travellers tend to have valuable items such as cash, electronics and travel documents. Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Keep your valuables with you when out and about, and secure them when you’re back at your accommodation. If an item is stolen when it’s been left unsecured or out of sight, your travel insurance may not cover the claim.
Many overseas drivers underestimate the challenge of driving safely outside of New Zealand’s urban areas. Rural roads and highways can be deceptively dangerous. You need to look out for the many one lane bridges, sheep or cattle blocking your path and the narrow, windy, curvy and cover hilly terrain.
Look for travel insurance that helps cover the rental vehicle insurance excess that you would have to pay in the event of accidental damage.

Black ice is a thin, dark sheet of ice on the road that is extremely hard to see. It is commonly found around waterways and lakes or in shady or cooler areas. When driving around areas that may have black Ice:

  • Look for shiny wet patches on the road.
  • Drive slowly.
  • Avoid sudden braking.
  • Avoid sudden direction changes.
  • Leave large following distances.
  • Update yourself on weather and road conditions regularly.
New Zealand is widely known as an adventure destination. From bungee jumping to zorbing, to fishing and boating, there’s no shortage of things to do across the water, land and sky. Please remember that drinking and adventure sports don’t mix. Swimming is an especially bad idea, and there are a number of alcohol-related drownings in New Zealand every year.
Be aware that your travel insurance may not cover you for any injuries and losses suffered while under the influence of alcohol.

Visiting New Zealand’s amazing ski fields is a must-do activity for many visitors. However, snow sports are well-known for causing grief for beginners and experts alike. Whether it’s an injury or a banged-up snowboard, accidents can be minimised by following a few basic rules:

  • Stay in control.
  • Know your ability. Start easy, be able to stop and avoid other people.
  • People below you have right of way.  Obey signage, they are there for your safety. Look before you leap.
  • Ensure the area is clear of others and remember that people might have fallen in front of you.
  • Stop where you can be seen.
  • Secure your equipment when not in use.
Heading off for an adventure holiday? Not all adventure activities are automatically covered so make sure you check that you have adequate cover with your travel insurance provider.

NOTICE: While the Information is considered to be true and accurate at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. We strongly recommend verifying the travel advisory of your destination prior to departure.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information as at the date of publishing, Allianz Global Assistance does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. Allianz Global Assistance strongly recommends seeking the guidance of a professional travel agent/agency for further information on a specific destination. On your next trip, whether to another province or country, ensure you have travel insurance as it may assist you in cases of unforeseen medical emergencies and other types of mishaps that can happen while you travel. Travel insurance does not cover everything, please always refer to the policy document for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd.

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