New Zealand is one of the safest travel destinations in the world, with a low crime rate, few endemic diseases and a first-class healthcare and accident compensation system. However we still recommend you observe the same precautions with your personal safety and possessions as you would in any other country, or at home:
- Invest in travel insurance before leaving home
- Don't leave valuables (especially your passport, cash or cameras) in parked cars or campervans, particularly at scenic spots or at trail-heads for popular tramps
- Avoid walking in isolated, unlit areas at night
- Carry a basic first-aid kit for use in emergencies
In New Zealand you can ask for help from the police whenever you are unsure or feel threatened - they are happy to provide information and advice. Do report any theft and crime to the police immediately.
In an emergency (Fire, Police, Ambulance, Search & Rescue) dial 111 from any phone.
Although there are no snakes or dangerous wild animals in New Zealand, you should be aware of the following:
- Weather - Weather conditions in New Zealand alpine areas can change rapidly. Be prepared for cold wet weather if you plan to walk in our National Parks, whatever the time of year.
- Sandflies - In wetter areas, particularly in Fiordland, sandflies can be pests, but are effectively controlled by use of an insect repellent.
- Giardia - Giardia is a water-borne parasite that causes diarrhoea. To avoid contracting it, it is best not to drink water from lakes, ponds or rivers without first boiling, chemically treating or filtering it.
- Sunburn - New Zealand's clear, unpolluted atmosphere and relatively low latitudes produce sunlight stronger than much of Europe or North America, so be prepared to wear hats and sun block if you plan to be out in the sun for more than 15-20 minutes