Language: English, Maori

Climate: Largely temperate climate. The far north has subtropical weather during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10°C in winter. Most of the country is coastal, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and abundant sunshine. In the southern hemisphere the average temperature decreases as you travel south. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30°C and in winter between 10-15°C.

Time Zone: NZT — New Zealand Time, CHAT — Chatham Island Time

International phone code: 64

Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)

Capital: Wellington

Transportation: Arrivals are generally by air or occasionally by sea (cruise ships into Auckland, Wellington, Nelson or Christchurch). New Zealand has very strong biosecurity laws as its economy is based on agriculture and importing even small quantities of food and unprocessed animal or plant materials is tightly controlled. Domestic flights in New Zealand are often cheaper than driving or taking the train, especially if a crossing between the North and South Islands is required. Buses are a relatively cheap and environmentally friendly way to get around New Zealand; however, services even between major towns are usually only once per day. Car rental firms range from the familiar multinational brands through to small local car rental firms.

Gay New Zealand:

New Zealand society is known for its "live and let live" attitude and, generally, this extends to the country's gay and lesbian community.

There are several gay Members of Parliament, gay rights are protected by the New Zealand Human Rights Act, and civil unions are available to same-sex couples, although the latter is a fairly recent development, and sex between men was only decriminalized in 1986.

The gay scene in New Zealand is reasonably small by international standards, yet Aukland has been voted the 15th gayest city in the world — a strong showing for a relatively small city. One of Aukland's largest events is the Big Gay Out, a family event held annually at Pt Chevalier's Coyle Park, where the numbers of people attending has risen steadily over the past few years and includes appearances from the current Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposing Party and many other politicians showing their support for the gay community.

Outside Auckland, larger cities and some towns host one or two gay pubs, clubs or sex venues. Many smaller centres have LGBT organizations and social networks that cater to their community.