So, you’re on your way to New Zealand. But what about any health concerns you might have? Well, we’re here to assure you that there is absolutely nothing to worry about in terms of health in New Zealand. Of course, emergencies do arise from time to time though, so if you need medical attention, you should ring 111 to get an ambulance. This is also the number for police and fire as well, plus search and rescue. If using a foreign mobile phone, use 112 instead, as it is guaranteed to work.
Just like those taking an Australian gap year, visitors to New Zealand from the UK will benefit from a reciprocal health agreement, which means that they can get free medical assistance for any issues needing prompt attention or pre-existing conditions that have worsened during their time in the country. Urgent dental treatment is also covered by this agreement, although only for those under the age of 19. This agreement absolutely does not mean you don’t need travel insurance though: it is absolutely vital when visiting any country in the world.
Aside from routine vaccinations, such as polio and tetanus, there are no specific vaccinations needed for those visiting New Zealand. Of course, if you are on a round the world trip, you could well be heading to countries that do have recommended vaccinations though, so make sure you tell your doctor about all of your travel plans, not just that you are going to New Zealand. This is true even if you are just stopping in another country for a day or two.
There is no risk of malaria while in New Zealand although, as with nearly everywhere else on earth, there are mosquitos found in the country. Still try to prevent yourself from being bitten though, even just due to the fact that bites can swell and itch, thus really spoiling your day. As always, please consult a medical professional before travelling.
Medical Care in Zealand
The medical care in New Zealand is world class, therefore if you do fall ill while travelling, you will be looked after very well indeed. All of the major towns and cities have many medical facilities, ranging from doctors’ surgeries through to state-of-the-art hospitals, and the more rural areas are also served well. It is often the case that ambulances need to be paid for, and these cost around $45-$65, although your insurance policy should cover this.
Dental Services in New Zealand
Whether it is a sore tooth or a broken one, many travellers need to find a dentist when they are in New Zealand – after all, there’s not much that can spoil a holiday more than tooth pain! As you might expect from a developed country though, New Zealand has a plentiful supply of highly-trained dentists to choose from, and they are found absolutely everywhere in the country. As already mentioned, dental care might also be free for travellers under the age of 19.
If you need to find a dentist in New Zealand, please use this link.
Whenever you travel abroad, you should always bring enough medication with you to cover the entire trip. In New Zealand, however, you are only allowed to bring in up to 3 months’ supply (except oral contraceptives, in which case you can bring 6 months’ supply). It should also be remembered that these have to be declared at Customs, along with a copy of the prescription or a letter from the doctor, as well as ensuring that the medication is in its original packaging and has your name on it.
What should you do if you are staying for more than 3 months then? In this case, you’ll need to register with a doctor in New Zealand and they will prescribe you the medication that you need. Sometimes the specific medication you take might not be available in New Zealand, so this is worth discussing with your doctor before you travel. Visits to a GP in New Zealand cost about $25.
Many people head to New Zealand on a quest to sample some of the extreme sports offered there. While these are very safe, they must be completed sensibly. Make sure you follow the guides and don’t try any of them if you are drunk or unwell. Also, check that your travel insurance covers you for these activities.
It should also be noted that, according to the Cancer Society, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. This is due to the fact that the ozone layer is depleted above New Zealand, plus the country has a low level of pollution. Both of these factors mean that more UV rays pass through the atmosphere. So, make sure you use your sun cream as much as possible!
Finally, many visitors like to sample the amazing scenery found in New Zealand, and we would fully encourage you to do so. If you are heading to more remote areas though, make sure you tell someone about your plans, so that they can raise the alarm should you not return. Just be sure to let them know if your plans have changed! Also, check the forecasts, as the weather can change quickly. For those exploring the waters around New Zealand, especially surfers, be aware of the often strong currents around the coast.