New Zealand is a beautiful country and is well known throughout the world. Its currency is widely known too as the New Zealand dollar – one of the many dollar currencies used across the globe. As you would guess, the dollar is broken down into one hundred cents.

What coins and notes are available for this currency?

There are five coins in circulation for the New Zealand dollar at present. These range from the 10 cent coin to the 20 and 50 cent coins. There are also two dollar coins available – the one dollar coin and the two dollar coin.

There are also five banknotes in circulation, the smallest of which is the $5 banknote. There are also $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Although the dollar sign is used to denote the currency, in common with all other dollar currencies, you will usually see the sign preceded with the letters of the country, NZ. This appears as NZ$. This ensures everyone is clear on what particular dollar currency is in use.

From past to present – the history of the New Zealand dollar

The beginnings of the New Zealand dollar first got started in 1967. Before this point the island was part of the British Empire and was properly recognised as one of its dominions. At this time in history the New Zealand pound was used instead of the dollar, and it was only when the country gradually became more independent that it did away with the pound and brought in its own dollar system instead.

This change in currency to what we know today also meant a goodbye to the imperial currency. As was the case with the British pound at that time, the New Zealand pound was created as an imperial currency, thus depicted in pounds, shillings and pence. The reasoning given for choosing the dollar was twofold – it was popular elsewhere in the world and it was decimal too. So the change was made without too much fanfare or controversy.

How to get hold of New Zealand dollars

Unlike some countries in the world that are not as well developed, New Zealand makes light work of letting you get your hands on your money in their currency. All the major towns and cities have lots of cash machines you can use, and if you are looking to exchange your home currency or you have traveller’s cheques there are plenty of chances to do that too.

How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the New Zealand dollar

The usual place to go for a fast answer is to the nearest online currency converter. You can also get free apps to download to your phone or tablet to work out the calculation if you prefer. Any currency converter should have two drop down boxes featuring a list of currencies. Simply opt for your own currency in the first box and the New Zealand dollar in the second one. Look for the conversion button and get a straight conversion for one unit of your currency to the dollar.

You can always enter a specific amount if you’d like to know how many dollars you can get for the amount of spending money you will have.

If you need to know anything about travelling to New Zealand, including information about visas and tourist information in general, you can visit This site has lots of useful details on it you will find helpful.

Travelling safely with New Zealand dollars

Some other countries would probably envy New Zealand’s low crime rate. Many people love the country for its calm and relaxed way of living, and while there are crimes that take place they are far less widespread and less intrusive than they can be in other countries.

The main rules that apply to tourists are common sense and are the same as apply elsewhere in the world. It makes little sense to make yourself a target, which you might do if you flaunted large amounts of cash or kept your wallet in an easy to pick back pocket.

The country is also not a hotspot for terrorist activity so you should have nothing to worry about there. Indeed the biggest concern you may have is the threat of an earthquake. There have been several notable ones in the country owing to its positioning on the so called Ring of Fire. You may feel a quake while you are there since some 200 notable ones occur every year. However few are large enough to cause significant problems.

Where to spend your dollars in New Zealand – and what to spend them on

New Zealand is something of a unique country because it is split into two distinct islands. These are known as the North Island and the South Island. Each has its own attractions and destinations worth visiting.

The North Island has destinations such as Auckland, Wellington and Gisborne, along with such destinations as the Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay. In contrast the South Island has Christchurch and Dunedin, and is well known for its many national parks. Among them are the Kahurangi National Park, the Westland National Park and Arthur’s Pass National Park.

Ideally any visit to the country should take in the best of both islands. Queenstown is one of the most popular destinations in the South Island, and boasts the great Lake Wakatipu among its stunning sights. The town itself is situated right by the lake and you’re never far from the opportunity to walk up one of the steep hills or mountains to get a great view of the town below.

Elsewhere on the South Island you should take a look at Christchurch as well. This gives you the chance to see Aoraki Mount Cook, the biggest mountain on either island. Whilst Christchurch is one of the biggest cities New Zealand has to offer, it is a great place to visit simply because of its green surroundings and great welcome.

If you’re heading to the northern reaches of the country you should definitely make time for a visit to the Coromandel Peninsula. There is a beach here that is very popular with tourists because it has a treat beneath the sands. Hot springs are waiting to be discovered and they mean you can enjoy digging your toes in and finding your own patch to appreciate. The name of the beach, rather appropriately, is Hot Water Beach!

As you will soon understand, the geography of New Zealand is what we have to thank for its scenery. There are glaciers here as well as mountains, and plenty of natural scenery to be had as well. To say the scenery is dramatic is an understatement – don’t be too surprised if you end up marvelling at what you see without saying too much. It does have the ability to render you practically speechless.

While you can enjoy all kinds of walks and ambles in the country, through cities and towns and far beyond, you can also enjoy more physical activities too. For instance you can try all kinds of water sports on lakes and in rivers, and many of them are very well organised. If you have the nerve you should definitely try the Shotover Jet boat ride in the Shotover Canyons in Queenstown. This is well known locally and throughout the country and indeed abroad. It has made a real name for itself and if you are brave enough it is well worth a try.

If you really want to get away from it all why not try the Abel Tasman National Park? This is a dream come true for many as it provides you with the chance to get away from traffic and vehicles completely. No cars or other vehicles are allowed in, which means you have to walk in. Either that or you can catch a plane or boat into the park. Once there you can share it with other explorers and of course with the local wildlife. 

All this exploring is likely to make you ravenous and there is no better way to spend a few of your dollars than to enjoy a meal in the Sky Tower. This can be found in Auckland so if you are on the doorstep make sure you pay a visit. It is more than three hundred metres in height and you can enjoy the very best in views over the city and beyond.

If all that wasn’t enough how about visiting a real glacier? Surely there is no other country in the world that offers such a diverse mix of activities. Head for the Westland National Park and opt to walk to see it. A guided tour is safest and enables you to explore ice caves as well as seeing the glacier itself.

Whatever you choose to do in New Zealand you will find a million and one ways to spend those dollars. And let’s not forget the food either – tasty and welcoming for the most part, offering you the best ways to sustain your explorations.


When you get to New Zealand you will realise it makes sense to have more than a few dollars in your pocket. While you can pay for experiences, attractions and other purchases using cards as well as cash, you will be thankful that many services and purchases are relatively cheap in comparison to other countries. However it has so much to offer that you won’t want to miss out on, you will be glad you took plenty of cash with you!

New Zealand Dollar – NZD

4 thoughts on “New Zealand Dollar – NZD

  • November 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I lived and worked in New Zealand for a whole year around ten years ago, and I have nothing but happy memories from that time. It’s an amazing country and I’d love to go back.

    I’m sure it’s probably changed in the intervening years though. The scenery really is spectacular though and I hope much of it is the same as when I saw it. The Shotover Jet was well worth doing and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone. Provided you are good at handling high speeds of course. In fact any outdoor sport is worth doing in New Zealand.

  • March 29, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I am very jealous of Kate! I would love to visit New Zealand even just for a fortnight’s holiday, let alone for a whole year. I know a lot of people who have said about living there permanently but I know it is very difficult to do so as they are very strict on who they let in. I’d love to do it as it seems like a nice country with a very laid back approach to life. I am very jealous and would happily go there for a nice long holiday every year if I could afford it!

    Oh well it gives me something to hope for. When all the reports are this good there has to be something good in it doesn’t there?

  • April 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    I’ve heard of the Shotover Jet. Not sure I would be brave enough to give it a go though! I’ve heard it can be quite scary (exhilarating too though I bet).

  • June 28, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I’ve just responded to another article – one of the currency news ones – concerning the New Zealand dollar so I thought I would mention it here too. The Kiwi dollar seems very changeable for the most part so it is worth looking for a good exchange rate if you are going to get a good deal on your holiday money. It seems to be up and down like a yoyo each week.


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