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The risk of the unknown is one of the things that makes travel so exciting … until something goes wrong.
If you have an accident on holiday in New Zealand, it’s important that you know what steps to take to get yourself out of trouble.
What risks could I face travelling to New Zealand?
Our next-door-neighbour across the ditch is generally considered to be a safe place to visit, with smartraveller.gov.au advising Aussies to practise regular safety precautions as they would at home.
However, some more rural roads can present a challenge for drivers, and various adventure sports such as bungee jumping, hot air ballooning and white water rafting come with their own risks.
What should I do in an emergency in New Zealand?
In New Zealand, you can contact the emergency services by dialling 111 from both landlines and mobile phones. You will then be directed to either the fire, police or ambulance service.
If you or someone you are travelling with has suffered a non-urgent injury, you can go to a GP, or an after-hours medical centre. Emergency departments are open 24/7, providing care for anyone with a serious illness or injury requiring immediate attention.
If you are uncertain whether a medical condition is urgent or not, you can call Healthline on 0800 611 116 and speak to a trained operator.
Do I have to pay for medical services as an Australian on holiday in New Zealand?
New Zealand and Australia have a reciprocal healthcare agreement which entitles Australian visitors to selected publicly funded health services. This includes what the New Zealand Ministry of Health refers to as ‘immediately necessary’ hospital treatment, pharmaceuticals and maternity services. If you are an Australian on holiday in New Zealand, you will not be eligible for publicly funded ambulance transport or GP visits.
New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is the insurance scheme that covers Kiwis, as well as visitors to New Zealand, for accidental injuries. ACC will cover accident-related hospital treatment as well as other approved services, either fully or at a part charge. Because no two injuries are the same, the type of assistance that can be offered varies depending on individual circumstances. It is important to talk to the ACC to confirm if you are eligible for particular services.
ACC only covers costs of medical treatment while you are in New Zealand and does not extend to emergency travel back home. If you accept cover with ACC, you are not entitled to sue for damages.
Do I still need to have travel insurance when visiting New Zealand?
Even though Australian visitors have access to some publicly funded emergency medical services in New Zealand, the NZ Ministry of Health strongly recommends that you take out comprehensive travel insurance. This can help to cover you if the ACC doesn’t accept your claim, or in the case you require emergency travel back to Australia.
Do I need special insurance for adventure sports?
TID covers a wide range of sports and activities, from aerial safaris to Zorbing. However, if you’re heading to Queenstown to hit up the slopes of Wanaka for some skiing or snowboarding, you will need to take out our Snow Sports Option for an additional premium.
In addition, there are some activities that we just don’t cover. These include sky diving, parachuting and hang gliding, but also other general risk-taking pursuits such as riding a motorcycle without a helmet, or without having a valid licence as required in Australia and in the country of travel for the same class of motorcycle you are operating; scuba diving without an open water diving licence or without licensed instruction; mountaineering; rock climbing using support ropes (you’re not Spider-Man, after all).
For the full list of terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions, take the time to read our Policy Disclosure Statement.
I have travel insurance with TID, what should I do in case of an emergency?
If you have an emergency on holiday in New Zealand call 111 and you’ll be directed to either fire, police or an ambulance service. TID’s in-house team is also on hand to provide you with emergency assistance 24/7, call +61 2 9234 3123 or +61 2 8256 1523. Please have your policy number on hand, as well as a contact number we can call you back on.
There is also support available via email at [email protected] (monitored 24/7) as well as on Facebook and Twitter @tidaustralia (monitored during business hours).