New Zealand offers a great variety of shopping experiences for visitors from overseas. With currency conversions invariably favouring the overseas visitor, a New Zealand shopping spree is a ‘must do’ activity.
Shops are usually open from 9 am to 5.30 pm with late shopping available on Thursday or Friday nights in the cities. Many supermarkets are open 24 hours and large shopping malls and tourist resort centres are generally open between 10 am and 5 pm on weekends.
Duty-free shopping is exceptionally good in New Zealand with a wide product choice and good value. Auckland Airport has over 50 retail outlets and Wellington and Christchurch also have a good number. Many city duty-free stores offer international products including cosmetics, electronics, wines and spirits and New Zealand crafts.
New Zealand woollen goods are especially sought after, particularly hand-knitted sweaters, jackets, coats, sheepskin rugs, bed underlays, car seat covers and boots. Outdoor clothing is a Kiwi speciality and you will find many purpose designed garments like the pure wool ‘Swanndri’ overshirts favoured by trampers, farmers and hunters. Fashionable suede and leather jackets, in trendy and classic designs, are real value for money. Most shops are glad to ship heavy or bulky purchases for you. Items sent overseas are not subject to the 15% Goods and Services Tax.
Craft items of superb quality are found in abundance all over the country. New Zealand glassware is highly sought after. Pottery and fine ceramic ware is outstanding in places like Nelson and Coromandel where high-grade clays are useable straight out of the ground. Native woods make unique gifts and the Northland kauri is a favourite due to its fine grain and sheen. Traditional Maori motifs and designs intricately carved in wood, bone and greenstone (jade) make excellent souvenirs. Paua (abalone) shell is a perfect gift in the form of silver inlaid earrings, necklaces and other novelties. Look out for country art and craft fairs and weekend markets where you will find unique Kiwi goods.