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tipping etiquete in new zealand

Tipping etiquette in New Zealand. Learn where, who and when to tip!

Tipping etiquette in New Zealand. Learn where, who and when to tip!

Yes please, no thank you, pardon me… A little politeness doesn’t cost a thing. Constantly tipping people throughout a lengthy holiday however, does. If you’re dining out each day and taking advantage of the expertise of tour guides, the tips can really add up. So if don’t want to give all of your spending money away, here is the information you need about where to tip, who to tip and when in New Zealand.


During the Holidays

When you are choosing your tour dates , trying to decide when is the best time to discover New Zealand, the public holidays are something you should take into consideration. You see, in New Zealand tipping isn’t always expected, instead they have public holiday fees which automatically add a 10-15% fee onto anything you order. This extra fee goes towards paying the staff a higher rate during this time, so don’t feel the need to add an additional tip.



Staffs in restaurants and cafes are not working for tips so don’t feel it’s obligatory to do so. However, if you feel like a staff member has provided exceptional service and you really must tip them, we are sure they will be grateful for the generous offer.



In hotels in New Zealand tipping is again not customary, however it can be a kind gesture. A fair tip is normally seen as:

  • 1-2 NZD for each bag carried.
  • 1-5 NZD for room or maid service.
  • 10-15 NZD if the concierge provides additional services.

However, should you book a holiday with Distant Journeys, they’ll arrange all tips for porters in the hotels you’d stay at so you needn’t worry.


Taxi Drivers

If you decide to use a taxi to help you get around tipping is not expected, in fact they may even refuse to accept your tip. However having lots of change/having the right change can be a bit of a nuisance so rounding up to a the nearest NZD will probably be appreciated.


Tour Guides

Tipping tour guides in New Zealand is more commonplace, especially when a guide has provided an excellent, informative tour. Tour guides rely on tourists who visit New Zealand so they always appreciate the extra backing from their customers.


Extra Tip Etiquette Advice…

  • When you go out shopping or to the markets, bargaining is not the culture. People are expected to pay the marked price.
  • In smaller towns or villages it is polite to greet someone if you pass in the street.
  • The Maori land right is a subject that should be delicately approached. If you just so happen to get into a conversation with a local be tactful with your questions.
  • Try and not confuse the New Zealanders with Australians, they might not appreciate it.

Tipping in New Zealand is generally at your discretion. The New Zealand people tend to be polite, friendly and welcoming so regardless of whether or not you decide to tip, we are sure you will meet some amazing people along your journey.


Image by Nenad Maric


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  • The organisation and communication were first class. The flexibility in travelling to the destination was impressive and the hotels where we stayed  in were all of a good standard. Our Coach was driven by Ken, who was a character and nothing was too much for him.

    Mr & Mrs Hall, Magnificent New Zealand
  • We both enjoyed the Magnificent New Zealand holiday immensely. The Coach Driver/Tour Guide was excellent and the hotels were really comfortable. The holiday was extremely good value and I would recommend it to anyone waning to taste the Antipodean holiday experience.

    Mr & Mrs Kell, Magnificent New Zealand
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