Currency in New Zealand: A Full Guide 
The official currency in New Zealand is New Zealand Dollars (NZD). In this article, we’ve put together everything you need to know about New Zealand Dollars and share some tips on how to get the best deal on your conversion from AUD to NZD.
Before you head to New Zealand, learn about:
- Using a Card in New Zealand
- Can you use Australian Dollars in New Zealand?
- How to buy New Zealand Dollars before your trip
- How to buy currency when you get to New Zealand
- What New Zealand notes and coins look like
What currency is used in New Zealand?
The official currency in New Zealand is New Zealand Dollars. New Zealand Dollars is shortened to the code NZD online and in currency exchange offices, and you’ll often also see it written as NZ$ on menus and in stores.
Can you use Australian dollars in New Zealand?
No, you can’t.
While New Zealand is a popular destination for Australians, you cannot use Australian dollars in New Zealand. Just like you can’t use New Zealand Dollars here! The rest of this article has some information about how you can convert currency for your holiday.
Using a card in New Zealand
Using a travel money card to spend and make cash withdrawals in New Zealand can be convenient and safe. You won’t need to carry around all your holiday money in cash, and the fact your travel money card isn’t linked to your normal AUD everyday account can also add an extra layer of security.
Travel money cards are available from banks and specialist digital providers, and often offer the option to hold a broad range of currencies for convenient spending in New Zealand and beyond. However, fees usually apply to some transactions, including some charges when you switch currencies from AUD to the local currency in your destination. You’ll need to weigh up a few different options to find the travel money card that’s right for you – we’ll cover a couple to consider, next.
Wise travel debit card
- Hold 50+ currencies, including AUD and NZD
- Currency exchange uses the mid market rate with low fees from 0.43%
- Accepted in 170+ countries, including New Zealand, wherever the card network is supported
- If you don’t have the balance you need, your card will switch to the local currency automatically at the point of payment
- Physical and virtual cards available
- 10 AUD fee to get your card
- Some ATM fees apply once fee free withdrawal allowance is exhausted
Revolut travel debit card
- Hold and exchange 25+ currencies, including AUD and NZD
- Some free currency exchange every month
- Globally accepted wherever the network is supported
- Pick the account plan to suit your usage and needs
- Physical and virtual cards available
- Monthly fees apply to higher tier accounts
- Fair usage and out of hours fees may apply, depending on how you use your account
Is it cheaper to convert currency in Australia or New Zealand?
Because exchange rates change so frequently, and every provider offers different rates it’s hard to say the cheapest way and place to exchange currency.
Get familiar with the exchange rates offered locally to you, and online, so you can decide whether it’s worth switching some funds in advance of travel, using a card to pay while you’re away, or converting cash on arrival.
Both in Australia and in New Zealand, steer clear of exchanging currency at the airport. A captive market means that rates are often worse in the airport than in city centres.
Buying New Zealand Dollars before your trip
If you want to set your travel budget in advance, you may prefer to buy your NZD before you leave home. Here are a few options you might consider.
Using a travel card
Order a travel card online or in a store, depending on the provider you pick, and top up in either AUD or NZD before you travel. A travel card can be convenient and secure, although some fees may apply when you transact. Just tap to pay in stores, and take out cash as and when you need it, rather than carrying all your travel money with you on departure.
Check out Wise as a travel card you can use to hold and exchange NZD with low fees and the mid-market rate – or try Revolut as a convenient card you can top up in AUD and use in New Zealand easily.
This is a convenient way to buy currency but you need some time. You can choose where to pick the order up from, and in some instances can get home delivery. When you order with Travelex, you can choose to order cash, a prepaid Travelex Money Card or both!
Collect at a Travelex store or airport
- You can pay by Bpay, card or PayID
- Online rates can be better than in-store rates
- Pick up at a broad selection of locations including airports
Going to a money exchange office can be a quick way to get your hands on foreign currency cash. Exchange rates and fees do vary widely, so you’ll need to shop around. Watch out in particular for exchange services which state there’s no commission, as the costs may simply be added into the exchange rate being used instead.
Find some of the best currency exchange options by location, here.
Some banks offer currency exchange, but it’s not as common as you might think, as so many people have moved over to card usage overseas. Major banks like ANZ and Westpac, for example, no longer sell or buy foreign cash. Instead, they refer customers to their prepaid travel card services, or suggest you use your credit or debit card to pay when abroad.
Yes, you can buy currency at the airport. But that doesn’t mean you should. While it’s convenient, it’s also very expensive. If you have run out of time before your trip, you might find you get a better rate and lower overall costs if you make an ATM withdrawal on arrival in New Zealand instead.
How to exchange currency in New Zealand
If you decide to buy your currency when you get to New Zealand, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you have Australian dollars in cash. This way you can exchange it when you get there.
Similar to in Australia, it’s best to avoid buying currency at the airport or your hotel, and better to head to a busier area where competition can push prices down. You’ll find currency exchange offices in all major New Zealand towns and cities, both in central districts and in areas where there are lots of tourists.
What is the currency of New Zealand?
Let’s walk through the cash notes and coins you’ll find in circulation in New Zealand so you’re prepared.
Denominations of Dollars
Whether you change money in advance, on arrival, or simply use your card to pay when you’re in New Zealand, you’ll soon become familiar with the notes and coins you’re handling.
New Zealand Dollars notes are frequently used in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.
The coins you’ll commonly see in circulation in New Zealand include $1 and $2, plus smaller 10, 20 and 50 cent coins.
How much does a trip to New Zealand cost?
New Zealand is a super popular tourist destination from Australia, with a great range of activities and options no matter what you’re planning on doing. Here’s a brief outline of the typical costs to help you plan.
Bear in mind, costs vary based on where you’re headed. We’ve used Auckland as our example but you may find the prices in your destination are different depending on location.
- Visa cost: Visa not usually required for short tourist visits – double check the details based on your specific circumstances
- Transport in New Zealand: Local bus journeys are around 3.5 AUD
- Taxi: Around 3 AUD per kilometre
- Car hire: from around 20 AUD/day
- Room at a hotel: Very varied based on hotel class
- Dinner at a mid- range restaurant: 2 people can eat a 3 course meal for around 110 AUD
Track AUD-NZD exchange rate
Before you travel to New Zealand it’s worth getting to know the exchange rates you can expect when you’re there. While rates move around all the time, the mid-market exchange rate for your currency pair is always a good place to start. It’s the rate that banks and currency exchange services get when they buy and sell currencies on global exchanges, so a good benchmark.
Get the Currency Shop’s exchange rate tracker so you can keep an eye on mid-market AUD/NZD rates and make your money work for you in New Zealand.