Power Plugs

Will I need a special power plug when I travel to New Zealand?

You will need a New Zealand power plug adapter for your New Zealand holiday, unless you’re travelling to New Zealand from Australia or New Guinea (these countries use the same type of outlets as NZ). This is because plugs connected to appliances from other countries will not fit into the New Zealand outlets. If you plan to take appliances such as electric toothbrush, shaver, hairdryer, digital camera, battery recharger or laptop with you on your New Zealand campervan holiday, make sure you bring a plug adapter as well! A New Zealand plug adapter adapts the plugs you use at home to fit the outlets common in New Zealand.

What does a New Zealand power plug and outlet look like?

This is a New Zealand power plug and outlet:
New Zealand power plug
Most outlets in New Zealand are grounded and have switches on them for extra safety. The standard New Zealand power plug has two flat pins that form a V-shape, as well as an earthing pin. Although you can use both grounded and ungrounded plugs in those outlets, we recommend that the plug adapter you take with you is a grounded one, as it can be dangerous to plug a grounded appliance into an ungrounded plug adapter.

Will my appliances work inside the campervan without being plugged in at a camping ground?

Check whether there is an inverter in your rental campervan before you lug your hairdryer across the world! Most appliances (such as cellphones or cameras) will work without hooking up to the mains supply, but some campervans have better inverters and longer battery life than others. If you are worried about running appliances in your motorhome, you could check out some online reviews to see if people have had experience with some companies’ campervan batteries lasting longer than others.

Do I need a voltage converter or transformer as well?

That depends on the voltage for which your appliances are built. Electricity in New Zealand is supplied at 230 Volts and 50 Hertz (New Zealand campervans also have 230 Volt systems), and if the voltage in your country is the same, all you need is a New Zealand power plug adapter. If not (for example if you’re visiting from the US or Canada), and if your hair dryer or shaver — or whatever it is you want to use — doesn’t accept 230 Volts, you’ll need a voltage converter or transformer as well. But not all your appliances need converters or transformers before you can use them. Some appliances are dual-voltage, which means they can be used with more than just one voltage level. To check if that’s the case, look for something like this 100-240 Volt ~ 50/60 Hertz on the nameplate of your appliance. And of course don’t forget to switch the voltage level manually before you plug your device into a New Zealand outlet!

What kind of voltage converter or transfomer do I need?

Again, that depends.

  • Converters are meant for electrical appliances, and should only be used for a short period (1 to 2 hours). A 50-watt converter will do for small electrical appliances, like (non rechargeable) shavers or toothbrushes, and non-heating appliances. For heating appliances (such as hairdryers, irons, coffee makers and other high-power electrical appliances) you need a 1600-watt converter. To find out which converter you need, check the label on your electrical appliance for its wattage.
  • Transformers should be used with all rechargeable appliances (for instance battery rechargers, cell phones, laptops and rechargeable shavers). Again, you’ll only need a transformer if those appliances are designed for another voltage level than the one in use in New Zealand (230V) and are not dual-voltage.

Note:Laptops and battery rechargers usually come with switch-mode adapters (which means they can switch an AC input (100-240V for example — check the label!) to a DC output (19V for example). They can be plugged right away into a New Zealand outlet with the right power plug.

And what about the frequency: can I plug a 60 Hz appliance into a 50 Hz outlet?

No, we wouldn’t recommend doing that. Even if the voltage is the same (or if you use a converter/transformer to adjust the voltage), a 60 HZ appliance may not function properly on 50 Hz current. Fortunately, some appliances can operate on either a 50 Hz or 60 Hz system. This has to be stated on the name plate, like: 110-230 Volt ~ 50/60 Hertz.

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