31 October 2013

NZ Post Box for national and international mail

Following on from the post about education, you may be wondering how correspondence lessons may work if you have no fixed address, or even how you might get your regular snail mailings while itinerant.

The first tip would be to cut down on anything that arrives into your mail box.  Cancel magazines that aren't essential.  Request bills to be emailed to you.  Turn off paper statements from the bank (this is also a security feature while you are not at your address to clear your financial information).  

You could use a (friend or family's) fixed address or postal box (there is an annual charge for these), and get them to forward them on to you.  It depends on how helpful someone is going to be over the term you are gone. Either way, you will need to keep someone up to date with where you are going to be a week or two into the future.  Note that if you change from a physical delivery address to a postal box there may be quite some correspondence that needs to be re-directed after you have left.  A local person who can drop by the physical address on a weekly basis and pick anything of yours up is a real advantage. Perhaps you could promise them postcards, exchange a product for their services, or pay them outright?

There are several commercial services in New Zealand that will act as a clearing house for your mail (including loaning you their address), scan everything page-by-page, and email it to you.  This is useful for those one-off bills like rates, insurances and such but may get quite costly otherwise.

You can use the address of someone else in the next place you are going for the likes of any correspondence lesson packs, packages, or time-sensitive items.  If you belong to a church denomination / sports group / interest club, you may be able to arrange to use their addresses throughout NZ regardless of whether you attend the local gathering.

Alternatively you may have letters, and parcels delivered to the local post office.  Overseas the latter option is called Poste Restante but it's hardly known by that name here.  There is no charge to hold letters, documents or small parcels for up to 3 months, but they do charge for larger parcels after the first week.  NZ Post have a list of the post offices that offer this service on their website.  Note that these are the one main post office in each location and are not all the places that may offer postal services.



I totally forgot that there is also a redirect charge these days if you want to have your mail that would usually have been delivered to your NZ home address instead directed to another one, either temporarily or permanently.  All the more reason to taper off your tree mail before you go.

06 October 2013

In New Zealand, vehicles over 3500kg; or those under that don't run on petrol, are charged seperately for using the roads, with a couple of exceptions.  [Petrol users have this built into their per litre fill.]

Road User Charges (RUC), also called a Distance License, are paid per 1000km, must be purchased in advance and displayed on your windscreen.  There are a number of places where they can be purchased, each having their own administration fee to factor into the overall amount you pay.  Obviously the more kms you purchase together, the more any adminstration fee is amortised over the total cost.

The clincher is that you need to purchase your RUC on the gross laden weight of the vehicle - the amount it potentially is allowed to carry if it were full.  New Zealand has weigh stations on the sides of the road in various locations and these are used to spontaneously stop motorists to check their loads.

Most of the recreational vehicles on our roads fit into the following 3 classes:

How much will you pay on top of fuel?

Car, vans and utes fit into the under 3500kg band.

Many of the motorhomes are made to fit into the type 2 tier and under 6 tonnes, meaning that you pay the lowest per km charge of $57 (1000km).

[Remember that these vehicles are able to be driven on a regular car license.]


A bus however will cost between $230 and $351 per 1000 km.  That's a huge difference in a trip that could be 5000+ km.

[The under 18000kg requires a class 2 drivers license 2 and the over 18 tonne a class 4]


The other important note is that if your vehicle weighs over 3500kg you must record your distance travelled per trip from an approved hubometer or electronic distance recorder.


You can download the entire RUC booklet from the New Zealand Transport Agency here.


Note: the rates in the above image have since been updated, with the inclusion of a specific sub-section 413 / 414 for 3 and 4-axle motorhomes.