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New Zealand Travel Tips & Questions

What are the alcohol and drinking laws?

New Zealand doesn't have a minimum alcohol drinking age but it does have a legal purchase age which is 18. However, the laws for under 18s which are fairly extensive, still prohibit drinking in licensed premises unless accompanied by a parent.

Supermarkets are only licensed to sell beer and wine – only specialist liquor stores can sell spirits. It is VERY common practice to ask anyone who looks under 25 for ID when they are buying alcohol. If you can't produce a passport at these times you will be refused the sale and these laws are almost universally strictly adhered to.

Many areas have specific by-laws with regard to the consumption of alcohol and these vary considerably. They most typically apply to drinking alcohol outdoors or in public areas, citing certain hours or days of the week when restrictions apply. Don't assume you can grab a beer and sit on the beach as you may be in violation of certain laws by doing so. Where this applies you will normally see signs in the streets which detail the law.