Medical Tourism Destinations - New Zealand

New Zealand Farmland Square

With its lush landscapes and first-class accommodations, New Zealand is a leading tourist destination for travelers around the globe. This English-speaking nation is also a leader in medical tourism due to its low healthcare costs and world-class hospitals. From cosmetic procedures to cardiac surgery, New Zealand has much to offer patients seeking quality healthcare at an affordable price.

New Zealand is home to a number of private hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International. The medical specialists in New Zealand are among the best in the world, having received specialty training in first-world nations like the UK and Australia. New Zealand's healthcare costs are much lower than the U.S. and many other Western nations. On average, the cost of surgery in New Zealand is about 15 to 20% as much the same surgery in the U.S. For example, heart bypass surgery costing approximately $125,000 in the U.S. is roughly $38,000 in New Zealand. Other popular procedures for medical tourists include general surgery, orthopedic, gynecological and urological procedures.

New Zealand's healthcare system differs from America's in that it is largely government-funded, giving citizens access to public medical services with minimal interference from private insurance companies. Medical tourism procedures take place in private hospitals that offer speedy access to medical services and resemble American hospitals in many respects. A majority of these private facilities are internationally accredited and offer state-of-the-art technology and integrated care packages.

Medical tourism in New Zealand is expected to grow as the baby boomer generation ages and more insurers sign on to reduce their own costs. Flight time from the Western U.S. to New Zealand is a mere 12 hours, making it a convenient destination for medical tourists. While quality health care is abundant in New Zealand, you may be placed on a waiting list for certain procedures. Some clinics and doctors require up front cash payments for their services. Not all insurance is accepted by all facilities, so check with your insurance provider before departing for New Zealand.

In addition to its rich medical tourism industry, New Zealand is home to many exciting tourist attractions. The Auckland Sky Tower offers a breathtaking birds-eye view of the city. In most urban areas you can find a lively arts and entertainment scene complete with museums, nightclubs, cafes and world-renowned restaurants. New Zealand's natural beauty makes it a prime destination for extreme sports enthusiasts who enjoy rappelling, sky diving, bungee jumping and other adventure sports. New Zealand is home to over 400 expansive golf courses ranging from local clubs to world-renowned resorts. Other things to do while in New Zealand include kayaking, bird-watching, boat tours and hang gliding.


Located in the South Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is made up of two main islands and several smaller ones. All together, it is roughly the size of the state of Colorado with a population of about 4 million. Despite its quaint size, New Zealand offers an impressively diverse landscape that includes everything from sandy beaches and active volcanoes to lush rainforests and majestic glaciers. The climate is temperate and inviting, with moderately high precipitation and many hours of sunlight in most regions. The average temperature falls between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit on a given day.

Many of New Zealand's motorways are comprised of rugged terrain and steep curves, making driver safety a must. The country has only 100 miles of multi-lane highways, with most intercity motorways being two-lane roads. Some heavily populated cities are located in areas of frequent seismic activity, so basic emergency preparedness is vital for all visitors. Rental cars and campers are a popular method of transportation for tourists while visiting New Zealand.

The New Zealand Dollar is the standard currency used in the country. Since eliminating the 5-cent piece in 2006, the 10-cent piece is New Zealand's smallest coin. Electronic banking services like ATMs are prevalent and widely available in nearly every town and city.

Local cuisine is varied and consists of both Western and Maori influences. Hamburgers, pizza and other American favorites are often served alongside traditional Maori specialties like crayfish, green mussels and blackfoot abalone. Beer is a widely enjoyed beverage among New Zealanders, with three major breweries and many regional brands to choose from. The legal drinking age in New Zealand is 18 as opposed to 21 in the United States.

While the rate of violent crime in New Zealand is relatively low, tourists may be at an increased risk of theft. As a safety precaution, avoid leaving your passport and other important items unattended in your car or camper.

You'll need a visa when traveling to New Zealand for surgeries or other medical procedures. To obtain a visa, you must prove you're in good health, of good character and that your stay in New Zealand will be temporary. Items you may need in order to get a visa include a passport, proof of funds and travel items like a plane ticket or written confirmation from your airline of choice.


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