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Embark on a journey through the enchanting landscapes and vibrant culture of New Zealand. Uncover hidden Kiwi gems for an awesome travel experience.
New Zealand has become a popular destination for tourists, adventurers, and individuals looking to experience a unique blend of stunning landscapes and welcoming communities, thanks to a mix of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and a high quality of life.
The Realm of New Zealand is made up of the North and South islands (separated by the narrow Cook Strait) and many smaller islands; including Stewart Island to the south of South Island.
The first European to reach the islands was the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman, in 1642 when the name New Zealand was given them by a Dutch cartographer.
Captain James Cook visited in 1769 and claimed the islands for Great Britain. It was almost another 75 years before the British government formally annexed New Zealand.
According to Maori tradition, Kupe first discovered the North Island 1,000 years before Tasman and called it Aotearoa, or Land of the Long White Cloud.
In November 1995, Queen Elizabeth II went to New Zealand, in her capacity as head of state, to give official royal assent to the returning of seized lands by the settlers in the 1860's, and a formal apology to the Maori people for wrongs committed by British colonial forces.
New Zealand Overview
New Zealand is a beautiful island nation located in the south-western Pacific Ocean.
With a population of approximately 5 million people, New Zealand is known for its stunning landscapes, rich Maori culture, and diverse wildlife.
Geographically, New Zealand is characterised by its breathtaking scenery, including snow-capped mountains, fjords, pristine beaches, lush forests, and rolling green hills.
New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with the British monarch as the head of state.
It has a well-established legal system, based on English common law.
The indigenous people of New Zealand are the Maori, who have a significant influence on the country's culture, language, and traditions.
Maori culture is celebrated throughout New Zealand, with traditional performances, arts and crafts, and historical landmarks.
The Maori language, known as Te Reo, also holds official status; alongside English.
The cities in New Zealand offer a mix of modern amenities and natural beauty.
Wellington, the capital city, is located on the North Island and is known for its vibrant arts scene, government institutions, and picturesque harbour.
Auckland, the largest city, is also on the North Island and is famous for its diverse population, stunning beaches, and the iconic Sky Tower.
Christchurch, located on the South Island, is known for its English heritage and as a gateway to outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and river rafting.
New Zealand has a strong economy and offers a high standard of living.
The country has a diverse economy with sectors such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, technology, and film production contributing significantly to its growth.
Agriculture is a vital industry, with New Zealand being a major exporter of dairy products, meat (especially lamb), wool, and wine.
New Zealand is renowned for its outdoor recreational opportunities, such as hiking, skiing, bungee jumping, and water sports.
The Milford Sound, Tongariro National Park, Abel Tasman National Park, and Fiordland National Park are just a few examples of the country's natural wonders.
New Zealand is often regarded as a progressive and environmentally conscious nation.
It has a strong focus on sustainability and is committed to protecting its unique flora and fauna.
The national plant of New Zealand is the Pohutukawa, known for its crimson flowers and silvery leaves.
New Zealand is home to several endemic species, including the kiwi bird, which has become New Zealand's national symbol.
Visiting New Zealand
New Zealand is a beautiful country known for its stunning landscapes, friendly people, and unique wildlife.
Whether you're interested in exploring its pristine nature, experiencing Maori culture, or indulging in adventure activities, New Zealand has a lot to offer.
New Zealand is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts.
Queenstown is the adventure capital, offering bungee jumping, jet boating, skydiving, and river rafting.
If you're a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, New Zealand is the ultimate destination.
Visit Hobbiton in Matamata, where you can explore the film set of the Shire.
Many other locations were used throughout the country, providing opportunities for scenic drives and tours.
Start your trip in Auckland, the largest city, known for its vibrant atmosphere, the iconic Sky Tower and - as its known as the City of Sails - sailing.
Wellington, the capital, offers a blend of culture, arts, and stunning harbour views.
Christchurch, known as the 'Garden City', has a charming English heritage.
New Zealand's indigenous Maori culture is an integral part of the country's identity.
Consider visiting a marae (Maori meeting grounds) to experience a traditional Maori welcome (powhiri) and learn about their customs, arts, and history.
Rotorua and the Northland region are great places to immerse yourself in Maori culture.
New Zealand's landscapes are breathtaking.
Visit Fiordland National Park, home to the stunning Milford Sound, where you can cruise among towering peaks and cascading waterfalls.
Explore the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, with its bubbling mud pools and geysers.
New Zealand is perfect for road trips.
Rent a car or a campervan and explore the stunning landscapes at your own pace.
The South Island's West Coast and the North Island's Coromandel Peninsula are popular routes; offering spectacular views and hidden gems along the way.
New Zealand is known for its unique wildlife.
Visit Kaikoura for whale watching and swimming with dolphins.
Head to Stewart Island to spot kiwi birds in their natural habitat.
Take a wildlife cruise in the Bay of Islands to see dolphins, penguins, and seals.
Remember to check the latest travel information before your trip.
New Zealand is known for its biosecurity measures, so be sure to declare any food or outdoor equipment you bring with you to protect the country's delicate ecosystems.
Getting around New Zealand, and other information for tourists.
Immigrating to New Zealand:
Whether you want to go to New Zealand to work or study, the New Zealand Immigration Service explains Government Immigration Policy.
New Zealand's cities and towns.
The official gateway to New Zealand Government provides an overview of New Zealand and its government, access to government services information, and contact details if you want to e-mail a Minister or give the government your opinion.
New Zealand's North and South Islands.
Local weather forecasts for destinations around the Pacific region.
New Zealand Travel Tips
New Zealand's anti-smoking regulations means that you can not smoke in any public building, including bars and restaurants.
Not everyone can just stick out a thumb and hitch-hike around Australia and New Zealand, but budget travellers can still discover the North and South Islands on the cheap by hiring a campervan; saving on accommodation costs in the bargain.
New Zealand Campervan Rentals:
Spaceships Campers offer a versatile, compact, fun and fuel efficient way to travel around the North and South islands of New Zealand. There's also a friendly community of Space Travellers, or Space Mates, ready to swap DVDs and offer travel tips.
New Zealand Travel Notes
New Zealand Travel Guides
The Travel Notes Online Guide to Travel helps visitors plan their trip with country and city travel guides, local tourist information, reviewed web sites, and regular travel articles.
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