New Zealand

Travels in New Zealand:

New Zealand Hiking Highlights (19 days)
Round Trip with many selected walks

New Zealand By Bike (14 days)
Discover the South Island

New Zealand - Paradise Plus (19 days)
Road Cycle Tour from Christchurch to Auckland

Southern Off-Road Adventure (15 days)
South Island Mountain Bike Tour

Quick Facts:

New Zealand

Official Name:

New Zealand




268,680 sq km


English, Maori


New Zealand Dollar

Population figure:

Approx. 4.098 million


About 80% of European descent; 14.7% Maori (indigenous Polynesians); 6.5% immigrated Polynesians; 6.6% Asians; 0.7% others


63% Christians of different churches; 2% Maori- Christians; 1.3% Buddhists; 1.2% Hindus; 0.7% Muslims; 0.2% Jews; 1.1% others

National holiday:

February 06 (Waitangi Day)

Government type:

Constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy


The climate throughout the country is mild, mostly cool temperate to warm temperate, with temperatures rarely falling below 0?C (32?F) or rising above 30?C (86?F). Conditions vary from wet and cold on the West Coast of the South Island to dry and continental in the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland. Of the main cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving only some 640 mm (25 in) of rain per year. Auckland, the wettest, receives a little less than three times that amount.


New Zealand is a country of two large islands (called the North and South Islands) and many much smaller islands in the south-western Pacific Ocean. New Zealand is called Aotearoa in Maori, and is directly translated as the Land of the Long White Cloud. It is notable for its geographic isolation, being separated from Australia to the northwest by the Tasman Sea, some 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) across. Closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. New Zealand is similar in size to Japan or the British Isles. The landscape of the two main islands is green and mountainous, with large areas of farmland and forest.

Entry regulations

EU citizens need a passport to enter New Zealand; a national ID is not sufficient.


New Zealand's unusual plants and wildlife are found nowhere else in the world. The forests range from sub-tropical rainforests in the north, with lush ferns and palms, to the snowy alpine forests of the south. The native trees do not lose their leaves in winter, but remain green all year round. Until the arrival of the first humans, 80% of the land was forested. There are no snakes or other poisonous animals in New Zealand, and a small bat is the country's only native land mammal. Because they had no natural predators, many of New Zealand?s bird species lost the ability to fly. As well as native species, New Zealand's landscape is home to introduced animals including deer, pigs and possums. The waters around New Zealand are home to many fish, and to whales, dolphins and seals.


New Zealand probably was discovered and colonized by Polynesians during the 14th century. The European explorers who chanced upon New Zealand in the 17th and 18th centuries were looking for a fabled southern continent. The first was Abel Tasman, a Dutchman who captained two vessels from a trading post in Java. He made landfall near the northern tip of the South Island late in 1642. Tasman failed to establish friendly relations with the local Maori, and four members of his crew were killed in a bloody confrontation. A Dutch map maker later called the new lands Nieuw Zeeland, after a coastal province in The Netherlands. The second recorded European visit was made more than a century later by British explorer James Cook. Cook circumnavigated both the North and South Islands, mapping them, writing about the Maori he encountered, and collecting specimens of flora and fauna. In 1840, the Maori chieftains acknowledged the sovereignty of the British Crown in the Waitangi treaty. New Zealand was the first nation to introduce election rights for women. In 1907, the colony became a dominion. Since 1948, New Zealand is an independent nation.


Contemporary New Zealand has a diverse contemporary culture with influences from British, Irish, and Maori cultures, along with those of other European cultures and - more recently - Polynesian and southern and southeast Asian cultures. Maori culture survives and the Government actively promotes it to all New Zealanders, and much is protected under the terms of the Treaty of Waitangi.


Most of New Zealand?s scenic highlights are found in National Parks, which are freely open to the public. Maori culture, both traditional and contemporary, is a major attraction for tourists. The central North Island?s thermal region has been a popular tourist destination since the 1800s. The active geysers, boiling mud pools and natural thermal springs of Rotorua are now complemented by some of the country?s most sophisticated Maori arts and cultural experiences. The South Island town of Queenstown is the country?s adventure capital and the birthplace of bungy jumping. New Zealand?s small size and efficient infrastructure make it easy to explore.

This article is partly based on a free article of the encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is subject to GNU-licence for free documentation. A list of authors is available on Wikipedia


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