The archipelago of New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It is a country with amazing nature, rich vegetation, unusual animals, high mountains and clean beaches on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Here live people different from other nations, but all of them are very open, friendly and independent. Welcome to New Zealand, the country is waiting for you!
New Zealand on the map
New Zealand is located entirely in the Southern Hemisphere. It is located in the south-west Pacific Ocean, east of Australia. It is about 1700 kilometres from New Zealand to the smallest continent on the planet.
The country has no land borders, and its closest sea neighbour is New Caledonia. It is about 1000 kilometres away.
Most of the area of the state is represented by two islands – North and South. In addition to them, the country includes about 700 smaller islands. Among them are the Bounty Islands and the Chatham Archipelago. The South Island is larger than the North Island and is the 12th largest in the world. But it is less populated.
The topography of the islands is predominantly mountainous. The highest mountains are on the South Island, among them there are many peaks higher than 3 kilometres. The North Island is more flat, which makes it much more attractive for agriculture and settlement building.
The highest peak in the country is called Mount Cook. Its height is 3724 metres.
There are many rivers and lakes in New Zealand. The largest river Uaikata is located on the North Island and has a length of 425 kilometres. Most of the territory is covered with dense forests, in which there are many different animals and birds.
Safety for tourists
In the global index of peacefulness, which takes into account the calmness of the situation, attitude to tourists and many other factors, New Zealand is on the honourable 4th place. This indicates that the country is very safe. As they joke here: «The biggest danger to tourists in New Zealand is the tourists themselves».
There is a great deal of truth in this phrase, because the country has long been known as the world centre of extreme tourism. Many types of dangerous entertainment were invented here.
The crime rate in the country is extremely low. Serious crimes almost never happen. But petty thefts and pickpockets are still not eradicated, although the work of the police here is beyond praise.
Road traffic in big cities is quite intense, but drivers are disciplined, which is facilitated by high fines. The roadbed itself is of very high quality, even in the remote parts of the islands. The only difficulty is the left-hand traffic.
The level of infectious diseases in the country is one of the lowest in the world, although you should not forget about the rules of sanitation and personal hygiene.
The nature of New Zealand is more dangerous. The sea here is very rough in many places. The sun is not as scalding as in the tropics, but in the north, a long stay on the beach can threaten sunstroke. Poisonous fish and jellyfish are not uncommon in the waters, sharks swim to the coast.
There are no large predators on the islands. In the forests of the islands there are poisonous spiders, mosquitoes and mosquitoes. There are poisonous plants with attractive fruits.
Observe elementary caution, including extreme sports, and your stay in the kingdom will bring only positive emotions.
New Zealanders are known as a very cheerful people who are proud of their history and love noisy holidays. The country is predominantly Christian, and both secular and religious holidays are celebrated at the national level.
New Year celebrations are very honoured. And New Zealanders celebrate this holiday twice – on the 1st of January according to European custom, and in the middle of summer according to Maori traditions. Maori New Year is called Matariki and is associated with the rising of the Pleiades.
Of the Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter are widely celebrated. Among secular holidays is ANZAC Day, associated with the events of the Second World War. Waitangi Day, which commemorates the treaty between the Maori and the British, is also very solemnly celebrated.
In addition to national holidays, there are many festivals and carnivals in the country. The most famous among them are the annual Santa Claus Run, food and drink festivals held at different times in many regions, music festivals in Auckland and Wellington, Chinese and Hindu festivals.
What fun things to do in New Zealand
New Zealand has long been one of the world’s centres of tourism, and the relevant infrastructure is at the highest level. Tourists are provided with a variety of entertainment activities, including extreme ones.
- Beach holidays. The coastline of New Zealand is very long and provides beaches for every taste. They are characterised by clean sand and picturesque views, often surrounded by mountains and forest. The longest beach is Ninety Mile Beach, stretching 55 miles to the northernmost tip of New Zealand.
- Surfing. The country is very popular with surfers, as here you can find the highest waves on the planet. One of the best is considered to be Paha Beach near Auckland. It is famous for high waves and black sand.
- Diving. Fans of scuba diving will also find a place. There are no large reefs here, but there are underwater caves, lots of fish and algae. The best diving spots are around the town of Dunedin, as well as many of the South Island’s fjords.
- Bang bungee jumping. Bungee jumping is considered a signature holiday activity in the kingdom. You can jump either from coastal cliffs or gorges in the mountains, or from special platforms in the cities.
- Rafting. Numerous turbulent mountain rivers are unusually attractive for rafting lovers. Here you can choose a route of any complexity, including black water rafting – rafting on the Ruakuri River at a depth of 100 metres underground.
- Zorbing. This entertainment is considered one of the most popular in the country. Numerous tracks in the most picturesque corners of New Zealand are built for those who like to roll down the mountain in a big inflatable ball.
- Mountaineering and rock climbing. Despite the fact that there are no very high mountains here, there is plenty to do for mountaineering enthusiasts. You can climb the sheer cliffs rising above the sea, or make an excursion into the interior of the island. The frog-like cliffs near Varepapa are very popular with climbers.
- Fjords. One of the most beautiful places of the country are fjords – long and narrow sea bays surrounded by rocks. You can go there by yacht or boat. The most beautiful among the fjords is Marlborough on the South Island.
- Natural attractions. There are many places to visit on the islands to admire the marvellous scenery. These are volcanoes and waterfalls, Lake Taupa, Franz Josef Glacier and others. Among them are man-made wonders like the botanical garden in Hamilton.
- Architectural sights. In New Zealand, you can admire architecture of different styles, from classical to neo-Gothic. There are even some fantastic places, like the hobbit village, where the Lord of the Rings saga was filmed.
What’s important to know about New Zealand
If you’re planning to visit these islands, here are some of the most important things to know:
The official languages of the country are English, Maori, and sign language.
English is the language of international communication, spoken fluently by 96% of the population. The pronunciation of this variant of English is closer to Australian English.
Maori is the language of the indigenous population, now it is spoken by about 150 thousand people.
Since 2006 New Zealand sign language also became the state language. It is a language of communication of deaf and hearing impaired people. It is spoken by 25 thousand people.
Currently, the country is inhabited by a little more than 5 million people.
Almost 72 per cent of the population are natives of various European countries. There are communities of Dutch, Germans, Croats and many others.
About 15 per cent of the population are Maori and their direct descendants. These are the indigenous inhabitants of the islands, who in the past were famous for their militancy.
There are also a significant number of Asians (Chinese, Indians), Polynesians, Arabs and Africans living on the islands.
More facts about New Zealanders, their character and local colour can be found in this article.
The national currency is the New Zealand dollar. It is divided into 100 cents. It came to replace the pound in 1967.
Currently, in circulation there are banknotes in 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. And also coins of 10, 20, 50 cents and 1, 2 dollars.
It is not necessary to take cash currency with you. New Zealand has ATMs everywhere, shops and shopping centres accept international cards. If necessary, American dollars or euros can be easily exchanged for local money in any bank office.
Now for 1 New Zealand dollar they give about half of the American dollar.
Officially, most of the country’s population is Christian, but according to the last census, almost 50 per cent of residents declared that they do not support any religion. Adherents of Christianity turned out to be 37 per cent of percent.
Other common concessions in the state were Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. Adherents of Satanism and neo-paganism are represented in an insignificant number.
Most of New Zealand lies in a temperate maritime climate. Only the North Island has areas of subtropical climate. These types of climate are characterised by 4 seasons and significant temperature variations.
The west coast of the archipelago is greatly influenced by the warm East Australian Current, which makes the climate milder and more humid. The western shores of the South Island are the most humid. Its eastern shores, on the other hand, are the driest. Because a chain of mountains divides the South Island into two halves, preventing the winds from spreading.
The distribution of rainfall in the country is even, with summers being slightly drier than winters.
The average temperature in the summer months (December-February) is +20-25 degrees Celsius. In winter it is slightly cooler – +10-15 degrees Celsius.
New Zealand lies to the south of the usual tropical cyclone area, but storms and hurricane-force winds with high rainfall are common from October to March.
The average seawater temperature off the coast of New Zealand fluctuates annually and is not always suitable for swimming. The bathing season is during the local summer months of December and February. In some places, you can swim as early as October.
- Water temperature in winter, December-January: from +22 to +25 degrees Celsius.
- Water temperature in spring, March-May: from +22 to +18 degrees Celsius.
- Water temperature in summer, June-July: from +13 to +15 degrees Celsius. The coldest water is in July.
- Water temperature in autumn, September-November: from +15 in early autumn to +18 degrees in November.
New Zealand is located in an active seismic zone, the archipelago is situated at the junction of two lithospheric plates – Australian and Pacific. This situation leads to the fact that every year about 15 thousand earthquakes are recorded here, but only about 250 of them are noticeable. Very strong earthquakes do not occur more often than once a century.
The country is also in the zone of high volcanic activity. There are several active volcanoes, especially many on the North Island.
The island position of the state makes it vulnerable to storms and cyclones. Particularly strong storms are characteristic of the local summer, that is, the period from November to March. Heavy rainfall often causes flooding. In addition to rain, heavy snowfalls also occur here, but this disaster occurs more often in July and August, as it did in 2011.
About the most devastating disasters in the history of New Zealand can be read in this article.
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. The formal head of the country remains the English king, and local government is carried out by the governor-general. Executive power is represented by the government headed by the Prime Minister. Legislative power is represented by the unicameral parliament, which here is called the House of Representatives.
Administratively, the country is divided into 16 districts governed by regional councils.
The capital of the country is Wellington.
The major cities and resorts
Wellington is the capital of the country, founded in 1839. Named in honour of an English duke and military leader, it is considered the southernmost capital in the world. Currently, it is home to just over 400 thousand people. Tourists are attracted here by the zoo, botanical gardens and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Auckland is the largest city in the country with 1.5 million people. It was founded in 1840 and is the largest industrial, business, transport and cultural centre. Tourists are attracted by the volcanic plateau and small islands, which are a holiday area.
Christchurch – founded in 1848 by Australian whalers. Now it is the third most populous city of the country, the centre of Bohemian life. 370 thousand people live here. Among tourists, it is known for the Art Gallery and numerous cathedrals and churches.
Dunedin – was founded in 1848 by Scottish settlers. It has a population of 115 thousand people. It is popular among tourists because of its unusual architecture and beautiful cathedrals. Here is the steepest street in the world – Baldwin Street.
Kiwi is a flightless bird, the national symbol of the state. It is endemic, meaning it is found nowhere else in the world.
Ponga – silver fern, a tree-like plant, considered a national symbol.
Kowhai is an evergreen tree whose bright yellow flowers are considered the symbol of the islands.
Haka is a traditional Māori war dance still performed at festivals and sporting events.
Rugby is the national sport in which New Zealanders are still unrivalled in the world.
Sheep, one of the mainstays of the country’s economy, were introduced to the islands by Captain James Cook.
How to get to New Zealand
You can get to the country almost exclusively by aeroplane. This island nation is connected to the rest of the world by 6 international airports. Getting to the kingdom from Europe, Asia and America is only possible through the air harbours of Auckland and Christchurch. The other 4 airports serve flights to Australia and the islands of Oceania.
Auckland Airport is the largest airport in the country. Every year, 7 million tourists arrive through it. Through the airport of Kreischert – about 3 million. Planes of more than 20 international companies from all major cities of the world arrive there. It is the most affordable way to get to New Zealand.
The Port of Auckland is also the arrival point for cruise ships that ply between Sydney and the US. You can also use them to get to New Zealand, but it’s even longer and more expensive.
How much money to take with you
Prices of holidays in New Zealand can fluctuate in a fairly wide range, depending on the claims of the most tourists and their goals. Most often come here not just to laze on the beaches and swim in the ocean, but also to get acquainted with the wonders of local nature and the life of the Maori. Therefore, a significant part of the cost of the tour may be the cost of travelling within the kingdom. Travel agencies offer special package tours to get to know the country better. The price of such a tour starts from $3500 for two people for 7–8 days without taking into account the flight.
The flight to New Zealand itself can not be called cheap. Due to the fact that for a European the archipelago is on the other side of the globe, the cost of flight to Auckland will start from $800 per person, and with connecting flights even more. Thus, the price of the cheapest ticket from Paris to Auckland starts from $800.
In the country itself, the following costs await tourists:
- Food: meal prices are often included in the price of the tour, but there is always the temptation to try the local cuisine. A meal at a fast-food establishment will cost $40-50 per person per day, while a visit to a restaurant will cost $90-100. For example, a bottle of local wine costs from $5.
- Visiting sights: many sights of the kingdom can be admired for free, for example, for a visit to the Botanical Gardens in Wellington do not have to pay for entry as others will have to pay. It is advantageous to take a guide or a group tour when visiting different sightseeing locations. Thus, visiting the village of hobbits will cost $80, kayaking on the fjord will cost $70, and New Year’s Eve on the island will cost $500.
- Souvenirs: New Zealand offers great shopping opportunities, and the choice of souvenirs here is very large. In Auckland boutiques you can buy clothes and shoes of world brands or sports goods of local manufacturers. Often brought from the kingdom down jackets (from $40), Uggs, knitted things. Bone jewellery costs from $10, and jade jewellery from $80. Seashells, cosmetics, exotic masks and products of local craftsmen are taken from the kingdom.
- Transport: if the cost of transport will not be initially included in the price of the tour, you should provide for expenses of about 100–150 dollars per week.
Thus, taking into account the reserve amount for unforeseen expenses, a holiday in New Zealand for two people will cost from 4000 to 6000 thousand dollars for 7 days including flight. And of course, the maximum holiday amount can be much higher.
If you have already visited New Zealand, please share your impressions in the comments. Please write a few words, what you liked most of all, what moments remained in your memory forever, and what you would recommend to other tourists. We will be very grateful for your recommendations!