New Zealand consists of two main islands and many smaller ones. North Island has landscape ranging from sandy beaches, rolling farmland, forests to active volcanic mountains complete with bubbling mud pools. South Island consists of spectacular mountains and fjords, beautiful beaches, large beech forests and glaciers. Compare hotel prices in New Zealand.
Offshore Islands (Stewart Island, Chatham Islands, and Sub-Antarctic Islands) are wilder with nearby Stewart Island being accessible to the distant and uninhabited Kermadec Islands.
NZ has a population of a little fewer than 4.5 million. As a former British colony, its population is mainly of European descent, with a sizeable indigenous Maori minority and also a similarly sized Asian minority. The largest city is Auckland (North Island) with a population of over 1 million.
This is a country filled with stunning and diverse landscape. For centuries, New Zealand has been described as the “Paradise of the Pacific”, a description that most tourists would agree with. Located 1600 kms (1000 miles) south east of Australia.
NZ is famous for its outdoor and thrill seeking activities. Queenstown (South Island) is the adrenalin and adventure capital of the world. You can also try Milford Sound, South Island for hiking, biking and kayaking.
Only Australian passport holders and current permanent residents of Australia may enter New Zealand without a visa. Additionally, they may stay as long as they wish.
British visa-free Visitor’s Permit for up to six months available on arrival.
Most first world and some other countries can obtain a three month visa-free permit on arrival. The above waivers can be refused especially to those with a criminal record.
Everybody else needs a visa. It’s best to check with the New Zealand Immigration Service. When entering as a tourist, proof on onward travel is required.
English and Maori
Four seasons in one day is an apt description of New Zealand weather. Parts of NZ are located in the roaring forties so in can get a little ‘blustery’. NZ has mild temperatures, moderately high rainfall and many hours of sunshine throughout most of the country. New Zealand’s climate is dominated by two main geographical features: the mountains and the sea. In summer, you can expect low to mid 20°s going down to 15° C at night. In winter, temperatures peak in the low to mid teen’s and can go as low as 1° C (but lower in the mountains where skiing takes place).
When to go
Summer; December – February.
New Zealand has 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites 2 Natural and 1 mixed site.
Rotorua is the Maori cultural centre of North Island.
Ko Tane, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, Christchurch is a major cultural centre on South Island. Opportunities abound to take part in bone carving and jewelry-making workshops, traditional hangi dinners and Maori concerts.
Bucket & Spade
New Zealand has a total of 4 blue flag beaches dotted along its coastlines. (Blue Flag is an International body that grades beaches to a high standard with facilities nearby – for further details: www.blueflag.org). It also has 3 blue flag marinas.
- New Zealanders consider their accent to be markedly different from the Australian one and are often mildly offended when mistaken for or confused with Australians.
- The currency used is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD).
- The emergency telephone number in New Zealand is 111.
- Tips are not expected.
- NZ has an incredible variety of flora.
- Home to the flightless Kiwi bird.
- As the economy is based on agriculture, NZ has very strict laws on bio-security.
- The legal drinking of alcohol is 18. Some establishments ask for photo ID (passport) from anyone that looks under 25.
- NZ has high levels of UV (40% higher than the Mediterranean in summer) due to the lack of pollution.
- There are very few free Wi-Fi spots. Internet access is available at the cyber cafes around the country.
- Hospital emergencies are free of charge to New Zealanders, Australians and British subjects. It is advisable to have travel insurance.