New Zealand Travel Guides
New Zealand is a South Pacific nation made up of a group of islands located about 1500 km east of Australia Comprised of two main islands and many smaller outlying islands the realm of New Zealand ranges from sub-tropical to sub-Antarctic and between sea level to nearly 4000 metres above. This range of conditions gives New Zealand arguably more micro-climates and landscapes than anywhere of comparibiel size on Earth. These islands form part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and consequently high mountain ranges and volcanic activity dominate the land.
The North Island is home to most of the population including the biggest city Auckland and the capital Wellington. This island has a rich variety of volcanic features from live volcanoes to thermal pools and geysers. There are also many nice beaches that are popular destinations during the summer months. The Bay of Islands in the north of the island has over 150 islands with many fine beaches and the Coromandel Peninsula near Auckland has some best beaches in the country.
There is one main spine of mountains that that run down the centre of the southern half of the North Island. It is here where some of the island's best wilderness areas are located. The island is also dotted with many lakes. In Rotorua there are lakes with areas of thermal heat rising from the lake floor. Lake Taupo in the centre of the island is the biggest lake in New Zealand and hides the most destructive super-volcano on Earth, at least in the last 70,000 years. Today Taupo has a booming tourist economy with most activites based around the lake and associated rivers.
The South Island is distinctly different. Rather than volcanoes and thermal activity, there is a huge mountain range extending for 450 km (280 mi). Known simply as the Southern Alps, this part of New Zealand is why New Zealand is considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world. These alps contain Mt Cook, the highest mountain in all of Australasia. Fiordland In the south-west of the island has a series of fiords, steep mountains, countless waterfalls, and lush temperate rainforest. The north of the South Island has stunning beaches located in Abel Tasman National Park.
The biggest city in the South Island is Christchurch. After suffering from devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the city is now in rebuild mode. Even so, the city is beautiful and is considered as the most English of all the world's cities outside of England. The rebuild is changing Chrstchurch considerably, but this is also a rare opportunity to build something special with the desired vision of modern and eco-friendly coupled with plenty of green spaces. Dunedin the second biggest city in the South Island has Scottish roots, many historic buildings, plenty of nature, and even holds the record for the world's steepest street.
Further south is the third largest island called Stewart Island. A large portion of this island is a protected wilderness consisting of temperate rainforest and rare birds. Other island groups belonging to New Zeland include the Chathams, Kermedecs, Auckland Island, Campbell Island, and about 100 significant islands nearer the two main islands. Further north in tropical Polynesia lie Niue and the Cook Islands which are free states of New Zealand. A free state is a separate area that is in free association with a country. Both these island groups use New Zealand currency and are popular holiday destinations for New Zealanders.