Welcome to New Zealand!
Two breathtaking islands off the east coast of Australia make up the country of New Zealand. Its diverse geography is perfect for any adventure-lover, and these isolated islands have unique plants and animals only found here. Tourists from around the world come to visit the fascinating mud pools of Rotorua, or to witness the Maori perform a traditional welcome to their guests.
New Zealand (continued)
Come see the magnificent Sky Tower and dine on some of the Kiwis' favorite desserts, hokey pokey ice cream and Pavlova. No matter what you love, New Zealand is sure to have it.
Located off the coast of Australia, New Zealand has diverse geography and land formations. Running down the middle of the North Island are magnificent mountain ranges, and to either side of the mountains, fertile farmlands. A volcanic plateau covers the central area of this island, while in the South Island, the jaw-dropping Southern Alps attract hikers
and snowshoers to enjoy the alpine peaks. To the east lies more farmland and the vast, flat Canterbury Plains. New Zealand has a largely temperate climate, but in the far north, subtropical weather may occur in summer, and the far south can get as cold as -10 degrees Celsius in winter. However, most of the island is near the coast, so expect mild temperature, moderate rain, and abundant sunshine.
Major Cities, Historic Locations, and Well-known Places
The largest urban area of New Zealand is a city called Aukland. Aukland is home to many of the country's landmarks, including the Sky Tower and the Aukland Museum. Or perhaps you'd prefer to visit New Zealand's capital, Wellington. One of the most popular sight-seeing locations is Milford Sound.
Milford Sound has beautiful coastal scenery, with dark blue waters, majestic mountains, and awe-inspiring waterfalls. To visit grand old homes displaying colonial life, visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and see the place where New Zealand's most significant document was signed: the Treaty of Waitangi. In the South Island, see examples of the gold rush and pioneer days, and maybe stop by at New Zealand's only castle, once owned by a Dunedian banker.
Recreation and Outdoor Activities
There are many captivating sports and activities to be found in NZ. One example is Zorbing, where a person is strapped inside a soft plastic ball before rolling down a hill. Nature-lovers can go caving in Waitomo to see the thousands of glow worms that adorn the ceiling and walls. Skiing up on Mount Cook, the Remarkables, and Mt. Ruapehv is also popular. Come see the snow fly as you learn how to ski down the slopes for your winter vacation.
In New Zealand, rugby is considered the national sport, with cricket standing as the national summer sport. Many kiwis take part in these activities, and form teams that participate in world-wide competitions. In 1870, Charles Monro introduced the game of rugby to New Zealand, and now it's a big part of the culture. Cricket is just as important. In the 2015 Cricket Cup, New Zealand was one of the two surviving teams that faced off in the final game, the other being Australia. Though they lost the last match, it shows how devoted New Zealanders are to their sports.
No matter how you like to travel, New Zealand has easy and accessible transportation. You can rent a car, a plane, or a motorcycle. If you don't like to take the steering wheel yourself, feel free to ride a train, a ferry, a water taxi, a bus, or a coach. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
There's no doubt that New Zealand has some amazing food, but some of the most popular are its Hangi-cooked meals, hokey-pokey ice cream, Pavlova, and seafood. A Hangi is an earth oven used by the native Māori to cook their food. In a traditional Māori greeting, the natives will use a Hangi to cook their guest's meal, which usually consists of chicken, seafood, and various vegetables. Kiwis also take pride in their deserts. Hokey-pokey ice cream, vanilla with bits of honeycomb, is definitely a favorite, as well as the fruit-topped meringue-like dessert, Pavlova.
Culture and Dialect
The natives of New Zealand are known as Māori. These people are believed to come from an island or group of islands around Polynesia about 1000 years ago. They are skilled farmers, fishers, and gatherers. The warriors of the tribe could handle most traditional weapons, which can be seen at Māori historical museums today. If you want to see the history and culture of the Māori, the best places to visit are Northland, Aukland, Rotorua, and Canterbury. There, you can be welcomed at a marae, which is a Māori meeting house, and say hello by touching noses with the natives. Although most people in New Zealand speak English, the Māori speak their own language, Maori.
Plant and Animal Life
One of the most amazing concepts of New Zealand is its animals and plants. Being isolated from all other bodies of land, many species are completely unique to this country. Because of the lack of predators, many birds are flightless, and are now endangered due to invasive species. The Kiwi, NZ's national bird, is known around the world. The Kea, the Moa(now extinct), and the Tuatara are other examples of superb animals. Throughout the country is also lush plant life.
New Zealand is a beautiful, independent country that hundreds of people visit every year. Some come to view the scenic landscape, others may want to see the filming locations of Lord of the Rings. But despite the reason, New Zealand is an adventure-lover's dream and the perfect vacation for anybody.