Map of New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean comprising two large islands (the North Island and the South Island) and numerous smaller islands, most notably Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands. In Maori, New Zealand is also known as Aotearoa, which is usually translated into English as the Land of the Long White Cloud. New Zealand 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. Its closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.

Few places can match the two islands of New Zealand for outstanding natural scenery. It is a country where breathtaking vistas, pure fresh air and the legendary friendliness of the Kiwis combine to offer a truly wonderful, captivating and exhilarating holiday experience. New Zealand is actually similar in size to the UK but has a population of just 3.8 million which means that big, open spaces come as standard here , so it's no wonder that Kiwis spend most of their time outdoors, enjoying the invigorating playground that is the New Zealand landscape. From hiking to rafting and bungee jumping to skiing, outdoor pursuits are an important element of the Kiwis' national identity and you should take advantage of the many opportunities to try out some spine-tingling, adrenaline-pumping activities during your trip. Many people choose to start their exploration at one of the country's gateway cities, Auckland or the capital Wellington, on the North Island, or Christchurch or Queenstown on the South Island. And in between the cities? Just some of the most alluring, awesome and mesmerising natural scenery you will ever set eyes on?

The North Island is home to Auckland, which is the largest city in New Zealand, and the country's answer to Sydney in Australia. Similar to Sydney, it features a stunning Harbour and bridge, as well as vibrant Polynesian community and culture and fantastic shopping. Auckland is also well placed for visiting the small islands of the Hauraki Gulf and the beautiful scenery of the Coromandel Peninsula and the Hauraki Plains. The landscape is different again at Rotorua in the heart of New Zealand's geyser country, while Northland and its popular lodges is the cradle of Maori culture and features glorious beaches at the Bay of Islands, superlative diving sites and incredible forests. To the southern tip of the island lies Wellington, the country's capital and a lively cultural centre packed with numerous restaurants, cafes and bars.

Venture across the Cook Strait, and the South Island is where you'll find the gorgeous beaches of Nelson, the world-famous wine country of Marlborough, the dramatic summits of the Southern Alps (including Mt Cook, Australasia's highest mountain) and Queenstown, the world capital of extreme sports and gateway to the immense, clear lakes of Fiordland and the snow-clad glaciers, ancient forests and arresting mountains of the West Coast. History abounds in the city of Dunedin and the whole of Coastal Otago while Stewart Island is famous for its unbridled, natural scenery, epitomising New Zealand at its most captivating.

Map of New Zealand