New Zealand (NZ)
- Continent: Australia & Oceania
- Area: 270,534 km²
- Population: 4,534,940
- Capital city: Wellington
- ISO code: NZ
- National language: English, Maori
- International dialing code: +64
- Currency: New Zealand Dollar
- License plate number: NZ
- Flight routes from New Zealand: 3666
- Flight routes to New Zealand: 4298
- Popular airports: Auckland (AKL), Christchurch (CHC), Queenstown (ZQN), Kerikeri (KKE), Westport (WSZ), Rotorua (ROT), Nelson (NSN), Paraparaumu (PPQ), Napier Hawkes Bay (NPE), New Plymouth (NPL)
- Large cities: Auckland, Christchurch, North Shore, Wellington, Waitakere, Hamilton, Dunedin, Tauranga, Lower Hutt, Palmerston North, Hastings, Napier, Porirua, New Plymouth, Invercargill
- Airlines based in New Zealand: Air New Zealand, Air Chathams, Sounds Air
New Zealand travel guide (Australia & Oceania)
New Zealand is an island state consisting of two main islands, several offshore islands in the South Seas and a territory in the Antarctic.
Geography: both main islands are located between the Australian and the Pacific plates and are part of the active 2,500 km (1,552 miles) long volcanic belt which extends from Japan through Indonesia to the Pacific Ocean. Mountain ranges and volcanoes dominate more than 60% of the countries area. Dense rainforest and mountain lakes are also characteristic of both islands. The northern and smaller island is determined by fertile hilly pasture, rising towards the interior of the island, the highest point having an altitude of 2,795 m (9170 ft). The many active volcanoes, the thermal springs spouting water and the mud baths are all confirmed tourist attractions known throughout the world. The larger southern island on the other hand is dominated by the New Zealand Alps that extend over the entire island with summits of about 3000 m (9842 ft). West of this dominant mountain range is a narrow strip of land covered in dense rainforest. Towards the east of the New Zealand Alps there are fertile valleys and plains used in particular for wine growing and as animal pasture. In the far south of the island is the fjord land with high waterfalls and crystal clear lakes to enchant the visitor.
Mountains and rivers: New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook on the South Island, has an altitude of 3764 m (12,349 ft). It is also the highest point in the whole of Oceania. Mount Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park is the highest mountain on the North Island, measuring 2800 m (9186 ft). About 20 km further north is Lake Taupo: measuring 195 km (121 miles) with a depth of up to 185 m (606 ft). It is the biggest lake in New Zealand and popular with anglers due to the large numbers of trout. He longest river in the country is the Waikato with a total length of 425 km (264 miles), also on the northern island originating from several sources on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu.
Climate and best time to visit: the climate in New Zealand is very varied due to the topographical circumstances. The far north is subtropical with excellent conditions for a beach holiday between the months of December and March. Towards the south the air becomes gradually cooler and the climate on the South Island is temperate with snowfall even in spring and autumn due to the vicinity of the Alps. The far south around the fjord land is cool and rich in rainfall throughout the year and famous for its cold rainforest. The infamous "Roaring Forties" dominate the climate on both of the islands, as they are located between the 34th and 47th degrees latitude and there is a permanent wind blowing in this zone. In particular the winds coming from a westerly direction can either be a warm breeze or a cold winter storm.
Language and communication: the official and national language is English. The indigenous inhabitants will also speak Maori.
Health and vaccinations: vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, polio and tetanus is recommended. Long clothing should be worn to provide protection against mosquitoes and other insects, and a locally purchased insect repellent should also be used. There is no occurrence of malaria in New Zealand. New Zealand has the highest UV radiation in the world and visitors should avoid sunbathing for long periods as this can lead to irreparable skin damage. A sun cream of at least 20 SPF should be used. Medical care is very good in all larger cities. Visitors are advised to take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance that covers repatriation costs.
Entry requirements British passport holders may enter New Zealand as a visitor for up to 6 months without a visa, but must meet immigration requirements and be in possession of an onward or return ticket. Some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter or leave the country. For further details on requirements at immigration please contact the: New Zealand representation in the UK.
Please refer to the Foreign Office and Commonwealth website for up-to-date information on health and safety issues when travelling in New Zealand.
Arrival and onward journey: There are good flight connections from Europe to the three international New Zealand airports of Auckland (AKL), Christchurch (CHC) and Wellington (WLG). These are provided by for example by Emirates from London Heathrow (LHR) via Dubai (DXB) as well as from other UK airports, for example Birmingham (BHX). Air New Zealand offers flights from London (LHR) to Auckland via Los Angeles (LAX) or Hong Kong (HKG). British Airways, Cathay Pacific and United also serve New Zealand from London. Internal New Zealand flights serve Alexandra (ALR), Gisborne (GIS), Rotorua (ROT), New Plymouth (NPL) or Whakatane (WHK) for instance and are provided by the daughter concerns of Air New Zealand as well as by the private airline Origin Pacific Airways (QO).
The "Visit South Pacific Pass" is also an affordable way of exploring the paradise islands in the South Pacific. This is valid in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific for the following airlines Quantas (QF), Air Caledonie (TY), Air Nauru (ON), Air Niugini (PX), Air Pacific ( FJ), Air Vanuatu (NF ), Polynesian Airlines (PH ) and Solomon Airlines (IE ). The pass allows travellers to fly to the following destinations: Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne (MEL), Wellington (WLG), Auckland (AKL), Christchurch (CHC), the airports on the Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu. This pass, which is extremely good value and flexible, is of course only valid in combination with an international airline ticket and is valid for a maximum of six months after the first flight, which must begin outside the Pacific. 2 of the 8 possible flight coupons must be purchased before arriving in the South Pacific. Booking flights in advance is recommended especially during the South Pacific peak holiday season.
Capital city: Wellington, the capital of New Zealand is on the southern tip of the north island with a total population of 370,000 in the greater Wellington region. The city is the political and cultural centre of the country and has a modern young flair due to the presence of the two universities. Its lively nightlife added to the fact that a study gave Wellington third place in the list of cities most worth living in of the southern hemisphere. The New Zealand parliamentary building is a well-known attraction along with the botanic gardens, the gothic old St. Paul’s church and the 160 m high Kelburn Hill, which is served by a cable car and provides wonderful views of the city. Wellington is also a good starting point for excursions to the offshore islands and the South Island.
Places of interest and beaches: New Zealand has a remarkable diversity of beauties of nature such as glacial mountains, damp and cool rainforests, and long dream beaches.
On the north island is the Bay of Plenty, the thinnest earth crust in the world where all geothermal activity is to be found. This is also the location of the famous city of Rotorua. Due to the numerous Geysire and the hot springs it is very popular for weekend trips with the locals. In the north the Tongariro National Park (under UNESCO protection) is also very popular. The three summits Tongaririo, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu are the highest points in New Zealand with good skiing in the winter months. The Twin Coast Discovery Route, running along the north coast of Auckland over the Bay of Island and from where visitors may easily combine a wonderful stay on the wide black sand beaches with excursions inland for instance to the Northland Forest Park. The city of Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty on the Pacific Ocean also has good beaches. Tauranga is a modern beach resort, which has developed very fast due to the mild climate, picturesque sandy beaches and plentiful accommodation of all price ranges.
The South Island is the larger of the two so very different islands but has far fewer inhabitants due to the climatic conditions. In the north of the island the so-called landscape of Marlborough Sounds is popular in particular with canoeists, sailors and anglers for its coves and lush green fields. Neither should visitors miss visiting the three national parks in the surrounding area. Especially Abel Tasman National Park, declared a natural world heritage site by the UNESCO, has a wild craggy coastline and long golden beaches with crystal clear waters and a unique seal colony. Skiers and snowboarders will get their moneys worth in the neighbouring Nelson Lakes National Park during the winter months. Further south on the east coast is the city of Christchurch with a population of 350,000, also called “garden city”, the largest city on the island. Attractions include the cathedral, also a good landmark for tourists, Hagley Park, Canterbury Museum, the botanic gardens and the unusual churches of St. Michael and All Angles, a neo-gothic wooden building with French, English and Maori elements. A train journey from Christchurch provides a good opportunity to explore the breathtaking mountains of the New Zealand Alps. A trip with the Trans-Alpine Express goes from Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass to the Alps and down to the west coast. The small village on Arthur’s Pass is also a good starting point for walking and climbing tours in the nearby Arthur’s Pass National Park. Mount Cook National Park also provides good skiing and snowboarding. The view of the Tasman glacier, the longest glacier outside the Himalaya mountain range, is unforgettable. The fairy tale fjord land is in the furthest south west of the island and is a nature reserve with numerous walking paths along untouched lakes and jungles and with a breathtaking coastline. The best known of these is the Milford Walking Track, which begins near Te Anau and goes to the northerly Fjord of Milford Sound, where Fjordland-Penguins, seals and, with a bit of luck, whales and dolphins may be seen from the boats offering excursions.
Religion: more than 70 % of people in New Zealand are Christian with 24% of no confession. There is also a minority of Jews, Buddhist, Hindus and Muslims.
Major Cities and accommodation: the largest cities on the north island are Auckland, Hamilton, and the capital Wellington as well as Christchurch and Dunedin on the south island.