About New Zealand
New Zealand's awesome landscapes, lush forests, amazing wildlife and pleasant climate make it a haven for many outdoor activities, and a great place to unwind.
While New Zealand is a relatively young country, it has a rich and fascinating history, reflecting both the Maori and European heritage. Amazing Maori historic sites and taonga (treasures), some dating back almost a thousand years, are a contrast to many beautiful colonial buildings. A walk around any New Zealand city today shows what a culturally diverse and fascinating country it has become.
Auckland's amazing geography and warm, humid climate has inspired a lifestyle that's regularly ranked in the world's top ten. In just half an hour you can be almost anywhere - sailing to an island, trekking through the rainforest, picnicking on a volcano, sampling wines at a vineyard or wandering a wild, black sand surf beach. Auckland's layout makes it easy to jump quickly from one theme to another.
The Bay of Plenty lies east of the Kaimai-Mamaku Ranges and south of the Coromandel peninsula. It's a place of beautiful harbours, long white surf beaches and an easy going lifestyle. Everything you need for a perfect holiday is here - sun, sand, sea and a myriad of great places to eat and shop.
The Capital of New Zealand, Wellington is also a cultural centre - home to Te Papa, the ground-breaking interactive Museum of New Zealand, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and national treasures such as the original Treaty of Waitangi and Katherine Mansfield's Birthplace.
The West Coast of the South Island is memorable for its mountain peaks, massive glaciers, bizarre limestone landscapes, mysterious lakes and raging rivers, lush rainforest and a magnificent, wild coastline. It's also memorable for its people - interesting, humorous, outdoorsy types who can tell you an interesting story or two if you have time to listen.
Christchurch is the South Island's largest city. It's a vibrant, cosmopolitan place with exciting festivals, theatre, modern art galleries, great shopping and award-winning attractions.
Queenstown is the Southern
Hemisphere's premiere four season alpine and lake resort. Nestled on
the shores of Lake Wakatipu and overlooked by the majestic Remarkables
Range, Queenstown is the perfect destination all year round.
CultureEnglish and Maori are the two official languages. English is more widely spoken, though the Maori language, for so long on the decline, is now making a comeback thanks to the revival of Maoritanga. A mellifluous, poetic language, Maori is surprisingly easy to pronounce if spoken phonetically and each word split into separate syllables.
Local CurrencyNew Zealand's currency is New Zealand dollars and cents. There are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes and 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 coins.
TransportThere are four airports that handle international flights: Auckland (major), Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.
New Zealand's privately owned rail network is modern and comfortable, and the elimination of many smaller halts has made train travel reasonably speedy.
Driving around New Zealand is quite easy, distances between towns are short, traffic is light and the roads are usually in good condition.
Campervans are an enormously popular way of getting around New Zealand. In tourist areas of the South Island almost every other vehicle seems to be a campervan.
Visa InformationAustralia citizens or holders of current Australian resident return visas do not require a visa or permit to enter New Zealand and can stay indefinitely if they do not have any criminal convictions.
Citizens of the UK and other British passport holders who can show they have
permanent UK residency, do not require a visa.