New Zealand is an island country in the South Pacific, the south, westernmost part of Polynesia. New Zealand is a remote land—one of the last sizable territories suitable for habitation to be populated and settled—and lies more than 1,000 miles southeast of Australia. New Zealand is comprised of two main islands—the North and the South Islands, as well as a number of small islands, some of them hundreds of miles from the main group. The capital city is Wellington, and the largest urban area is Auckland. Both are located on the North Island. New Zealand administers the South Pacific island group of Tokelau and claims a section of the Antarctic continent. Niue and the Cook Islands are self-governing states in free association with New Zealand. (You may recall an article I submitted from my clients, John and Bethany Jones, who went to the Cook Islands last year.)
New Zealand is about 1,000 miles in length and about 280 miles across at its widest point. The country has slightly less surface area than the U.S. state of Colorado. About two-thirds of the land is economically useful, the remainder being mountainous. Because of its numerous harbors and fjords, the country has an extremely long coastline relative to its area.
New Zealand is a land of great diversity. Active volcanoes, spectacular caves, deep glacier lakes, verdant valleys, dazzling fjords, long sandy beaches, and the spectacular snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps on the South Island—all contribute to New Zealand’s scenic beauty. New Zealand is also home to many different indigenous kinds of animals and vegetation.
The kiwi is the most famous bird of New Zealand. It is quite interesting, as it is flightless, can live between 25 to 50 years, has hair-like feathers, and has strong legs but no tail. There are five different species of kiwi and, because of its strong cultural presence, the bird is continuously being protected from extinction.
Some of the top things to do in New Zealand are:
Many visitors begin in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Although Auckland has a true big city feel, Mother Nature has blessed the area with many natural wonders. Take a day trip from Auckland to see and explore a rainforest, volcanoes, and gorgeous beaches. Another option is to explore the nearby Matakana coast. Escape from the city and enjoy bountiful vineyards and wineries, a honey center, art galleries, and boutique shopping. You won't want to miss out on a glass-bottomed boat ride through the Goat Island Marine Reserve!
The Kiwi culture is vibrant and alive in the South Island town of Queenstown. Adventurers flock to this city for the chance to sky dive and jet boat. New Zealand was the first country in the world to commercialize bungy jumping at the site of the Kawarau Suspension Bridge just outside of Queenstown. Take the plunge overlooking the stunning Kawarau River. However, this city is also famous for more calm and relaxing ventures such as a thriving art community, botanical gardens, a tranquil waterfront, and a plethora of buildings and sites for history lovers to enjoy and explore.
Just outside of the Waikato town of Matamata, visit the movie set remains of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.
Visit the Waitomo Cave system in the heart of New Zealand’s central North island, which is a series of fascinating and dramatic natural wonders. The glow-worm grotto is one of the most popular attractions where visitors travel by boat into the spectacular cave guided by the light of thousands of unique New Zealand glow worms.
Much like the Northern lights, the Southern lights are also spectacular. From Dunedin, the Southern Lights appear just over the southern horizon creating remarkable reflections in the water and delighting photographers.
Described by Rudyard Kipling as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. Breathtaking in any weather, you will want to take a cruise to see the magnificent fjord's cliffs. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, those waterfalls are magnificent!
Many that have visited New Zealand will tell you it is arguably the most beautiful place on earth. Perhaps it is time for you to see what all the talk is about, Mate!
The Classy Travel Blog is a great way to educate yourself; Not only with travel tips and tricks, but also with insight on all of the Classy Destinations around the world.