New Zealand is located nearly 1,000 miles southeast of Australia.
The country consists of two main islands - the North and South
Islands. Tectonic plates between Asia and the Pacific have created
a backbone of high mountains, glaciers and fjords along the western
waterfront of South Island.
The North Island has a large number of extinct volcanic cones. New Zealand was originally inhabited by Polynesians in the
1200s and the Maori were present when the British arrived in 1840.
Today most of the population has a European heritage and the country is
part of the British Commonwealth. The isolation of New Zealand has
led to many unique species, particularly birds. The flightless kiwi
is the most well known bird. Kiwi also is a popular nickname given to anyone
from New Zealand. The population of New Zealand exceeds
4 million. The capital is Wellington and the
largest city is Auckland.
Voltage is 220-240 Volts, so visitors from North America should bring an
adapter to recharge cameras and electronic equipment. New
Zealanders drive on the left hand side of the road.
The official currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar.
New Zealand has a cool, maritime climate. Its long north /
south direction and its alpine nature on the South Island result in great geographic
diversity. The South Island is several degrees cooler with areas of
heavy rainfall and also areas that are arid. The North Island
becomes sub tropical. New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, so
November to April are the best months for comfortable temperatures for