Auckland      OCEANIA

Mount Cook, Pukaki Lake, New Zealand
Mount Cook, © Can Stock Photo / muha04

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.


Australian and United Kingdom passport holders do not require a visa to enter New Zealand.   Visa waiver countries can visit for up to 3 months without a visa.  Refer to the New Zealand Immigration site for more information or check your specific country at VisaHQ.   For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.


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 visitors.

Major things to see and do in New Zealand:

View New Zealand map