New Zealand

Abacos

This island nation is located in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the equator. The nearest large landmass is Australia, 1,000 miles to the west. New Zealand includes two large islands that comprise most of its landmass, as well as many small islands. It is known for its extraordinarily scenic landscapes of snow-capped mountains and rolling green pasturelands. Its capital is Wellington, but its largest and busiest city is Auckland. Polynesians first settled the area they called Aotearoa about 1,000 years ago. New Zealand became a British colony in 1840. Though now an independent nation, it maintains close ties with the UK.

New Zealand is part of the Pacific Island chain of thousands of islands in the Pacific Ocean. Technically, it is part of Polynesia. Similar in size to Japan, the North and South Islands are separated by the Cook Strait. Mount Cook in the Southern Alps rises to 10,000 feet. Volcanic peaks on the North Island are still considered active although they haven’t erupted in two centuries. New Zealand is located within the Pacific Ring of Fire where volcanic and seismic activity occurs frequently. Geysers and hot springs – signs of geothermal activity - are found throughout the region.

Water Sports
New Zealand’s coastline is almost 10,000 miles in length. Bays, harbors, and inlets draw water enthusiasts from all over the world. Glacier-carved fiords are sheltered for miles inland. The Coromandel Peninsula, on the North Island, is the most popular beach area of the island nation. Long stretches of ochre-shaded sand surrounded by dormant volcanic craggy peaks and steep cliffs are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, beachcombing, sailing and scuba diving. New Zealanders are keen, serious sailors; in 1995 they won the America’s Cup from the United States. The government manages the coastlines with the environment firmly in mind; the fiords are protected areas but still are open for water sports within reasonable limits.

Rivers and lakes also offer water sports of all varieties. Lake Taupo, the largest in New Zealand, is a haven for water skiing, diving, sailing and fishing. The rivers are glacial in origin with superb rafting and “riding the tubes” float trips down the river until it runs into the Tasman Sea.

Island Diversity
The geography of New Zealand is so diverse, it’s a wonder that it’s all part of one island nation. Mountains, grasslands, prairies, rolling hills, coastlands – all contained in this one extraordinary destination. In each geographical area, the plant and animal life matches the land. The Tuatara, for example, is the only remaining descendant of ancient reptiles that lived more than 200 million years ago. Plants like the golden kowhai and the scarlet pohutukawa are found nowhere else in the world. Even the people of New Zealand are diverse; those of European descent comprise about 75% of the population. The native Maori, a Polynesian people, are the largest non-European group. Immigrants from Tonga, Fiji, Asia and Samoa complete the mix. English – with an Australian-like accent- is the official island language, but Maori is also freely spoken.

Activities
The geography of New Zealand is so diverse, it’s a wonder that it’s all part of one island nation. Mountains, grasslands, prairies, rolling hills, coastlands – all contained in this one extraordinary destination. In each geographical area, the plant and animal life matches the land. The Tuatara, for example, is the only remaining descendant of ancient reptiles that lived more than 200 million years ago. Plants like the golden kowhai and the scarlet pohutukawa are found nowhere else in the world. Even the people of New Zealand are diverse; those of European descent comprise about 75% of the population. The native Maori, a Polynesian people, are the largest non-European group. Immigrants from Tonga, Fiji, Asia and Samoa complete the mix. English – with an Australian-like accent- is the official island language, but Maori is also freely spoken.

New Zealand the Lord of the Tourist Trade

New Zealand the Lord of the Tourist Trade

Are you planning an island vacation and are not quite sure which destination to choose? Well, if you are a fan of the popular Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and if you marveled at the spectacular scenery seen in these films, there is only one destination for you. New Zealand, located at the westernmost tip of the Polynesian Triangle and just north of Australia, is the perfect place for the vacation of your dreams.
All of the Lord of the Rings movies—The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King—were filmed in New Zealand. From the [...]