New Zealand is an
island country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country
geographically comprises two main landmasses ‒ that of the North and South
Islands ‒ and numerous smaller islands.
During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of
both animal and plant life. Most notable are the large number of unique bird
species, many of which became extinct after the arrival of humans and introduced
mammals. With a mild maritime climate, the land was mostly covered in forest.
The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks owe much to the
tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions caused by the Pacific and
Indo-Australian Plates clashing beneath the earth's surface.
The South Island is famous for its dramatic landscapes and wildlife. The
Southern Alps stretch almost the length of the island, sheltering glaciers and
alpine lakes, not to mention world class ski fields. Incredible ‘sunken
mountains’ of Fiordland and the Marlborough Sounds are easily explored by boat,
while Kaikoura takes the prize for whale watching. And way down south you’ll
find the untamed island of Rakiura (aka Stewart Island), a true haven of native
Being a compact country means that all destinations are within two hours’
flight. Though it takes a bit longer, driving is a popular way to explore
because you get to enjoy the stunning landscapes that linger around every