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About New Zealand
New Zealand is situated in the South Pacific ocean, between latitude 34'S and 47'S. The country runs roughly north-south with mountain ranges down much of its length. Its two main islands cover 266,200 sq km (103,735 sq miles), about the size of Japan or California and slightly larger than Great Britain.
Comparable in size and/or shape to Great Britain, Colorado and Japan, New Zealand has a population of only 4 million - making it one of the world's least crowded countries. It is a haven for those seeking peace, rejuvenation and relaxation as well as a playground for thrillseekers and adventurers. A temperate climate with relatively small seasonal variation makes it a year-round holiday destination.
New Zealand's spectacularly beautiful landscape includes vast mountain chains, steaming volcanoes, sweeping coastlines, deeply indented fiords, and lush rainforests.
New Zealand's separation from other land masses for more than 100 million years has allowed many ancient plants and animals to survive and evolve in isolation. Complementing our unique flora and fauna is a landscape that contains an unrivalled variety of landforms. In a couple of days' drive it is possible to see everything from mountain ranges to sandy beaches, lush rainforests, glaciers and fiords and active volcanoes.
Auckland, New Zealand's largest and most cosmopolitan city, is a great starting point for exploring the north of the country. Known as the "City of Sails" for its numerous yachts, and with its beautiful harbour and sandy beaches, Auckland is at its prime in the summer. Auckland's Sky Tower is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere.
Wellington is the capital city, and is located at the southern tip of the North Island. Increasingly referred to by locals as "Wellywood" due to the huge success of film director Peter Jackson [Lord of the Rings Trilogy], Wellington regularly plays host to international films stars. The capital also boasts a symphony orchestra, opera house, several live theatres, the excellent Embassy Cinema and the national museum Te Papa. There are also regular daily ferry services to the South Island.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and is often called the "Garden City". It is most likely the most European of New Zealand's cities. Many activities can be organized from here. Trekking to Mount Cook is just one of the many things you can do.
Districts in the North Island:
Districts in the South Island: