New Zealand is a remote destination that many only dream of visiting. It is an island nation in the South Pacific and is world-famous for its natural beauty and attractions. New Zealand is a paradise for hiking, adventure sports, and anyone with a love of the great outdoors.
When it comes to wildlife, New Zealand is popular for whale watching in Kaikoura, spotting the penguins, and for its many unique and bizarre native birds. New Zealand is a distant destination that everyone wants to get right when they get the opportunity to go there.
Is New Zealand Similar To Australia?
No. The countries are around 2,000 kilometers apart and have completely different evolutionary histories and native prehistories. They are markedly different from each other in almost every respect - climate, flora, fauna, topography, and their native populations.
The only thing they have in common is colonial history and both being settled primarily from the United Kingdom. The countries are very similar politically and culturally between the majority European-descended populations - but even here there are large differences between the countries.
Snakes: There Are No Snakes In New Zealand
Dangerous Animals: Unlike Australia, There are Almost No Danergous Animals In New Zealand
Who Are the Native People of New Zealand?
The native people of New Zealand are the Maoris. They are a Polynesian population who first colonized New Zealand around 700 years ago (New Zealand was the last larger landmass to be discovered and colonized by humanity outside of Antarctica).
The Maori constitute around 15% of the population and are considered one of the two main cultures of the nation. Their culture and traditions have had a large impact on shaping New Zealand society, art, and culture.
Aotearoa: The Maori Name For New Zealand is Often Used
The Maoris are related to other Polynesian island populations like Tahitians and native Hawaiians.
Maori Language: An Official Language of New Zealand
Around a third of the Maoris can speak their language and is it one of the official languages of the country (the others being English and New Zealand sign language).
One can go to see traditional Maori performances and villages in Rotorua and at the Treaty of Waitangi Grounds in the North Island.
How Much Time Do I Need In New Zealand?
Plan to have at least 2 weeks in New Zealand. New Zealand is likely to be very far from wherever you're coming from so one should make it count. Don't make the mistake of having only a couple of weeks and thinking one can visit New Zealand, Australia, and even Bali in that time. It is better to choose one location.
Minimum: One Week For Each Island
Four Weeks: Four Weeks Is Ideal (3 Weeks Is Also Ok)
If one has less than two weeks, then choose only one island to explore. If one is dead set on seeing Hobbiton and hiking the Tongariro Crossing, then choose the north island. If one would like to see the most dramatic landscapes that one associates with Lord of the Rings, then choose the South Island.
Three weeks is a good time to see New Zealand and four weeks is perfect (although even then it is not nearly possible to see and do everything in New Zealand).
What Are Some of the Must's To see and Do In New Zealand?
Queenstown: This Alpine Resort Town Is The Adventure Capital of The Country and Possibly the Southern Hemisphere
Milford Sound: A Stunning Fjord Ubuitqitous on Post Cards Of New Zealand
Wanaka: One of The Most stunning Alpine Lakes In The Country
Mount Cook: The Tallest Mountain In New Zealand Crowned in Glaciers
Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers: Remarkable Glaciers Plummeting Down Into The Rainforests
Nelson: Known For Its Beaches, Sunny Weather, and Pristine Forests and Coastlines
The Tongariro Crossing: The Filming Location Of Mordor - Dramatic Volcanic Landscapes
Hobbiton: The Movie Set For The Quaint Hobbit Village
Kauri Trees: Massive Trees In the Extreme North of the Country
What is The Best Way to Get around New Zealand?
Public transport in New Zealand is wanting to put it mildly. Unless one is taking an organized tour, then the best way to get around the country is to hire one's own vehicle. There are many vehicles for hire for the tourists, but one of the most popular ways is to hire a motorhome (locally called a "campervan").
One of the leading campervan rental companies in New Zealand is Maui Rentals.
Public Transport: Poor In New Zealand
Tip: Hire a Car or Campervan To Explore New Zealand