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Much More Than Kiwis & Sheep!

New Zealand flag     New Zealand offers travellers the opportunity to experience an astounding variety of landscapes in a fairly small area, and the country now attracts more than 2.3 million overseas travellers each year.

    From the beaches and thermal wonders of the North Island to the glaciers and fjords of the South, from wilderness trekking to luxurious resorts, there truly is something for every taste. One of the best things about New Zealand is its warm and friendly people, and campgrounds, guest houses, private hotels, bed and breakfasts and farm stays all offer an opportunity to get to know New Zealanders on a personal level.

    With a third of the country protected in parks and reserves, the wilderness is always close. Of note, Tongariro National Park was the second national park to be established in the world, after Yellowstone National Park in the United States. As there are no dangerous animals, itís easy to stop on the side of the road, take a gentle walk down a track and leave the crowds behind.

    We invite you to join us through the pages of this Web site as we Explore New Zealand, both online and in person.

Introduction to New Zealand

    Located in the southern Pacific Ocean approximately 1,600 kilometres south-east of Australia, New Zealand comprises two main islands (the North and South Islands) and many small islands. The total length from north to south is 1,600 kilometres, and it is only 450 kilometres wide at its widest part. With an area of approximately 270,000 square kilometres, it is roughly the size of Japan, the British Isles or California.

    The Māori, the tangata whenua (people of the land) or indigenous people of New Zealand, began arriving about 1,000 years ago. The Māori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, usually translated as "the land of the long white cloud". Although Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sailed up the West Coast of New Zealand in 1642, British naval captain James Cook was the first European to claim the land, in 1769. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi between Britain and the 500 Māori chiefs was signed. This signing of New Zealandís founding document is commemorated annually on February 6 as New Zealandís national day - Waitangi Day.