New Zealand Travel Guide

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  • New Zealand Travel Guide

New Zealand - an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, is made up of two main islands (the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu) and a number of smaller islands. New Zealand is a country of stunning and diverse natural beauty: jagged mountains, rolling pasture land, steep fiords, pristine trout-filled lakes, raging rivers, scenic beaches, and active volcanic zones. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans.

Besides the North and South Islands, the five largest inhabited islands are Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island, d'Urville Island and Waiheke Island. These islands are one of Earth's most peculiar bioregions, inhabited by flightless birds seen nowhere else such as a nocturnal, burrowing parrot called the kakapo and kiwi. Kiwi are not only one of the national symbols – the others being the silver fern leaf and koru - but also the name New Zealanders usually call themselves.

Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, was the first European to sight New Zealand in 1642 CE. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4. 5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland. Both cities also a popular place for tourism.