Known for its wildlife like the kiwi, a native bird, New Zealand is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. The Maori are the native people of the land, and they play an extremely vital role in history as well as contemporary life. A land of diversity, the contrast is seen in the terrain and the plant and animal life. New Zealand has a fascinating history, a rich culture and diverse natural wonders to explore.

The Country and Its Climate

The country is made of two main islands with the Cook Strait between them and hundreds of smaller islands. The Canary Islands are one of the groups of islands to the north. Australia lies to the west, and several other island groups lie to the east and south of New Zealand.

Blue Lake, St Bathans
New Zealand ToursChris Gin / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

When it comes to the climate, the weather is greatly different between North and South Islands of the country. Still, the climate overall is a temperate and changeable maritime one. The highest temperatures rarely rise above 30 degrees Celsius, and only the higher peaks see temperatures below 0 degrees any time of the year. The western side of South Island receives the most rain, and the eastern side is arid. Meanwhile, North Island has the most sunlight hours.

The Story of New Zealand

Settlers came to the islands from East Polynesia around 1300 AD. These peoples became the Maori. Able Tasman was the first European to come to the islands. He explored the area in the mid-1600s. The Royal Navy of England came to New Zealand in the later 1700s with Captain James Cook in command of the fleet. Missionaries and other settlers from Europe and North America established communities beginning in the late 1700s under British rule. Then in 1907, the country received its independence.

The Sites, Adventures and Activities 

New Zealand has many natural wonders to experience. The national parks are excellent for seeing the best of the country’s wild side. Fiordland National Park on the southwestern of South Island is a lovely place where mountains meet clear blue waters. Tongariro National Park on North Island features three active volcanoes.

Of course, some of the best ski resorts in the world are on south island. Meanwhile, North Island has some beautiful beaches. Additionally, a wide range of outdoor sports are available all over the country. People can pick from outdoor sports A to Z and find the best surroundings, conditions and facilities somewhere in New Zealand.

Cuisine and Culture

Those taking a motorhome New Zealand tour will find fast food and small convenience stores prevalent. When it comes to eating in the country, sweet potatoes are popular as are pies made with meat and vegetables. Seafood and locally grown produce are also a part of the cuisine.

The island country has its own culture. Although English is spoken, some phrases are unique to New Zealand. “Dairy” means convenience store, and a “Kiwi” is a New Zealander. “Kia Ora” is the Maori greeting for “Hi!” or “Welcome!”