New Zealand lies in the south-west Pacific and consists of two main islands – the North Island and the South Island. In addition, Stewart Island and many smaller islands lie offshore. The North Island has a ‘spine’ of mountain ranges running through the middle, with gentle rolling farmland on both sides. The Volcanic Plateau, an active volcanic and thermal area, dominates the central North Island. The massive Southern Alps form the backbone of the South Island. One of the great advantages of New Zealand is there are many different landscapes, environments, and ecosystems so close to each other. From spectacular alpine glaciers and massive mountain ranges to rolling green farmland and long sandy beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
New Zealand’s awesome landscapes, lush forests, amazing wildlife and pleasant climate make it a haven for many outdoor activities, and a great place to unwind. New Zealand society is diverse, sophisticated, and multicultural, and the honesty, friendliness, and openness of Kiwis will impress you. With over a thousand years of human settlement, New Zealand has a colourful and dramatic history, dominated by the relationship between Maori and Pakeha (Europeans).