New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries on earth. It is a country of islands endowed with natural beauty and unique wildlife and vegetation. It consists of two big islands, named the North Island and the South Island, and 600 smaller islands. Life developed in isolation in these islands, somewhat like the Galápagos Islands, for millions of years until the arrival of the Polynesians in the 1200s. Over the years, the Polynesian settlers evolved their culture into a new culture known as Maori.
Dutch Explorer Abel Tasman discovered these islands in 1642, and the Dutch named it Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. Later in the 1800s, it became the colony of the British Empire. It gained independence from Britain in 1947 but remained a constitutional monarchy, with the Queen of England still being the official head of state.
Located in the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand does not officially belong to any continent but considered a part of Oceania. Australia and Fiji are its closest neighbors. It is also close to Antarctica.
Places to Visit
New Zealand is a tourist paradise. The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie series have made aware of New Zealand’s extraordinary natural beauty. Ever since their release, people from all over the world flocking to New Zealand.
- Auckland – The biggest city in New Zealand
- Rotorua – A center of Maori culture and home to natural geothermal activity, including geysers.
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves – Underground caves that are home to glowworms that radiate light.
- Hobbiton Movie Set – The movie set that was built for the Hobbit movie series. It has been made permanent and has become a great tourist attraction.
- Queenstown – A resort town in the South Island
- Fiordland National Park – A vast national park covered with lakes, forest, rivers, and fiords
- Milford Sound – A fiord with spectacular views located on the northwest corner of Fiordland National Park
The currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD$). An NZD is worth 100 cents. The banknote denominations are, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 and coin denominations are $1, $2, 10c, 20c, and 50c.
The value of NZD$ hovers around 0.7 to US$ and 0.9 to Australian Dollar (AUD$).
Traveling to New Zealand
Air New Zealand is the flag carrier of New Zealand. Unlike many other state-owned airlines, it is better managed and customer friendly. With a lot of leg space between the seats and great food, it is a joy to ride Air New Zealand.
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