Situated approximately 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is an island nation comprised of two large land masses—the North Island and South Island—and nearly 600 smaller islands. Whether you’re searching for unique wildlife, world-class restaurants, pristine hiking, unmatched cultural experiences, kayaking in dolphin-stuffed waters, hair-elevating adrenaline sports or sandy, tropical beaches, New Zealand brings all of it together in one unforgettable nation.
New Zealand is historically unique in that it was one of the last major land plenty to be settled by humans. Estimates put the arrival of the primary Māori settlers between 1250 and 1300, and European explorers didn’t arrive till the 1642 voyage of the Dutchman Abel Tasman. The primary assembly between Māori and Europeans resulted in the death of 4 of Tasman’s crew members and at the very least one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return till 1769, when James Cook mapped nearly the whole lot of the nation’s coastline.
By means of the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the area intensified, and beginning within the early nineteenth century, Christian missionaries started changing a lot of the prevailing Māori. By the late nineteenth century, the Māori population was at forty percent of its pre-European contact level, due in large part to European-introduced diseases.
On July 1, 1841, the Colony of New Zealand was officially fashioned from the Colony of New South Wales, and in 1907, upon request from the New Zealand parliament, New Zealand was proclaimed a dominion within the British Empire. New Zealand fought in both World War I and World War II and suffered by way of the Nice Melancholy as well.
In more current history, there’s been a resurgence of Māori tradition and several movements aimed toward promoting larger awareness of their traditions.
New Zealand is usually the story of two teams, Māori and Pākehā (European tradition within New Zealand), and cultural achievements are not any exception. Within the Māori tradition, there are many beautiful examples of carvings and weavings, each of which usually have non secular and storytelling significance. From the early Pākehā, panorama paintings and some Māori portraiture have been common.
Probably the most widely recognized cultural elements of the Māori individuals is the haka, a posture dance that involves stamping ft, rhythmic cries and openly uncovered tongues. The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby union crew, has performed this ritual earlier than matches since 1905.
While there has historically been little worldwide curiosity in New Zealand’s cultural exports, the film business has seen a recent boon. New Zealand films As soon as Were Warriors, The Piano, Heavenly Creatures and Whale Rider all enjoyed nationwide and international success, and the Peter Jackson–directed Lord of the Rings shot New Zealand into the mainstream spotlight.
On the music front, the Takapuna-born artist Lorde has broken into international acclaim, and the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords enjoys worldwide success as well.
CURRENCY New Zealand’s currency is the New Zealand dollar. Solely in rare circumstances can you pay with US dollars right here, so all the time convert into the local currency. Most retailers settle for major credit cards, and ATMs are plentiful. When you’re going somewhere notably distant, just make sure that to stock up on cash beforehand. When exchanging cash, the worst rates will doubtless be at the airport and in hotels. Simply withdrawing from an ATM tends to give you the most favorable rate.
TIPPING While tipping’s not necessary in restaurants, it’s nonetheless common, especially in touristy areas. A 10 p.c gratuity for notably excellent service will all the time be appreciated. At hotels, it’s considered a pleasant gesture to tip anyone carrying your bags or cleaning your room. The following tips tend to be a number of dollars.
PUBLIC BEHAVIOR New Zealand’s generally a fairly relaxed, open and pleasant nation. Westerners gained’t come up in opposition to too many strict social customs or taboos. There are, however, subtle differences between the coexisting European and Māori cultures. Māori, for example, are more tied to social protocols, tradition and hierarchy.
ELECTRIC CURRENT New Zealand operates on 230/240 volts. All the time check your US items to see if they’re suitable with 110 and 220. If not, you’ll need a converter. New Zealand uses - or three-pin plugs that are angled, so an adapter’s vital as well.
PUBLIC BATHROOMS Public loos are clean, modern and readily available throughout New Zealand. You can anticipate sinks, running water and bathroom paper to be provided.
Hold a particular eye out for "Exeloo" toilets. These high-tech restrooms point out with a light if the stall’s vacant, occupied or closed, they play mild music over a speaker system, they mean you can lock the door at the push of a button, and the bathroom automatically flushes once you wash your palms!
DRINKING WATER Tap water’s clear and protected to drink throughout New Zealand. If you happen to’re heading out for multiday adventures in the wild, use the same common sense you would anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant pools, and produce along your preferred water sterilization technique—just to be safe.
AUCKLAND REGION Named after the nation’s largest urban middle, the Auckland region contains everything from metropolitan bars and eating places to the islands of Hauraki Gulf, where you’re liable to see whales and dolphins.
Auckland: A fantastic city of metropolitan and cultural significance, Auckland is a can’t-miss stop for anybody hitting the North Island. Take in the Sky Tower and gorgeous harbor, as well because the multicultural atmosphere. (Beware, though. Auckland has been ranked one of the world’s costliest cities.)
BAY OF PLENTY REGION Situated within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this region’s finest known for its in depth geothermal activity, however it’s additionally a site of historical and cultural significance to the Māori people.
Rotorua: Whether you’re interested in the geothermal exercise, trout fishing or Maori culture, Rotorua will maintain you spellbound. Don’t miss its array of sizzling pools and geysers.
HAWKE’S BAY REGION Nestled alongside the eastern coast of the North Island, many come for the scenery but stay for the wine. Hawke’s Bay is known internationally as the home to many award-winning reds and whites.
Napier: Devastated in a 1931 earthquake, this resilient city rebuilt in its now-famous Art Deco architectural style. Folks flock right here 12 months-spherical for wine festivals and celebrations of their Artwork Deco history and heritage.
WAIKATO REGION Black-sand beaches, revered surfing, pure harbors and pervasive livestock make this North Island area quintessentially Kiwi.