Situated approximately 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is an island nation comprised of two massive land plenty—the North Island and South Island—and almost 600 smaller islands. Whether or not you’re in search of unique wildlife, world-class restaurants, pristine hiking, unmatched cultural experiences, kayaking in dolphin-filled waters, hair-raising adrenaline sports or sandy, tropical beaches, New Zealand brings it all together in a single unforgettable nation.
New Zealand is historically unique in that it was one of the final main land masses 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 meeting between Māori and Europeans resulted in the death of 4 of Tasman’s crew members and no less than one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return until 1769, when James Cook mapped virtually the entirety of the nation’s coastline.
By means of the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the world intensified, and beginning in the early 19th century, Christian missionaries started converting a lot of the present Māori. By the late nineteenth century, the Māori inhabitants was at 40 percent of its pre-European contact degree, due in large part to European-launched diseases.
On July 1, 1841, the Colony of New Zealand was formally 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 each World War I and World War II and suffered by the Nice Melancholy as well.
In more current history, there’s been a resurgence of Māori tradition and a number of other movements aimed toward selling better awareness of their traditions.
New Zealand is commonly the story of groups, 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 spiritual and storytelling significance. From the early Pākehā, landscape paintings and a few Māori portraiture were common.
Some of the widely known cultural parts of the Māori individuals is the haka, a posture dance that includes stamping toes, rhythmic cries and brazenly uncovered tongues. The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby union crew, has performed this ritual before matches since 1905.
While there has historically been little worldwide interest in New Zealand’s cultural exports, the film industry has seen a latest boon. New Zealand films Once Were Warriors, The Piano, Heavenly Creatures and Whale Rider all loved nationwide and international success, and the Peter Jackson–directed Lord of the Rings shot New Zealand into the mainstream spotlight.
On the music entrance, the Takapuna-born artist Lorde has broken into international acclaim, and the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords enjoys worldwide success as well.
When touring in New Zealand, keep a few of the following in mind:
CURRENCY New Zealand’s forex is the New Zealand dollar. Only in rare circumstances can you pay with US dollars here, so at all times convert into the native currency. Most retailers settle for major credit cards, and ATMs are plentiful. Should you’re going someplace particularly distant, just make certain to stock up on money beforehand. When exchanging money, the worst rates will doubtless be at the airport and in hotels. Simply withdrawing from an ATM tends to provde the most favorable rate.
TIPPING While tipping’s not obligatory in restaurants, it’s nonetheless common, especially in touristy areas. A ten p.c gratuity for particularly wonderful service will all the time be appreciated. At hotels, it’s considered a nice gesture to tip anyone carrying your bags or cleaning your room. These tips tend to be just a few dollars.
PUBLIC BEHAVIOR New Zealand’s typically a fairly relaxed, open and pleasant nation. Westerners gained’t come up towards too many strict social customs or taboos. There are, however, subtle variations 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. Always check your US objects to see in the event that they’re suitable with one hundred ten and 220. If not, you’ll want a converter. New Zealand uses two- or three-pin plugs which might be angled, so an adapter’s vital as well.
PUBLIC BATHROOMS Public bogs are clean, fashionable and readily available throughout New Zealand. You can expect sinks, running water and bathroom paper to be provided.
Maintain a special 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 assist you to lock the door on the push of a button, and the bathroom automatically flushes if you wash your palms!
DRINKING WATER Faucet water’s clear and secure to drink all through New Zealand. When you’re heading out for multiday adventures within the wild, use the identical widespread sense you would anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant pools, and produce alongside your desirered water sterilization method—just to be safe.
AUCKLAND REGION Named after the nation’s largest city heart, the Auckland area accommodates everything from metropolitan bars and restaurants to the islands of Hauraki Gulf, where you’re liable to see whales and dolphins.
Auckland: A stupendous metropolis 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 as the multicultural atmosphere. (Beware, though. Auckland has been ranked one of many world’s most expensive cities.)
BAY OF PLENTY REGION Located within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this area’s greatest recognized for its in depth geothermal activity, but it surely’s also a site of historical and cultural significance to the Māori people.
Rotorua: Whether or not you’re interested within the geothermal activity, trout fishing or Maori culture, Rotorua will preserve you spellbound. Don’t miss its array of sizzling swimming pools and geysers.
HAWKE’S BAY REGION Nestled along the eastern coast of the North Island, many come for the scenery but stay for the wine. Hawke’s Bay is thought internationally as the house to many award-successful reds and whites.
Napier: Devastated in a 1931 earthquake, this resilient city rebuilt in its now-famous Artwork Deco architectural style. People flock here year-spherical for wine festivals and celebrations of their Artwork Deco history and heritage.
WAIKATO REGION Black-sand Best beaches in New Zealand, revered surfing, pure harbors and pervasive livestock make this North Island region quintessentially Kiwi.