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 in search of unique wildlife, world-class eating places, pristine hiking, unmatched cultural experiences, kayaking in dolphin-stuffed waters, hair-elevating adrenaline sports or sandy, tropical beaches, New Zealand brings it all collectively in a single unforgettable nation.
New Zealand is historically unique in that it was one of many final major land masses to be settled by humans. Estimates put the arrival of the first Māori settlers between 1250 and 1300, and European explorers didn’t arrive until the 1642 voyage of the Dutchman Abel Tasman. The primary meeting between Māori and Europeans resulted within the death of 4 of Tasman’s crew members and a minimum of one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return till 1769, when James Cook mapped almost everything of the nation’s coastline.
By way of the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the area intensified, and starting in the early nineteenth century, Christian missionaries started converting much of the existing Māori. By the late nineteenth century, the Māori inhabitants was at 40 p.c of its pre-European contact stage, due in large part to European-introduced diseases.
On July 1, 1841, the Colony of New Zealand Travel Zealand was officially shaped 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 Great Depression as well.
In more recent history, there’s been a resurgence of Māori tradition and several movements geared toward promoting better awareness of their traditions.
New Zealand is usually the story of teams, Māori and Pākehā (European culture within New Zealand), and cultural achievements aren't any exception. Within the Māori tradition, there are various lovely examples of carvings and weavings, both of which usually have spiritual and storytelling significance. From the early Pākehā, landscape paintings and a few Māori portraiture had been common.
One of the vital widely recognized cultural components of the Māori folks is the haka, a posture dance that entails stamping feet, rhythmic cries and openly exposed tongues. The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby union group, has performed this ritual before matches since 1905.
While there has historically been little international interest in New Zealand’s cultural exports, the film industry has seen a latest boon. New Zealand films Once Have been 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 worldwide acclaim, and the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords enjoys worldwide success as well.
When touring in New Zealand, hold some of the following in thoughts:
CURRENCY New Zealand’s forex is the New Zealand dollar. Solely in uncommon circumstances can you pay with US dollars 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 someplace notably distant, just be sure to stock up on cash beforehand. When exchanging cash, the worst rates will likely be on 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 still frequent, particularly in touristy areas. A 10 p.c gratuity for particularly excellent service will at all times be appreciated. At hotels, it’s considered a nice gesture to tip anybody carrying your bags or cleaning your room. These tips tend to be a number of dollars.
PUBLIC BEHAVIOR New Zealand’s usually a quite relaxed, open and friendly nation. Westerners gained’t come up towards too many strict social customs or taboos. There are, however, subtle differences between the coexisting European and Māori cultures. Māori, for instance, are more tied to social protocols, tradition and hierarchy.
ELECTRIC CURRENT New Zealand operates on 230/240 volts. At all times check your US gadgets to see if they’re compatible with 110 and 220. If not, you’ll need a converter. New Zealand uses two- or three-pin plugs which can be angled, so an adapter’s mandatory as well.
PUBLIC BATHROOMS Public bogs are clean, modern and readily available all through New Zealand. You possibly can expect sinks, running water and bathroom paper to be provided.
Hold 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 gentle music over a speaker system, they allow you to lock the door on the push of a button, and the toilet automatically flushes while you wash your hands!
DRINKING WATER Faucet water’s clean and safe to drink all through New Zealand. In case you’re heading out for multiday adventures in the wild, use the same common sense you would anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant pools, and convey along your desirered water sterilization methodology—just to be safe.
AUCKLAND REGION Named after the nation’s largest city heart, the Auckland region comprises everything from metropolitan bars and restaurants to the islands of Hauraki Gulf, the place you’re liable to see whales and dolphins.
Auckland: An attractive metropolis of metropolitan and cultural significance, Auckland is a can’t-miss cease for anybody hitting the North Island. Take within the Sky Tower and stunning harbor, as well as the multicultural atmosphere. (Beware, though. Auckland has been ranked one of the world’s costliest cities.)
BAY OF PLENTY REGION Located within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this region’s best recognized for its intensive geothermal exercise, however it’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 tradition, Rotorua will keep you spellbound. Don’t miss its array of scorching swimming pools and geysers.
HAWKE’S BAY REGION Nestled along the jap coast of the North Island, many come for the scenery but stay for the wine. Hawke’s Bay is understood internationally as the house to many award-successful reds and whites.
Napier: Devastated in a 1931 earthquake, this resilient metropolis rebuilt in its now-well-known Art Deco architectural style. Folks flock here year-round for wine festivals and celebrations of their Art Deco history and heritage.
WAIKATO REGION Black-sand beaches, revered surfing, natural harbors and pervasive livestock make this North Island area quintessentially Kiwi.