New Zealand (or Aotearoa – land of the long white cloud), truly is one of the most picturesque and photogenic places on earth.
The country is made up of some of the worlds most spectacular landscapes, from vast mountain ranges, steaming volcanoes to sweeping coastlines. It is a natural playground for thrill seekers and adventurers and those who simply want to visit for the culture and landscapes.
New Zealand is located approximately 1,500km east of Australia and about 1,000km from the Pacific Islands. Due to its relative remoteness and being water locked, New Zealand was one of the last countries to be found and settled. Early New Zealand history suggests the islands were first settled by eastern Polynesians between 1250-1300. Over the years since, these settlers developed their own distinct culture called ‘Maori’.
The first European thought to have landed on New Zealand shores was a Dutch explorer called Abel Tasman in 1642. It was a hostile encounter between his crew and local Maori. The Europeans didn’t come back until 1769 when British explorer James Cook mapped the entire New Zealand coastline.
If you have a love for the outdoors, New Zealand is the ideal destination for you. Take an eco or nature tour, go camping, hire a motorhome and travel New Zealand at your own leisure or stroll through beautiful gardens. A small island nation of just over 4.5 million people, New Zealand is made up of two major land masses (North Island and South Island) and a number of smaller islands including Stewart Island located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The two main islands are divided by a 22km stretch of water called the Cook Strait. New Zealanders are affectionately known as "Kiwis". The name derives from the kiwi, a flightless bird native to New Zealand. It is also the national symbol. Kiwis are characterized as rugged, industrious problem solvers and people who innovate. Kiwis are great travelers themselves with many exploring and making an impact on the world (sport, business, politics, etc). Adventure sport pioneer AJ Hackett introduced the Bungy Jump to the world in 1986 and Sir William Hamilton pioneered the Hamilton jet in 1954. The waterjet is the most advanced and innovative marine propulsion system in use today. Other notable contributions include the referee's whistle, the eggbeater, electric fence, disposable syringe and the national dessert – the Pavlova, a fluffy meringue of goodness.