Positioned roughly 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is an island nation comprised of two massive land plenty—the North Island and South Island—and practically 600 smaller islands. Whether you’re in search of unique wildlife, world-class restaurants, pristine hiking, unmatched cultural experiences, kayaking in dolphin-filled waters, hair-elevating adrenaline sports or sandy, tropical beaches, New Zealand brings all of it collectively in a single unforgettable nation.
New Zealand is historically distinctive 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 first assembly between Māori and Europeans resulted in the loss of life of 4 of Tasman’s crew members and no less than one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return till 1769, when James Cook mapped virtually the entirety of the nation’s coastline.
Through the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the area intensified, and beginning within the early 19th century, Christian missionaries started changing much of the existing Māori. By the late 19th century, the Māori population was at forty percent of its pre-European contact degree, due largely to European-introduced diseases.
On July 1, 1841, the Colony of New Zealand was officially formed 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 way of the Nice Depression as well.
In more current history, there’s been a resurgence of Māori culture and several other movements geared toward promoting higher awareness of their traditions.
New Zealand is often 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 many beautiful examples of carvings and weavings, both of which typically have spiritual and storytelling significance. From the early Pākehā, landscape paintings and some Māori portraiture had been common.
One of the widely recognized cultural elements of the Māori individuals is the haka, a posture dance that entails stamping ft, rhythmic cries and openly exposed 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 interest in New Zealand’s cultural exports, the film business has seen a recent boon. New Zealand films As soon as Had been Warriors, The Piano, Heavenly Creatures and Whale Rider all loved national and worldwide 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 damaged into international acclaim, and the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords enjoys international success as well.
When Traveling around New Zealand in New Zealand, preserve some of the following in mind:
New Zealand’s forex is the New Zealand dollar. Only in rare circumstances are you able to pay with US dollars here, so at all times convert into the native currency. Most retailers settle for main credit cards, and ATMs are plentiful. Should you’re going someplace notably distant, just ensure to stock up on cash beforehand. When exchanging cash, the worst rates will likely be at the airport and in hotels. Simply withdrawing from an ATM tends to give you the most favorable rate.
While tipping’s not obligatory in restaurants, it’s still widespread, particularly in touristy areas. A 10 p.c gratuity for notably glorious 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 pointers tend to be a number of dollars.
New Zealand’s generally a quite relaxed, open and pleasant nation. Westerners gained’t come up against too many strict social customs or taboos. There are, nevertheless, subtle differences between the coexisting European and Māori cultures. Māori, for instance, are more tied to social protocols, tradition and hierarchy.
New Zealand operates on 230/240 volts. At all times check your US items to see if they’re appropriate with a hundred and ten and 220. If not, you’ll want a converter. New Zealand makes use of two- or three-pin plugs which are angled, so an adapter’s essential as well.
Public bathrooms are clean, modern and readily available throughout New Zealand. You’ll be able to expect sinks, running water and toilet paper to be provided.
Keep 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 light music over a speaker system, they allow you to lock the door at the push of a button, and the toilet automatically flushes whenever you wash your hands!
Faucet water’s clear and protected to drink all through New Zealand. Should you’re heading out for multiday adventures in the wild, use the same common sense you’d anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant swimming pools, and produce alongside your desirered water sterilization technique—just to be safe.
Named after the nation’s largest urban middle, the Auckland region comprises everything from metropolitan bars and eating places to the islands of Hauraki Gulf, the place you’re liable to see whales and dolphins.
Auckland: A ravishing city 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 because the multicultural atmosphere. (Beware, though. Auckland has been ranked one of many world’s costliest cities.)
BAY OF PLENTY REGION
Located within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this region’s greatest known for its extensive geothermal exercise, however it’s additionally 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 preserve you spellbound. Don’t miss its array of hot swimming pools and geysers.
HAWKE’S BAY REGION
Nestled alongside the jap coast of the North Island, many come for the scenery but stay for the wine. Hawke’s Bay is known internationally as the house to many award-winning reds and whites.
Napier: Devastated in a 1931 earthquake, this resilient city rebuilt in its now-well-known Artwork Deco architectural style. People flock right here yr-round for wine festivals and celebrations of their Artwork Deco history and heritage.
Black-sand beaches, revered surfing, natural harbors and pervasive livestock make this North Island area quintessentially Kiwi.