New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealanders sometimes refer to their country as “God Zone,” a rather prideful twist on the phrase “God’s Own.” But if you like gorgeous scenery and gutsy people, you’ll agree with them. New Zealand is blessed with some of the most varied and dramatic terrain in the world, from glaciers and fjords and beaches to mountains and meadows and rain forests, known to New Zealanders as “native bush.” If you’re so inclined, you can admire the breathtaking scenery while skiing, surfing, horseback riding, mountain climbing, hiking (which the locals call “tramping”) or kayaking.

And if those pursuits aren’t exciting enough, you can try some of the adventures the Kiwis (as New Zealanders are called) have invented: You can bungee jump off cliffs or bridges; paddle through white-water rapids; rocket through narrow caverns on jet boats; or strap yourself inside a giant plastic ball and roll down a hillside.

If you prefer more leisurely activities, you can still enjoy New Zealand’s natural wonders by strolling on its pristine beaches, sailing along its picturesque coastline or fishing in its crystal clear rivers and lakes.

Geography

New Zealand consists of two large islands (called the North Island and the South Island), as well as numerous small islands. Both major islands are mountainous with coastal plains. The North Island is more populated and has a warmer, temperate climate, along with vigorous geothermal areas and active volcanoes. The South Island has a more open, spacious feel with spectacular fjords, glaciers, agricultural plains, and hundreds of streams and lakes.