NEW ZEALAND

POP: 4.8 MILLION

AREA: 268,021 km²

GPS: 40.9006° S, 174.8860° E

CUR: New Zealand Dollar

New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. Capital Wellington, on the North Island, is home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the expansive national museum.

 

Wellington’s (population 419,000) dramatic Mt. Victoria, along with the South Island’s Fiordland and Southern Lakes, stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s "Lord of the Rings" films. It is some of the most compact amazing scenery in the world.  Whether you're there in summer or winter, it has amazing views, pretty much anywhere you drive. From the giant clipped hedge trees that line paddocks and properties on farms through to snow capped mountains. It is simply amazing.

About 14,000 earthquakes occur in and around the country each year, of which between 150 and 200 are big enough to be felt.  After a series of earthquakes rocked the Canterbury Region in 2010 and 2011, one killing 185 people, Christchurch (the country's 3rd biggest city (population 405,000), has practically been rebuilt to be one of the most modern cities of the 21st century.  The earthquake on Tuesday February 22, 2011 was among the strongest ever recorded globally in an urban area.  The city's iconic ChristChurch Cathedral was severely damaged and lost its spire.  Following the earthquakes over 1,500 buildings in the city were demolished or partly demolished.

The country's largest city Auckland (population of 1.63m) , is based around 2 large harbours and is in the north of New Zealand’s North Island. In the centre, the iconic Sky Tower has views of Viaduct Harbour, which is full of superyachts and lined with bars and cafes. Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, is based around an extinct volcano and home to the formal Wintergardens. Near Downtown, Mission Bay Beach has a seaside promenade.