New Zealand is situated in the South Pacific ocean, between latitude 34’S and 47’S. The country runs roughly north-south with mountain ranges down much of its length. There are two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, with a third smaller island in the south, Stewart Island.
New Zealand’s position atop the grinding plates of the Pacific Rim of Fire has resulted in a unique landscape and an unrivalled variety of landforms. In a couple of day’s drive, you can see everything from snow-topped mountain ranges to sandy beaches, lush rainforests, glaciers and fiords, and active volcanoes. These environments lend themselves to many outdoor pursuits such as skiing, diving, hiking, kayaking, horse riding and sailing.
New Zealand is an uncrowded country. It has a diverse multi-cultural population of just 5 million people and a rich history. Māori were New Zealand’s first settlers, arriving here about 1,000 years ago. It was first discovered by Europeans in 1642 but it wasn’t until 1769 that it was colonised and claimed by Britain. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, establishing the country as a nation.