Official Languages: English
Recognised Regional Languages: Māori
Currency: New Zealand Dollar ($)
Population (approx.): 4.3 million
Calling Code: +64
Did you know: It was one of the last lands to be settled by humans.
Places to visit in New Zealand
The bay itself is an irregular 16 km-wide inlet in the north-eastern coast of the island. A natural harbour, it has several arms which extend into the land, notably Waikare Inlet in the south and Kerikeri and Te Puna (Mangonui) inlets in the north-west.
With a subtropical climate, the Bay of Islands‘ wide natural harbour, in New Zealands’s Northland Region, contains 144 islands ripe for sailing, fishing, diving, dolphin spotting and scenic flights and is one of the most popular holiday destination in the country.
Coromandel Peninsula, North Island
The steep and hilly Coromandel Peninsula lies about 55km east of Auckland and is covered in subtropcial rainforest. The area was formerly known largely for its hardrock gold mining and kauri industries, but is now a mecca for tourism, especially ecotourism. A forest park occupies much of the centre of the peninsula, and the coasts are dotted with fine beaches and stunning views. The Moehau Ranges even have an elusive monster, The Hairy Moehau, which is quite a popular attraction with tourists.
Evidence of the region’s geothermal origins can be found in hot springs, notably at Hot Water Beach on the peninsula’s east coast. The town of Whangamata is a popular holiday retreat, and Whitianga on Mercury Bay is renowned for its yachting. The peninsula’s waters are also a popular destination for scuba divers.
The Huka Falls are a series of waterfalls on the Waikoto River, near Taupo in the centre of the North Island. A few hundred metres upstream from the Huka Falls, the Waikato River narrows from roughly 100 metres across into a narrow canyon only 15 metres across. The canyon is carved into lake floor sediments laid down before Taupo’s Oruanui eruption 26,500 years ago. Popular with adrenaline junkies, a jetboat takes willing passengers on an exhilarating journey down the narrow canyon, complete with 360 degree spins at more than 80km per hour.
Tongariro National Park is the oldest national park in New Zealand, located in the central North Island. It has been acknowledged by UNESCO as one of the 28 mixed cultural and natural World Heritage Sites. The active volcanic mountains Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro are located in the centre of the park.
There are a number of Māori religious sites within the park and the summits of Tongariro, where you can find the Tongariro Crossing – an alpine ‘tramping’ track widely regarded as one of the most beautiful day hikes in the world.
Marlborough can lay claim to starting the modern New Zealand wine industry. Here in the late 1970s, Marlborough produced Sauvignon Blanc, among other varieties, which led to confidence that New Zealand could produce interesting wine. The Marlborough wine region represents 62% of total vineyard area in the country.
It’s one of New Zealand’s sunniest and driest regions, which makes it perfect for growing vines and perfect for tourism too. Just north of the vineyards are the tranquil waterways and virgin native forest of Marlborough Sounds, and the entire area has become known as a food and wine haven and unspoilt retreat.
Abel Tasman National Park is a national park located at the north end of the South Island of New Zealand. It is named after Abel Tasman, who in 1642 became the first European explorer to sight New Zealand.
The park is beloved for its coastal walking track, huge granite cliffs, untouched beaches and water in every shade of blue and green from turqoise to teal, sky blue to sapphire. Camping, Sightseeing and Sea kayaking are hugely popular here; the sea is generally calm and there are plenty of sheltered bays to picnic in and caves to paddle in and out of.
Lake Matheson, South Island
Lake Matheson was formed by glaciation ca. 14,000 years ago. It is situated on the valley floor about 12 km from the current Fox Glacier and Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand, and Mount Tasman.
It’s probably one of the most photographed views in New Zealand, Lake Matheson offers picture-perfect reflections of Mount Tasman and Mount Cook. An easy 40 minute walk through native forest leads to the lake, where a small wooden pontoon over the water makes it simple to get a professional looking shot.
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is in the South Island of New Zealand near the town of Twizel. Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain and Aoraki/Mount Cook village lie within the park. Glaciers cover 40% of the park area, notably the Tasman Glacier on the slopes of Aoraki/Mt Cook.
The park is rich in plant and wildlife, making you feel at one with nature with over 400 species of plants, 40 or more species of birds and plenty of invertebrates including 7 native butterflies. The jewelled gecko lives in the park but is rarely seen and the introduced chamois and Himalayan tahr can be hunted. There are lots to do, and the park is popular for tramping, skiing, hunting and mountaineering.
Lake Pukaki is the largest of three roughly parallel alpine lakes running north-south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin on New Zealand’s South Island. The others are Lakes Tekapo and Ohau. All three lakes were created when the terminal moraines of receding glaciers blocked their respective valleys, forming moraine-dammed lakes.
The shores of these alpine lakes to the east of Mount Cook are laden with huge granite boulders making for an interesting scramble down to the milky blue water’s edge, it’s the glacial flour, the extremely finely ground rock particles from the glaciers that gives the lakes its distinctive blue colour.
Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. From here, you can do almost any outlandish activity you can think of – hang-gliding, parascending, tandem skydiving, white water rafting, jet boating, bungee jumping, aerobatic flights, or you could just get a coffee, sit in the park and watch the paddle steamers ply the waters of Lake Wakapitu.
The Remarkables are the mountain range that surround Queenstown. The range itself is popular with skiers and other winter adventure seekers. An alternate explanation for the name given by locals is that early Queenstown settlers, upon seeing the mountain range during sunset one evening, named them the Remarkables to describe the sight.
The journey to get there, over steep mountain passes with precarious drops and hairpin bends, is almost as much of an experience as the Sound itself. Once at Milford you can travel the length of the fjord by boat, out to the open ocean and back again past lush rainforest and roaring waterfalls, penguins, seals and dolphins.
An underwater tourist observatory found in one of the bays of the sound provides viewing of black coral, usually only found in much deeper waters. In rainy and stormy days tourists can admire the play of the wind with the numerous waterfalls. When meeting the cliff face the powerful wind often goes upward and waterfalls with a vertical drop get caught by wind, causing the water to go upwards.
Still on the south island, but further north on the opposite coast, is the small town of Kaikoura. The name ‘Kaikoura’ translates to ‘meal of crayfish’ (‘kai’- food/meal, ‘koura’ – crayfish) and the crayfish industry still plays a role in the economy of the region.
However Kaikoura has now become a popular tourist destination, mainly for whale watching (the Sperm Whale watching is perhaps the best and most developed in the world) and swimming with or near dolphins. It’s also one of the best places in the world to see open ocean seabirds like albatrosses and shearwaters.
So if you’re traveling to New Zealand, maybe to catch some Winter Sun, don’t forget to take your Mobal World Phone. If you’re heading in to the more remote areas of New Zealand you’ll need to ensure you take one of our Satellite Phones.