Top Ten New Zealand Attractions

Top Ten New Zealand Attractions

New Zealand, Aotearoa in Māori, is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island) and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some 1,500 km (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly 1,000 km (600 mi) south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. Due to its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive fauna dominated by birds, many of which became extinct after the arrival of humans and introduced mammals. With a mild maritime climate, the land was mostly covered in forest. The country’s varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks owe much to the uplift of land and volcanic eruptions caused by the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates clashing underfoot. Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1250–1300 AD and developed a distinctive Māori culture, with Europeans first making contact in 1642 AD. The introduction of potatoes and muskets triggered upheaval among Māori early during the 19th century, which led to the inter-tribal Musket Wars. In 1840 the British and Māori signed a treaty making New Zealand a colony of the British Empire. Immigrant numbers increased sharply and conflicts escalated into the Land Wars, which resulted in much Māori land being confiscated in the mid North Island. Economic depressions were followed by periods of political reform, with women gaining the vote during the 1890’s and a welfare state being established from the 1930’s. New Zealanders enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world in the 1950’s, but the 1970’s saw a deep recession, worsened by oil shocks and the UK’s entry into the European Economic Community. The country underwent major economic changes during the 1980’s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalized free-trade economy. Markets for New Zealand’s agricultural exports have diversified greatly since the 1970’s, with once-dominant exports of wool being overtaken by dairy products, meat and recently wine. The majority of New Zealand’s population is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and non-Māori Polynesians. English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language are the official languages, with English predominant. Much of New Zealand’s culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers. Early European art was dominated by landscapes and to a lesser extent portraits of Māori. A recent resurgence of Māori culture has seen their traditional arts of carving, weaving and tattooing become more mainstream. Many artists now combine Māori and Western techniques to create unique art forms. The country’s culture has also been broadened by globalization and increased immigration from the Pacific Islands and Asia. New Zealand’s diverse landscape provides many opportunities for outdoor pursuits and has provided the backdrop for a number of big budget movies. Nationally, executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister. Queen Elizabeth II is the country’s head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. The Queen’s Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing but in free association); and the Ross Dependency, New Zealand’s territorial claim in Antarctica.

  1. Auckland

           The Auckland metropolitan area, in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with 1,354,900 residents, 31% of the country’s population. Auckland also has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. In Māori Auckland’s name is Tāmaki Makaurau, or the transliterated version of Auckland, Ākarana. The 2010 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Auckland 4th equal place in the world on its list, while The Economist’s World’s Most Livable Cities index of 2010 ranked Auckland in 10th place. In 2008, Auckland was classified as an Alpha World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory by Loughborough University. Auckland lies between the Hauraki Gulf of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the low Hunua Ranges to the south-east, the Manukau Harbour to the south-west, and the Waitakere Ranges and smaller ranges to the west and north-west. The central part of the urban area occupies a narrow isthmus between the Manukau Harbor on the Tasman Sea and the Waitemata Harbor on the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the few cities in the world to have harbors on two separate major bodies of water.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Oceanic Cities, Top Ten Clock Towers,,
  2. Te Wahipounamu

           Te Wāhipounamu, Māori for “the place of greenstone” is a World Heritage site in the south west corner of the South Island of New Zealand, which incorporates several National Parks, including; Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, Westland/Tai Poutini National Park, Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park. It is believed to contain some of the best modern representations of the original flora and fauna present in Gondwanaland
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten Oceanic National Parks,,,,,
  3. Wellington
    CroppedImage1136665-Wellington-City-Dawn-homepagelanding-Dillon-AndersonFile:Pou Whenua in Mount Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand.jpgFile:Wellington-27-05-08.jpgWellington Cable CarFile:Parlamento da Nova Zelândia.jpg
           Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand after Auckland. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. It is home to 393,400 residents. The Wellington urban area is the major population center of the southern North Island, and is the seat of the Wellington Region, which in addition to the urban area covers the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. The urban area includes four cities: Wellington, on the peninsula between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbor  contains the central business district and about half of Wellington’s population; Porirua on Porirua Harbor to the north is notable for its large Māori and Pacific Island communities; Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt are largely suburban areas to the northeast, together known as the Hutt Valley. Wellington also holds the distinction of being the world’s southernmost capital city. In 2008, Wellington was classified as a Gamma World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory by Loughborough University. The 2010 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th in the world. In 2011 Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011 named Wellington as fourth in its Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011, referring to the New Zealand capital as the “coolest little capital in the world.”
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Oceanic Cities, Top Ten Museums, Top Ten Oceanic Museums,
  4. Tokelau

          Tokelau is a territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean that consists of three tropical coral atolls with a combined land area of 10 square km and a population of approximately 1,400. The atolls lie north of the Samoan Islands, east of Tuvalu, south of the Phoenix Islands, southwest of the more distant Line Islands (both island groups belonging to Kiribati) and northwest of the Cook Islands. The United Nations General Assembly designated Tokelau a Non-Self-Governing Territory. Until 1976 the official name was Tokelau Islands. Tokelau is sometimes referred to by the older, colonial name of The Union Islands.
    Links: Islands, Top Ten Oceanic Islands,
  5. Tongariro National Park

           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. Tongariro National Park was the 4th national park established in the world. 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, including Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu, are tapu (sacred). The park includes many towns around its boundary including Ohakune, Waiouru, Horopito, Pokaka, Erua, National Park Village, Whakapapa skifield and Turangi.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten Oceanic National Parks,,
  6. New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands

    The five southernmost groups of the New Zealand Outlying Islands form the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic islands.  Most of the islands are located near the southeast edge of the largely submerged continent centered on New Zealand called Zealandia, which rifted away from Australia 60-85 million years ago and from Antarctica between 130 and 85 million years ago. Until 1995, scientific research staff were stationed permanently at a meteorological station on Campbell Island. Since then, the islands are uninhabited. The islands are: Antipodes Islands: main island, plus Bollons Island, the Windward Islands, Orde Lees Island, Leeward Island, and South Islet, plus minor rocks; Auckland Islands: Auckland Island, Adams Island, Disappointment Island, Enderby Island, Ewing Island and Rose Island, plus minor rocks; Bounty Islands: two small groups of islets, the Western Group and the Eastern Group, plus minor rocks; Campbell Island group: Campbell Island, the main island, plus several minor rocks and small islets surrounding Campbell Island, including New Zealand’s southernmost point, Jacquemart Island; and The Snares: Northeast Island, High Island, Broughton Island, Alert Stack, Tahi, Rua, Toru, Wha, and Rima, plus minor rocks. New Zealand also has territorial claims, held in abeyance under the Antarctic Treaty System, over several islands close to the Antarctic mainland, including: Ross Island and the rest of the Ross Archipelago; Balleny Islands: Young Island, Buckle Island and Sturge Island, plus several smaller islets; Roosevelt Island, Scott Island and Haggits Pillar. Of these, Ross Island is inhabited by the scientific staff of several research stations, notably at McMurdo Sound and Scott Base.
  7. Niue

    Niue is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It is commonly known as the “Rock of Polynesia,” and inhabitants of the island call it “the Rock” for short. Niue is 2,400 km (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand in a triangle between Tonga to the southwest, the Samoas to the northwest and the Cook Islands to the southeast. The land area is 260 square km (100 square mi) with about 1,400 people who are predominantly Polynesian. Though self-governing, Niue is in free association with New Zealand, and lacks full sovereignty. All Niueans are New Zealand citizens and Queen Elizabeth II is Niue’s head of state in her capacity as Queen of New Zealand. Most diplomatic relations are conducted by New Zealand on Niue’s behalf. 90-95% of Niuean people live in New Zealand, along with about 70% of the speakers of the Niuean language. In 2003, Niue became the world’s first “WiFi nation,” in which free wireless Internet access is provided throughout the country by The Internet Users Society-Niue.
    Links: Top Ten Islands, Top Ten Oceanic Islands,
  8. Links: Top Ten New Zealand Hotels, Top Ten New Zealand Restaurants,,

Recommendations for Trekking in New Zealand