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Positioned roughly 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is an island nation comprised of two large land masses—the North Island and South Island—and almost 600 smaller islands. Whether or not you’re looking for unique wildlife, world-class eating Places to stay in New Zealand, pristine hiking, unmatched cultural experiences, kayaking in dolphin-crammed waters, hair-elevating adrenaline sports or sandy, tropical beaches, New Zealand brings it all together in a single unforgettable nation.

New Zealand is historically distinctive in that it was one of many final major land lots to be settled by humans. Estimates put the arrival of the primary Māori settlers between 1250 and 1300, and European explorers didn’t arrive till the 1642 voyage of the Dutchman Abel Tasman. The primary meeting between Māori and Europeans resulted within the loss of life of 4 of Tasman’s crew members and at least one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return till 1769, when James Cook mapped virtually the whole thing of the nation’s coastline.

By means of the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the realm intensified, and beginning within the early 19th century, Christian missionaries began changing much of the present Māori. By the late nineteenth century, the Māori population was at 40 percent of its pre-European contact stage, due in large part to European-introduced diseases.

On July 1, 1841, the Colony of New Zealand was formally shaped from the Colony of New South Wales, and in 1907, upon request from the New Zealand parliament, New Zealand was proclaimed a dominion within the British Empire. New Zealand fought in each World War I and World War II and suffered by way of the Nice Depression as well.

In more current history, there’s been a resurgence of Māori culture and several other movements aimed toward promoting larger awareness of their traditions.

New Zealand is usually the story of two groups, Māori and Pākehā (European culture within New Zealand), and cultural achievements are no exception. Within the Māori tradition, there are many stunning examples of carvings and weavings, each of which typically have spiritual and storytelling significance. From the early Pākehā, landscape paintings and some Māori portraiture were common.

Some of the widely known cultural parts of the Māori folks is the haka, a posture dance that includes stamping toes, rhythmic cries and brazenly exposed tongues. The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby union group, has performed this ritual before matches since 1905.

While there has historically been little worldwide interest in New Zealand’s cultural exports, the film industry has seen a latest boon. New Zealand films Once Had been Warriors, The Piano, Heavenly Creatures and Whale Rider all loved national and worldwide success, and the Peter Jackson–directed Lord of the Rings shot New Zealand into the mainstream spotlight.

On the music entrance, the Takapuna-born artist Lorde has broken into international acclaim, and the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords enjoys worldwide success as well.

When traveling in New Zealand, hold among the following in thoughts:

CURRENCY
New Zealand’s forex is the New Zealand dollar. Solely in uncommon circumstances are you able to pay with US dollars right here, so all the time convert into the local currency. Most retailers settle for main credit cards, and ATMs are plentiful. In the event you’re going someplace significantly remote, just make sure that to stock up on cash beforehand. When exchanging money, the worst rates will doubtless be on the airport and in hotels. Merely withdrawing from an ATM tends to give you the most favorable rate.

TIPPING
While tipping’s not obligatory in restaurants, it’s still frequent, especially in touristy areas. A ten p.c gratuity for notably wonderful service will all the time be appreciated. At hotels, it’s considered a pleasant gesture to tip anyone carrying your bags or cleaning your room. These tips are typically a couple of dollars.

PUBLIC BEHAVIOR
New Zealand’s typically a quite relaxed, open and pleasant nation. Westerners won’t come up towards too many strict social customs or taboos. There are, nonetheless, subtle differences between the coexisting European and Māori cultures. Māori, for instance, are more tied to social protocols, tradition and hierarchy.

ELECTRIC CURRENT
New Zealand operates on 230/240 volts. Always check your US gadgets to see if they’re compatible with a hundred and ten and 220. If not, you’ll want a converter. New Zealand uses two- or three-pin plugs which might be angled, so an adapter’s needed as well.

PUBLIC BATHROOMS
Public bogs are clear, trendy and readily available all through New Zealand. You'll be able to expect sinks, running water and toilet paper to be provided.

Keep a particular eye out for "Exeloo" toilets. These high-tech restrooms point out with a light if the stall’s vacant, occupied or closed, they play light music over a speaker system, they will let you lock the door at the push of a button, and the toilet automatically flushes while you wash your fingers!

DRINKING WATER
Tap water’s clean and protected to drink throughout New Zealand. In the event you’re heading out for multiday adventures in the wild, use the identical common sense you'll anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant pools, and convey alongside your wantred water sterilization method—just to be safe.

AUCKLAND REGION
Named after the nation’s largest urban heart, the Auckland region comprises everything from metropolitan bars and eating places to the islands of Hauraki Gulf, where you’re liable to see whales and dolphins.

Auckland: A gorgeous city of metropolitan and cultural significance, Auckland is a can’t-miss stop for anyone hitting the North Island. Take within the Sky Tower and stunning harbor, as well because the multicultural atmosphere. (Beware, though. Auckland has been ranked one of the world’s most costly cities.)

BAY OF PLENTY REGION
Located within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this area’s greatest recognized for its in depth geothermal exercise, but it surely’s also a site of historical and cultural significance to the Māori people.

Rotorua: Whether or not you’re interested within the geothermal activity, trout fishing or Maori tradition, Rotorua will preserve you spellbound. Don’t miss its array of hot pools and geysers.

HAWKE’S BAY REGION
Nestled along the eastern coast of the North Island, many come for the scenery but keep for the wine. Hawke’s Bay is known internationally as the house to many award-successful reds and whites.

Napier: Devastated in a 1931 earthquake, this resilient city rebuilt in its now-well-known Art Deco architectural style. Folks flock right here year-round for wine festivals and celebrations of their Artwork Deco history and heritage.

WAIKATO REGION
Black-sand beaches, revered surfing, natural harbors and pervasive livestock make this North Island region quintessentially Kiwi.
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