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Located roughly 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is an island nation comprised of two massive land lots—the North Island and South Island—and almost 600 smaller islands. Whether or not you’re looking for unique wildlife, world-class restaurants, pristine hiking, unmatched cultural experiences, kayaking in dolphin-filled waters, hair-elevating adrenaline sports or sandy, tropical beaches, New Zealand brings it all collectively in one unforgettable nation.

New Zealand is historically distinctive in that it was one of many final main land masses 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 first meeting between Māori and Europeans resulted within the dying of 4 of Tasman’s crew members and a minimum of one injured Māori, and Europeans didn’t return till 1769, when James Cook mapped virtually the whole thing of the nation’s coastline.

Via the whaling and trading industries, European exploration of the realm intensified, and starting in the early nineteenth century, Christian missionaries started changing much of the existing Māori. By the late 19th century, the Māori population was at 40 % of its pre-European contact degree, due largely to European-introduced diseases.

On July 1, 1841, the Colony of New Zealand was formally formed 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 both World War I and World War II and suffered via the Nice Despair as well.

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

New Zealand is commonly the story of two groups, Māori and Pākehā (European tradition within New Zealand), and cultural achievements are no exception. Within the Māori tradition, there are lots of beautiful examples of carvings and weavings, both of which usually have spiritual and storytelling significance. From the early Pākehā, panorama paintings and some Māori portraiture had been common.

One of the most widely known cultural parts of the Māori folks is the haka, a posture dance that includes stamping feet, rhythmic cries and overtly uncovered tongues. The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby union staff, has performed this ritual before matches since 1905.

While there has historically been little international curiosity in New Zealand’s cultural exports, the film trade has seen a recent boon. New Zealand films As soon as Have been Warriors, The Piano, Heavenly Creatures and Whale Rider all loved nationwide and international success, and the Peter Jackson–directed Lord of the Rings shot New Zealand into the mainstream spotlight.

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

When traveling in New Zealand, preserve a number of the following in mind:

CURRENCY
New Zealand’s forex is the New Zealand dollar. Solely in rare circumstances can you pay with US dollars right here, so all the time convert into the local currency. Most retailers accept major credit cards, and ATMs are plentiful. When you’re going somewhere particularly distant, just ensure to stock up on money beforehand. When exchanging cash, the worst rates will seemingly 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 necessary in eating places, it’s nonetheless widespread, particularly in touristy areas. A ten % gratuity for particularly glorious 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. The following pointers tend to be a number of dollars.

PUBLIC BEHAVIOR
New Zealand’s usually a fairly relaxed, open and friendly nation. Westerners received’t come up against too many strict social customs or taboos. There are, nevertheless, subtle variations between the coexisting European and Māori cultures. Māori, for example, are more tied to social protocols, tradition and hierarchy.

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

PUBLIC BATHROOMS
Public loos are clean, modern and readily available all through New Zealand. You'll be able Fun things to do in New Zealand expect sinks, running water and bathroom paper to be provided.

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

DRINKING WATER
Faucet water’s clean and safe to drink all through New Zealand. Should you’re heading out for multiday adventures within the wild, use the identical frequent sense you'd anywhere. Don’t drink from stagnant swimming pools, and bring alongside your favorred water sterilization technique—just to be safe.

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

Auckland: A fantastic metropolis of metropolitan and cultural significance, Auckland is a can’t-miss cease for anybody hitting the North Island. Take in the Sky Tower and stunning harbor, as well as the multicultural atmosphere. (Beware, though. Auckland has been ranked one of many world’s costliest cities.)

BAY OF PLENTY REGION
Situated within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this region’s greatest known for its in depth geothermal activity, nevertheless it’s also a site of historical and cultural significance to the Māori people.

Rotorua: Whether or not you’re interested in the geothermal exercise, trout fishing or Maori culture, Rotorua will keep you spellbound. Don’t miss its array of hot swimming pools and geysers.

HAWKE’S BAY REGION
Nestled along the jap coast of the North Island, many come for the scenery however stay for the wine. Hawke’s Bay is known internationally as the home 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. People flock here year-spherical 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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