Useful information on New Zealand, including all the things you need to know to organize a trip or vacation in this archipelago of Oceania bathed by the Pacific Ocean.
New Zealand in a nutshell
- Capital: Wellington
- Area in sq km: 267,844
- Population: 4,248,572 (2007)
- Religion: the main group is Protestant, followed by the Catholic group.
Where is it
New Zealand, located almost exactly at the geographical antipodes of Italy, is a state of Oceania and an archipelago located in the southern Pacific Ocean.
Geography and territory
The archipelago of New Zealand is made up of two large islands, North Island and South Island separated by the Cook Strait, and by numerous smaller islands: Stewart, third largest island, Chatham, Kermadec, Three Kings, Auckland, Campbell, islands of the antipodes, Bounty, Snares, Solander. The northern island, smaller and more populated than the southern one, is occupied in the central part by a plateau full of volcanoes, geysers, thermal springs, sulphates and fumaroles. The highest still active volcano on the north island is Ruapehu, m. 2797. The southern island, mostly uninhabited, is crossed along the west coast by the chain of the New Zealand Alps, whose highest peak is Mount Cook, with its 3764 m. On these hills there are suggestive glaciers, which descend almost to the sea making their way through the forests. There are numerous protected areas in the form of a national park. On the eastern side, the Alps gently slope down to the coastal plain of Canterbury.
The waterways of New Zealand are numerous, short and of high flow. The Waikato River is the longest, it comes out of Lake Taupo and flows into the Tasman Sea, crossing one of the most fertile and economically important region of the North Island. Lake Taupo, of volcanic origin, is the largest in the country, the surrounding area is the center of the ancient indigenous culture of the Maori. On the South Island the longest river is the Clutha.
In New Zealand the seasons are reversed compared to ours, the hottest month is January and the coldest month is July. Due to the latitude and influence of the ocean, the climate is temperate-oceanic; the heat is not suffocating and the cold is not rigid, the wind often blows and the climate changes rapidly. Precipitation is abundant, especially on the western slopes of the hills, while the eastern slope, on the South Island, is drier. The North Island is warmer than the South Island, since being in the southern hemisphere, the temperature decreases moving towards the south.
The majority of New Zealand's population is of European origin (approx. 83%), mainly British; the remainder is made up of the people who originally inhabited these islands, the Maori, (approx. 9%) and minorities from other Pacific islands and Asia.
The time difference between New Zealand and Italy is 11 hours ahead. When daylight saving time is in effect in New Zealand, the difference is 12 hours ahead, when daylight saving time is in effect in Italy the difference is 10 hours ahead.
In New Zealand the official languages are English and Maori.
New Zealand's economy is very open and competitive on the global market. The country's activities are largely linked to the export of products from agriculture, sheep and cattle breeding, fishing, forestry. Two thirds of GDP come from the service sector, which includes trade, transport, communication, finance, software, scientific services, education. A very important item is represented by tourism. In addition, the country has important energy sources, geothermal energy, natural gas deposits and hydroelectric plants.
When to go
The best time to visit New Zealand is during the southern summer, our winter, from December to March.
To enter New Zealand you need a passport with a residual validity of at least three months, and you must have a return or onward travel ticket. For Italian citizens the tourist visa is not necessary for stays of less than 90 days.Recommended readings
- New Zealand: useful information
- New Zealand: what to see among breathtaking landscapes
- The international prefix for calling from Italy to New Zealand is: 0064
- The international dialing code for calling from New Zealand to Italy is: 0039
There are public telephones that work with prepaid cards that can be easily found on site at information centers, hotels and supermarkets.
The electrical current in New Zealand is 230 V 50 Hz. Type I socket.
The official currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar.The most popular credit cards are normally accepted, excluding a few small shops, and ATMs are also easily found. Banks offer internet and telephone services.
How to get
From Italy it is possible to reach New Zealand via the United States or via Asia or Australia. The flag carrier of New Zealand is Air New Zealand. As for the Asian route, it is operated by various airlines, including Cathay Pacific, while the Qantas company operates on the Australian route. Flights depart from the European airports of Frankfurt, London and Paris. In New Zealand, international airports are located in Auckland, (intercontinental airport), Wellington and Christchurch, on the South Island.