New Zealand is often compared to paradise. It is – as seen from Germany – exactly at the other end of the world, was predator-free before human settlement and has a delightful variety of landscapes.
Geographical location and climate
According to best-medical-schools, New Zealand is located in the southern hemisphere between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. The country consists of two main and several smaller islands. The main islands together make up an area of approx. 270,500 square kilometers and are divided into the somewhat smaller but more populated North Island and the somewhat larger South Island. The Cook Straight runs between the two islands .
The national languages are English, as New Zealand was a British colony, and Maori, the language of the indigenous people. The currency is called the New Zealand dollar. In the style of Great Britain, there is left-hand traffic on the roads.
Around 4 million people populate the two islands, the vast majority live in cities, so the rural areas are rather sparsely populated. New Zealand’s capital is Wellington, its largest city is Auckland. Both are located on the North Island.
Because New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, the clocks there work exactly differently than in Germany: the time difference in winter is 12 hours, which New Zealand is ahead of Germany. Anyone celebrating New Year’s Eve in New Zealand has the privilege of being among the first in the world to welcome the New Year. The seasons are exactly the opposite of the German ones. Christmas is in midsummer, Easter in late autumn.
The climate in New Zealand is temperate. While the north of the North Island is subtropical and has the wet season instead of winter, there are regular periods of drought in the north of the South Island . In the south of the South Island, however, it can get bitterly cold in winter. Snowfall like in Germany does not exist in New Zealand, apart from the New Zealand Alps (Southern Alps, South Island).
It is precisely this fact that makes New Zealand interesting for tourism. The country offers both bathing fun on the summer beach and skiing fun in the mountains.
Flora and fauna
New Zealand has exceptional flora and fauna. Since it was isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years and was only settled by humans very late, primeval plants and creatures have been able to survive there.
About a fifth of all plants found there are unique in the world. The evergreen rainforest is rich in species and used to cover three quarters of the area, but has been pushed back to around a quarter by clearing. In addition to native trees such as the Rimu, the famous tree ferns, whose leaves are the country’s symbol, grow in it.
The kiwi, a rat the size of a chicken, is the country’s second landmark. The brown-green bird with a long curved beak got its name from the Chinese gooseberry (Kiwi Fruit), which is grown in New Zealand. The people of New Zealand have also adopted the name and proudly refer to themselves as Kiwis.
Before the Maori settled New Zealand, there were no mammals in New Zealand except for a few species of bats. For this reason alone, the kiwi and the weka, also a ratite, could survive.
The only poisonous species found in New Zealand is the katipo spider. Otherwise, all giant snails, frogs, birds and reptiles are harmless.