- Beware of thieves 5. National sports
- The best way to get there and get around 6. The first inhabitants
- A beautiful but dangerous land 7. Attractions for fantasy book fans
- Weather watching 8. Once safe, now endangered
A. New Zealand is an island country. Cruises to New Zealand are a perfect way to explore over 15,000 km of coastline and to enjoy the spectacular landscapes this diverse country has to offer. Cruising to New Zealand is a well-established tradition. Until the 1960s, it was the only way to arrive in the country.
B. The climate is pleasant in all seasons, though it’s rather windy. Wellington, the country’s capital, is known as the Windy City. The strongest winds blow from the south. The wind speed and direction can be seen from the flag flown from the Parliament. A large flag is flown only on calm days and a small flag is flown when windy days are expected.
C. More than a century before Columbus crossed the Atlantic to discover America, the Maoris sailed over thousands of kilometers of ocean to settle in New Zealand. They made their great journey in double canoes. Today, Maoris make up 14% of the country’s population and their history, language and traditions are central to New Zealand’s identity.
D. Before humans settled in New Zealand, it had an incredible variety of birds. As they had no natural enemies to fly away from, wings became unnecessary for some birds. When Maori and, later, Europeans came to New Zealand, they started to hunt birds. They also brought predators, including rats. The new enemies and loss of territory led to the reduction in the birds’ populations and to the complete extinction of some species.
E. Ever since the first ‘Lord of the Rings’ film was released in 2001, New Zealand has been known as the ‘Home of Middle-earth’. New Zealand’s dramatic scenery plays the mythical world of Middle-earth on the big screen in both ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies. More than 250 places throughout the country were used as locations for the films, which made New Zealand the greatest destination for Tolkien enthusiasts.
F. Auckland is the largest city, and is sometimes called the ‘crime capital’ of the country. Violent crime is not common in New Zealand, but minor crimes are committed there quite often. A major problem is theft, primarily from cars -travellers should avoid leaving valuables in vehicles, no matter where they are parked. Actually, according to criminal statistics, tourist parking areas and car parks are the worst places.
G. Auckland’s diverse landscapes provide countless opportunities to be impressed: rainforests and black sand beaches, picturesque country gardens and calm bays. However, this region is spotted with 48 volcanic cones. Rangitoto Island, just a 25-minute ferry ride from Auckland, is the region’s most iconic volcano and a favourite day trip destination for visitors. But who knows when the trip might be interrupted?