Home to 40 million sheep and 4 million people, New Zealand has long been overshadowed by its larger and more powerful neighbor, Australia. However, with the release of the Lord of the Rings movies, the country has enjoyed renewed popularity. All sheep jokes aside, New Zealand is home to amazing, awe-inspiring beauty, especially on the remote South Island. No longer a mere stopover for those on the their way to and from Australia, New Zealand is attracting visitors in its own right: ten percent of all jobs are within the tourism industry.
New Zealand is fraught with distinctions: it was the first country to allow women to vote, Wellington is the southernmost capital in the world, and New Zealand is the first nation to see each new day. The native people are the Maori, and comprise about 9% of the population. The Kiwi bird (not to be confused with the fruit) is a national symbol, as is the silver fern donned on the jersey of the popular rugby team, the All Blacks. Earth's oldest exposed surface is the South Island. The common greeting is Hello. The New Zealand dollar is the currency.
Unless you plan on taking an outrigger canoe to New Zealand, chances are that you will arrive in the country by flying to Auckland. Here is a great place to start your search for airline tickets to New Zealand.
Where to stay
It should come as no surprise that there are loads of hotels in New Zealand. They tend to be a bit more expensive than most people expect, but at least quality is high and rooms tend not to be tiny like in Europe. Since so many backpackers travel around the country there are also plenty of hostels in New Zealand for those on a tighter budget or those just wanting to make a few friends while on their trip.
With its amazing geography, New Zealand lends itself to adventure trips.