New Zealand : The Land of the Long White Clouds.


From a six seated twin otter plane, out of Wellington International Airport, came an exhilarating view of the glorious New Zealand coastline, spectacularly beautiful landscape, vast mountain chains, steaming volcanoes, lush rain forests, wilderness lakes and much more attractions. New Zealand is an Island situated two thousand kilometers South East of Australia across the Tasman Sea .  The 268,021 square kilometer Island nation is separated into North and South Islands. Wellington often called windy Wellington is the capital city of the country.  It is located at the southern edge of North Island.  The country with a 4.3million population has a unique and vibrant culture with eleven official languages.  Nearly eighty percent of the population are Europeans, fourteen percent are Maoris and rest are Asians and Pacific Islanders.

In New Zealand majority of the population is concentrated to sixteen main towns. The country is one of the most recently settled major landmasses in the world.  According to the recent findings the Maoris inhabited the country around 800AD.  Around eight hundred years later the Western world discovered New Zealand in 1642.  The first European to set foot on New Zealand soil was Captain James Cook of Great Britain in 1769.  Settlers from Britain started to arrive in the 1830’s, and by 1840 Treaty of Waitangi handed sovereignty of the country to Britain.  One hundred and seven years later, in 1947 the country declared independence.  Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State and Prime Minister John Key has been governing and overseeing the countries administration since 2008.

The country hosted and won many sporting events.  The 2011Rugby World Cup is one of the premier events on the New Zealand and world sporting calendar. The national rugby team, the All Blacks are well known for the haka a traditional Maori dance that is performed before the start of international rugby matches.  The country also has traditionally done well in the sports of cricket, rowing, yachting and cycling.

In the North Island of New Zealand there are road journeys that will keep you in touch with the sea every step of the way.  Touring country by train is an exercise in relaxation, plus you’ll see parts of the country that aren’t visible from the road.  Auckland is often called “the city of sails”.  The city’s landscape is dominated by volcanic hills, the twin harbors, bays, beaches and islands. Auckland is today one charismatic and cosmopolitan city.  The city is blessed with a massive racing and cruising ground that’s wrapped around a fabulous collection of islands.  Strolling through the city one can expect the unexpected and enjoy sounds of Auckland’s street musicians.

Wellington the capital of the country has a reputation for its picturesque natural harbor and green hillsides .Visitors are charmed by a city which gracefully combines eras and cultures.  The circular conical executive wing of New Zealand parliament building known as “Beehive” on the corner of Lambton Quay and Moles worth Street , the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum ,the National Library, the Westpac Stadium, Victoria University, St James’ Theatre and the 116 meter high Majestic Centre on Willis Street are iconographic land marks in the city.  The State Highway 1 and 2, Ngauranga Interchange and Johnsonville-Porirua Motorway are the main four major high ways that connect Wellington with rest of the towns in the North Island.

One can make the leap to the South Island by ferry from Wellington.  The Cook Strait ferry docks in the historic port town of Picton, where you can catch the Tran Coastal railway south to Christchurch.  At first you’ll enjoy views of the Marlborough wine area before the track turns to follow the coast.  The scenery is remarkable, with the Kaikoura Ranges rising steeply on one side and the Pacific Ocean swells washing over a rocky coastline on the other.  This fantastically scenic rail trip is one of the world’s greatest journeys across the Southern hills that link the city of Christchurch to the rugged West Coast.  The Transalpine covers 223.8 kilometers.  Christchurch called the Garden City is the largest city in the South island and perhaps the most attractive city in the country.  The city with widespread public gardens and parks with shallow river twisting though the city centre and paved walk paths on Cathedral square is a place to go for some in line skating.

The Queenstown is ravishingly beautiful to the visitors and is blessed with an ideal climate. The countless mountains, rivers, lakes, with forests are the perfect place to wonder and browse. Northland, Rotorua , Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui, Marlborough Nelson, Tasman, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago, are other main towns not to be missed.

New Zealand is a developed country with a literacy rate of 99 percent and is the greatest asset of the country with an abundant supply of resources.  The economy of the country has grown at an annual rate of 4 percent GDP (Gross Domestic Production).  The per capita income (nominal) of the nation is $27,017 in 2008; New Zealand is a developed country that ranks highly in international comparisons on the Human Development Index (HDI).  It is ranked among the world’s most livable countries in the world. The service sector is the largest sector in the economy contributing 68.8 percent of GDP to the economy.  Dairy products accounted $7.5 billion of total merchandise exports in 2007.  The three hundred million dollar fashion industry has expanded rapidly from hand full of factories ten years ago.  The expansion of tourism in the country continues to achieve spectacular gains.

The country and the people have the perfect attributes and credentials as a warm and generous host.  It is a haven for those seeking peace, rejuvenation and entertainment as well as a recreational area for thrill seekers and adventurers.

Published in Australia and Pacific, New Zealand, Places to Go

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Professionally I am a Colombo -based international affairs expert and a renowned International Editor he has published many in-depth researched and investigative features in several Internationally reputed print media publications. Coming from a background of being a, Journalist with more than 10...

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