New Zealand occupies two large islands in the Pacific Ocean, which are designated South and North. In addition to them, the state owns about 700 small islands. The country is very far from Europe, which causes its isolation from the rest of the world. The islands of New Zealand are neighboring with Australia. They are separated by the Tasman Sea. The nearest countries are also Fiji, Tonga and New Caledonia.
Brief characteristics of New Zealand
The area of the country exceeds 268,670 square kilometers (including all incoming islands). The city of Wellington is considered to be the capital. The population of New Zealand is only 4,414,400 people. The state languages are Maori and English.
In the past centuries the lands of the country were inhabited by tribes of Moriori and Maori (Polynesian peoples). Europeans appeared on the islands of New Zealand in 1642. They were members of Abel Tasman’s expedition. However, the development of the territories began only a century later. The arrival of James Cook to the islands is considered the beginning of this process. Later, the strait between the South and North Islands was named after him.
The largest islands of New Zealand are Kermadec, Auckland, Stewart, Antipodes, Campbell, the Bounty Islands, etc. The coastline of the state stretches for 15,134 km. The largest island of the country is considered to be the South Island with an area of 151,215 km. Through it pass the Southern Alps mountains with a maximum point of 3754 meters – Mount Cook. Western areas of New Zealand have fjords, glaciers and bays. The eastern parts are covered by plains with agricultural land.
The South Island is labeled by locals as the mainland because of its vast area. If we consider the smaller islets, the largest of them is Stewart and the most densely populated is Weihek. The islands outside the main archipelago also belong to New Zealand. Only the Chatham Islands have a permanent population.
The country’s two main islands have a heterogeneous climate. The northern island is influenced by a mild subtropical climate. The southern island is located in the temperate zone, so it is much cooler. The plains of this island are protected from the western winds by the ridge of the Southern Alps. The small islands of New Zealand are characterized by the weather conditions of the tropics, as they are affected by the warm East Australian Current. There is little rainfall during the summer period. The average annual temperature on the North Island is about +16 degrees Celsius and on the South Island it is just above +10 degrees Celsius. Winter in the Southern Hemisphere falls in the months of July, June and August. July is considered to be the coldest month in the country. It is very cold in the mountainous areas at this time. The warmest months are February and January.