New Zealand is equivalent in size to Britain, or California, or Japan, and 36 times less than the US, but with a population of only 4.1 million people. This makes it one of the worlds' least crowded countries.
New Zealand is located in the southern Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,600 kilometres (995 miles) south-east of Australia. New Zealand is comprised of two main islands (the North and South Islands) and several smaller islands of which the combined total land area is 270,534 sq. kms (104,454 sq. mls).
New Zealand’s geography includes spectacular landscapes incorporating the vast mountain chain of the Southern Alps (larger than the French, Austrian and Swiss Alps combined), the volcano region of the North Island, fiords, glaciers, lakes, rainforests and extensive grassy plains.
New Zealand has diverse scenery and beautiful beaches - more than 15,000 kilometres of them! With stunning mountains, lakes and glacers, it is a scenically breathtaking.
New Zealand experiences summer from December – February, and winter from June – August. The climate is temperate with little extreme. Any huge variations in temperature can be accounted for by the combination of the mountainous geography and prevailing westerly winds. The average temperature in Auckland during mid summer is 24 degreesC, and in winter 15 degrees C. Auckland boasts more than 2,000 hours of sunshine per year.
You rarely need a coat, even in mid winter. (unless you are going ski-ing!) An umbrella and light jacket are useful accessories at any time of the year.
South Island has more extreme temperatures, with hot summers and cold, frosty winters.
The air is clean and free of smog or pollution providing a healthy atmosphere and beautiful clear blue skies.