New Zealand is one of a kind. For instance, its capital Wellington is the southernmost national capital on earth. A hill in Hawkes Bay on the Northern Island bears the Maori name Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which Guinness lists as the world’s longest geographical name. Around 80% of New Zealand’s plants do not exist anywhere else on earth. The nation has no snakes, but is home the world’s heaviest insect, the gentle, but fierce looking, herbivorous “wetapunga”, Maori for “god of ugly things”.
New Zealand has striking landscapes. Glacial mountains, caves, and geysers cover the islands. Isolated in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand’s closest neighbor, Australia, lies over 2000 km. away. Outdoor activities are abundant here, with skiing, hiking, rafting and bungie jumping especially popular. Bird watchers flock to Ulva Island, where a bevy of exotic birds thrive, unthreatened by predators. New Zealand’s Mt. Cook isn’t Mount Fiji, but has played it in movies like “The Last Samurai”. New Zealand has become popular for film production. The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was filmed here. For a more urban experience, visitors can visit the friendly, modern cities of Auckland and Wellington.