|The landscape of New Zealand|
You may have heard of the many natural wonders of New Zealand: the active volcanoes, deep fiords, high snowy mountains, ancient native forests, glaciers close to the beach, smelly geothermal areas, deep glowworm caves and spectacular beaches. In fact, there is nearly no other country on earth with such diverse and contrasting geological and ecological features, all within a relatively small area. No wonder it’s a great place for stunning film locations.
New Zealand itself has been on a long journey. Since its landmass parted from the ancient Gondwana continent 80 million years ago, many climate changes and tectonic movements have created today’s scenery. New Zealand lies not only above a collision zone of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates, these plates also subdue each other in opposite ways under the North and South Islands (the Pacific plate climbs over the Australian one in the south and gets pushed under in the north). These dynamics led to dozens of volcanoes in the north and a high alpine range in the south, a generally hilly landscape with only a few plains created from rivers. The movement of glaciers generated fiords and the sinking of whole mountain regions generated sounds and coasts dotted with peninsulas or offshore islands.
You will be able to see the resulting beauty up close, there are hundreds of well maintained walks which take you to the heart of the land.
The Department of Conservation alone manages 12,500 km of walking tracks (especially famous are New Zealand’s „9 Great Walks“ through the most striking scenery, they need advance booking because they are so popular), and then there are many more regional council tracks.
New Zealand landscape facts:
And where the landscape is not spectacular there is always fresh and green rolling farmland, with sheep and cows as far as the eye can see!
Map of the main North Island landscape features:
Map of the main South Island landscape features:
See our ebooks
Maori language course - short introduction to the amazing and unique animals of New Zealand.
Travel in New Zealand - an introduction for travellers to Aotearoa, 'land of the long white cloud'.
New Zealand animals - short introduction to the amazing and unique animals of New Zealand.