New Zealand Geography and Climate

New Zealand or “Aotearoa” as it is called in their dialect by the Maori – the indigenous inhabitants of the country, which means “Land of the Long White Cloud”. Concern for natural wealth here is literally elevated to the rank of religion, which allows you to enjoy the local landscapes almost in their original form. Small British-style towns are combined with majestic snowy peaks, mud lakes and geysers – with sandy beaches and turquoise waters of the ocean. And in the character of the locals, friendliness and English courtesy are combined with determination and almost reckless courage, without which New Zealand would never have succeeded in becoming the world center of extreme sports.

The best time to visit the country for sightseeing purposes,

The ski season in New Zealand starts in June and ends in October.

For diving, New Zealand is open all year round, but each season has its own characteristics. From January to April – water temperature +20+23, visibility 20 m. From May to September, visibility up to 30 m, but the temperature drops to +15+17 degrees. From September to January the water is warm, but visibility is worse. But at this time you can see a large number of fish.

New Zealand has two official languages – English and Maori.

Geography in New Zealand

According to top-engineering-schools, New Zealand consists of two large islands – North and South, as well as several dozen small ones located off their coast.

By European standards, New Zealand is a fairly large country. It occupies an area similar in size to Japan and larger than Great Britain or Italy. Like the latter, its outlines on the map are similar to a boot, with the only difference being that the New Zealand boot is turned upside down and its top is torn off (Cook Strait). The distance between the southernmost and northernmost points of New Zealand is 1600 km. Any point on the map of New Zealand is no more than 120 km away from the ocean coast.

New Zealand’s terrain is best known for its mountainous character. The picturesque Southern Alps, located on the South Island, reach the height of the regions of eternal ice and have numerous glaciers. They include 19 peaks, the height of which exceeds 3000 m. The highest point in the country – Mount Cook (majors call it Aoraki), rises to 3754 meters. The most remarkable area of the North Island is the Volcanic Plateau, which is, as it were, a reserve of modern volcanism. There are geysers, mud volcanoes, hot springs and even a group of active volcanoes, periodically showing quite violent activity.

Numerous lakes are located on both islands. The largest lakes of the North Island are located on the volcanic central plateau, while the lakes of the South Island are of glacial origin and are located in a beautiful mountainous landscape.

Since New Zealand belongs to the islands that are part of the famous Pacific “volcanic ring”, seismic activity is manifested on both islands – several hundred earthquakes are recorded a year, among which quite strong ones often occur.

Climate in New Zealand

Most of New Zealand, with the exception of the northern part of the North Island, which extends into the subtropics, lies in the temperate climate zone. The maritime environment makes the country’s climate cooler than at the corresponding latitudes of the continents, but at the same time milder – the annual temperature fluctuations here are quite small.

In the central part of the North Island – in Auckland, during the warmest months (January – February), during the day the air temperature rises to +22…+23, and in winter (June-July) – up to +13…+14. There is practically no snow here, as well as throughout the island, with the exception of the tops of volcanoes rising above the snow line.

In the center of the country – in the area of the Cook Strait, which separates the New Zealand islands, it is already a little cooler. In summer in Wellington, the temperature usually rises only to +19…+20 during the day, and to +6…+8 in winter. Frosts are extremely rare here, and have occurred only a few times in the entire history of observations. In addition, the metropolitan area is characterized by fairly strong winds throughout the year, which significantly complicates the work of the local seaport.

The climate of the South Island is much more severe. The New Zealand Alps have snow and glaciers all year round. In Dunedin (south-east of the island), summer daytime temperatures average +16…+18 degrees, and in winter +8…+10, night frosts are not uncommon.

The prevailing wind direction throughout the territory is western, and, in combination with the heterogeneity of the New Zealand relief, this creates a large patchiness in the distribution of precipitation – on the South Island, sometimes ten times more precipitation falls on the windward slopes than on the leeward slopes (5000 mm per year versus 500 ).

Best time to visit

The best time to visit the country for sightseeing purposes, surfing and for a beach holiday is the local summer (from mid-November to mid-March).

The ski season in New Zealand starts in June and ends in October.

For diving, New Zealand is open all year round, but each season has its own characteristics. From January to April – water temperature +20+23, visibility 20 m. From May to September, visibility up to 30 m, but the temperature drops to +15+17 degrees. From September to January the water is warm, but visibility is worse. But at this time you can see a large number of fish.

New Zealand Geography