New Zealand

Temperate rainforest in Kahikatea forest, South Island, New Zealand. rel=
Temperate rainforest in Kahikatea forest, South Island, New Zealand.
© WWF-Canon / Edward PARKER

Fjords, glaciers, mountains, rainforests, beaches, and volcanoes

What & Where?
New Zealand, a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, comprises 2 large islands (North and South), Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands, and a number of other small islands. It is separated from Australia by the Tasman Sea and has a coastline of approximately 15,134 km. You can never be more than 130 km away from the sea in New Zealand!

Why?
New Zealand’s spectacular landscape offers a variety of geological features, including fjords, glaciers, vast mountain chains, lush rainforests, sandy beaches and steaming volcanoes. It sits on 2 tectonic plates, the Pacific, and the Australian, to which it owes its geological activity.

This activity has also given New Zealand a spine of mountain ranges which run through the country and cover 1/5 of North Island and 2/3 of South Island. Its size is comparable to that of United Kingdom, but its population of approximately 4 million makes it one of the least crowded places in the world.

Eighty percent of the plant species found in New Zealand are native and about 20% of the country is covered by national parks, forests and reserves. Its long isolation from the rest of the world created an environment suitable for some extremely unique species to evolve, such as flightless birds like the kiwi, which is also the country's national symbol.

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