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New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean comprising two large islands (the North Island and the South Island) and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is notable for its geographic isolation, being separated from Australia to the northwest by the Tasman Sea, approximately 2000 kilometers (1250 miles). Its closest neighbors to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. The population of New Zealand is about 4.5 million (about that of Louisiana or Alabama, USA) and is mostly of European descent, with the indigenous Maori being the largest minority.

The name derives from the first European visitor, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who named the place Staten Landt. This was changed by Dutch cartographers to Nova Zeelandia, after the Dutch province of Zeeland. The Latin Nova Zeelandia became Nieuw Zeeland in Dutch. British explorer James Cook subsequently called the archipelago New Zealand, the current name. In Maori, New Zealand is also known as Aotearoa, which is usually translated into English
as the  "Land of the Long White Cloud".

Locator Map for New Zealand

Click on any picture to enlarge it.

Overview Map of Our New Zealand Trip

This is an overview map of our trip to New Zealand. We began in Christchurch and worked our way through the South Island. We then went to the North Island to Rotorua and ended in Auckland.

Our New Zealand gateway city was Christchurch on the South Island. Here is a picture of a streetcar doing a city tour, and Naimah on an old big-wheel bicycle in the Christchurch Museum.

   Old Streetcar Used For City Tours, Christchurch   Naimah on old bicycle - Christchurch Museum

Sign for the Restaurant "Sign Of The Takahe"   Jerry and Naimah at the "Sign Of The Takahe" Restaurant   Stained Glass Window at the "Sign Of The Takahe"

We ate at a very fancy baronial cottage called "The Sign of the Takahe". This was one of several lodges built to assist mountain hikers. All were named "the sign of the ...". Next, a picture of us at the restaurant, and a detail of one of their stained-glass windows.

A statue of a takahe and a descriptive plaque. Once abundant in New Zealand, this flightless bird is now almost extinct.

   Statue of a Takahe Bird   Informational Plaque for the Takahe Statue

New Zealand Sheep   New Zealand Sheep   New Zealand Sheep

New Zealand may not have the icons of Australia (Ayers Rock or the Sydney Opera House), but it does have sheep, lots of sheep.

This is called the New Zealand Traffic Jam, sheep crossing a road and bringing traffic to a standstill.
  NZ traffic jam 

   New Zealand Sheep-Caused Traffic Jam

Bungy Jumping   The Original Bungy Jumping Site

Bungy jumping started in New Zealand. We visited the first commercial jump site. Interestingly enough, jumps were free for seniors over age 65.

Views of a hanging glacier (a glacier that does not reach the water level) at about 4000 feet, taken from a Milford Sound flight.

   A Hanging Glacier   A Hanging Glacier

Milford Sound  Milford Sound

Milford Sound is not really a sound at all, it is a fjord. It is part of Fiordland National Park, a magnificent natural reserve of some three million acres and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we have two views, one by boat and the other by air.

An aerial view of a hanging lake at 4000 feet, and a view of my aircraft's shadow on a sandy part of a river bed.

   A Hanging Lake   Shadow of Aircraft

An aerial view of our approach to Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu

An aerial view of our approach to Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.

Sir Edmund Hillary was one of New Zealand's most notable citizens. A memorial for him was built in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Here is Naimah with a statue of Hillary. Mount Cook is in the background.

   Naimah and Statue of Sir Edmund Hillary   Hillary Plaque

Mount Cook in the Clouds   Mount Cook

Mount Cook, the highest in the Southern Alps at 12,349 feet (3764 meters). Here we see it cloaked in clouds and in blue skies.

Aside from sheep, New Zealand is known for active  volcanoes and geothermal activity.

   Aerial View of New Zealand Volcanoes

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Here is a montage of additional pictures.

Mouse over any picture for a description. Click on any picture to expand it into a larger view.

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 tourist attraction earnslaw 'tss earnslaw'   waitukei sculpture  bungy bungee merino sheep otorohanga glow worm glowworm  kiwi takahe geyser maori kiwi