With vast open spaces filled with stunning rugged landscapes, gorgeous beaches, often spectacular geothermal and volcanic activity, a temperate climate and fascinating animal and plant life, it is no surprise that New Zealand’s pure natural environment is so attractive to visitors from other countries. And the great advantage of New Zealand is there are many different landscapes, environments, and ecosystems so close to each other.
Lying in the southwest Pacific, New Zealand consists of two main islands — the North Island and the South Island. In addition, Stewart Island and many smaller islands lie offshore. The North Island has a ‘spine’ of mountain ranges running through the middle, with gentle rolling farmland on both sides. The central North Island is dominated by the Volcanic Plateau, an active volcanic and thermal area. The massive Southern Alps form the backbone of the South Island. To the east of the Southern Alps is the rolling farmland of Otago and Southland, and the vast, flat Canterbury Plains.
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