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New Zealand Nature and Wildlife

  • A dog on Muriwai beach
  • Alpine parrots
  • Penguins in New Zealand
  • New Zealand is famous for sheep
  • Dairy cows in paddock
  • Silver fern

New Zealanders are keen to preserve the natural beauty of their country and as such, much of the landscape is protected in National Parks. There are currently 13 National Parks across both the North and South Islands with three World Heritage Sites calling New Zealand home (with eight more on the tentative list). New Zealand is definitely the place to go to explore the great outdoors.

The three World Heritage Sites include:

The New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands: listed 1998, this area is made up of five island groups (the Snares, Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, and Campbell Islands). It is known for its large bird population, particularly seabirds; there are 126 species in total, 40 of them being seabirds, with 5 found only in New Zealand.

Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand: listed 1990, it is considered to be the greatest modern representation of flora and fauna from Gondwanaland, an ancient geological supercontinent.

Tongariro National Park - central North Island: listed 1990, known not only for its volcanic features, but Tongariro is also very important to the Maori religious and spiritual culture.

When thinking of New Zealand’s lush green landscape, JRR Tolkein’s Middle Earth is quick to come to mind. So detailed were Tolkein’s descriptions of Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, that Peter Jackson, the director of the film version, set about to find the perfect location for the films that would allow him to remain true to the books. Jackson settled on his native New Zealand creating one of the longest and biggest movie productions in cinema history.

With the diverse geographical landscapes that New Zealand offers, the entire film was able to be shot there. More than 150 different locations were used highlighting all that the country has to offer. Hobbiton was set in the rolling hills of Matamata on the North Island with the Hobbit holes still open to tourists. In the books, Sauron forged the ring in Mordor, in the film, the volcanic region of Mt. Ruapehu was the setting.

Parts of Queenstown were transformed into the Eregion Hills and the Pillars of Argonath, while the backcountry of Canterbury through the Rangitata Valley including Mt Sunday and Mt Potts became Ederas, the capital of the Rohan people. Tourists can even follow Sam and Frodo’s path by hiking through Tongariro National Park. The trilogy boosted New Zealand’s tourism by showing off its sheer natural beauty. The fact that one, small island nation could be transformed so remarkably into Middle Earth is not only a testament to the filmmakers but to the people of New Zealand and their ongoing work in preserving their beautiful country.


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New Zealand Travel Information

At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to New Zealand. 

Learn about the history and culture of New Zealand, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about New Zealand's nature and wildlife, weather, and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering New Zealand for yourself. Start exploring...book one of our New Zealand tours today!


Extend Your Stay

Consider an additional stopover to your New Zealand vacation at one of Goway's South Pacific destinations. You can choose from our selection of Australian vacationsTahiti vacation packages or stay at one of our Fiji resorts or perhaps take a Cook Island vacation. This can be done by stopping over en route to or from New Zealand. 



Book your New Zealand tour with Goway!

With more than 150 New Zealand tours and experiences, Goway’s Downunder wizards can offer you many ways to explore and enjoy New Zealand. Choose from a simple city stopover, see the country highlights on one of our classic itineraries, a self-drive holiday, a Holiday of a Lifetime, and more. We want to be your first choice when next you go globetrotting to New Zealand.

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