New Zealand has always invited intrigue and enquiry on account of its distinct location and unique culture. The entire geography of New Zealand basically comprises of the two main - North and South
Islands. There are also a number of smaller islands. The proximity to the sea and the unique location has resulted in the variation in climate. The climate of New Zealand changes from cold and wet and
dry to a typical sub-tropical. The landscape of New Zealand is just as dramatic and varied. New Zealand has neighbours like Australia, Tonga and the Fiji islands.
New Zealand comprises of two distinct main islands, with a total area of 268,680 square kilometres. The other islands that are included in the mainland are:
• Antipodes Islands
• Bounty Islands
• Auckland Islands
• Campbell Islands
• Chatham Islands
• Kermadec Islands
These islands emerge from the largely submerged Zealandia continent. New Zealand has a coastline of 15,134 kilometres and the seventh largest economic zone in the world. New Zealand has no land borders!
The south island is larger and houses nearly a quarter of the total population of New Zealand. The south island is divided by the Southern Alps and the eastern side of the island has the Canterbury Plains.
The west coast of New Zealand is rough, with a high proportion of bush, and the Franz Josef Glaciers. On the other hand, the north island is less mountainous. The north island is volcanic, with Mount
Ruapehu an active volcanic cone. Lake Taupo is the largest lake and lies within crater created by the largest eruption in the world!
The topography of New Zealand is also distinct, like its other features. New Zealand lies between two tectonic plates and the associated geothermal energy is a well utilized resource. The orographic rainfall experienced has largely helped the generation of hydroelectricity. New Zealand goes on record for experiencing approximately 14,000 earthquakes annually!
The entire landmass of New Zealand comprises of seven regions in the South Island and nine regions in the North Island. The climate in New Zealand is basically categorized as cool to warm temperate in nature. The warmest months are January and February, while July is the coldest. The recorded rainfall is between 600 and 1600 mm. While Christchurch is the driest city with 640 mm rainfall annually on record, Auckland goes on to be recorded as the wettest, with almost twice the amount of rainfall.
Another feature that is distinct in New Zealand is its UV index. It goes on record as very high in some regions and becomes extreme in the hot months, especially to the north of the Northern Island. This record springs from the fact that the country has worked towards a relatively lower air pollution level in comparison to so many other nations all around the world. New Zealand's climate is largely influenced by the westerly winds that are unique due to its latitude location, the oceanic environment that surrounds it and the Southern Alps. All these features and more, add to the uniqueness of the land and its people and landscape.