New Zealand nature experiences are among the most memorable in the world. View information on the unique flora and fauna, climate and geography.

New Zealand Nature

New Zealand's Natural Heritage

What makes New Zealand's natural heritage so special?

Underlying New Zealand's physical attractions--its dramatic mountains, unpolluted beaches and green countryside--is an epic survival story of unique plants and animals.

Urupukapuka Island, Bay Of Islands

Cast adrift from the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland, these ancient species evolved in isolation and struggled to survive in what renowned naturalist David Bellamy has called 'Moa's Ark' (named after New Zealand's native, but now extinct, giant flightless bird, the moa).

After only 1000 years of human settlement New Zealand has lost many native species. But impressive gains have been made in recent times to protect and enhance what is left. These include removing introduced pests from island wildlife sanctuaries, the establishment of 13 national parks, three maritime parks, two world heritage areas, hundreds of nature reserves and ecological areas, a network of marine reserves and wetlands, and protection for special rivers and lakes.

In total, around 30 percent of New Zealand's land area is protected conservation land.

In addition, research and management programmes have been introduced to aid the recovery of rare and endangered species like kakapo, kokako, kiwi and tuatara.

New Zealand welcomes everyone to experience and discover its unique and precious natural heritage. We ask only that you make as little impact as possible, so future generations may also enjoy it as you do.

Fauna (wildlife)

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Kiwi Encounter
Kiwi Encounter
Photographer: Chris McLennan
(www.cmphoto.co.nz)

New Zealand is a land of unique birds. The best known is the flightless kiwi, New Zealand's unofficial national symbol. Also flightless are the weka and the endangered kakapo, the world's largest parrot which can just scramble up into shrubs and small trees.

Unique flightless birds, the world's heaviest insect and a 'living dinosaur'. Eighty million years of isolation in a time capsule--the unique native wildlife of New Zealand...(more)

Flora (plants)

In spite of around 1000 years of native bush clearance by humans, about a quarter of the country still remains forested--mostly in high country areas. Most of these remaining areas are protected from exploitation in national and forest parks, where they can be enjoyed by all.

The characteristic New Zealand forest is a temperate, evergreen rain forest with giant tree ferns, vines and epiphytes--looking a bit like the popular image of a jungle. The giant kauri, among the largest trees in the world, is now restricted to relatively small forest pockets in Northland and on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Whether you spend time in the wilderness areas of National Parks or lovingly manicured private gardens, you'll find an abundance of fascinating native plans found nowhere else on earth but New Zealand...(more)

Geography and Geology (land)

New Zealand is situated in the South Pacific ocean, between latitude 34'S and 47'S. The country runs roughly north-south with mountain ranges down much of its length. Its two main islands (North and South) cover 266,200 square kilometres (103,735 square miles), about the size of Japan or California and slightly larger than Great Britain.

New Zealand has a stunning variety of landforms--from spectacular alpine glaciers and massive mountain ranges to rolling green farmland and long sandy beaches...(more)

Weather, Climate, Season and Temperature

New Zealand has mild temperatures, high rainfall, and lots of sunshine. You can also enjoy hot summers, beautiful spring and autumn colours, and crisp winter snow...(more)

Protecting Nature

New Zealand Tourism Guide acknowleges the great work done by "Goodnature" for their efforts in control and erroadication of noxious pests such as opossums, stoats, mice and rats.

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