We learn from Captain Cook, New Zealand has two main islands and opposite. In the north, the North Island (“Island Smoker”), with its attendant volcanoes and subtropical forests, and the South Island (“Jade Island”), a little larger, with his back to snowy peaks quickly dubbed “New Zealand Alps.”
New Zealand also has a string of hills with grazing sheep some 60 million – 15 times more than New Zealanders – and small islands. Illuminated by the aurora australis, Stewart Island and the south, already immersed in the icy waters of the Roaring Forties. The so-called “Kiwis” are close to nature and great lovers of outdoors.
Maori concepts such as whanau (family) and mana (spiritual authority) are an integral part of the system of thought in New Zealand. While progress is still needed on the social level, but national identity, half Maori half Pakeha (white) is now well established. Farewell Queen, hello Kiwis!
- Food & Drink New Zealand
New Zealand cuisine is long held the fish & chips, the meat pie and pudding landed directly in their native England. This is fortunately no longer the case! Marked by the excellent quality of fresh local produce (often organic) and mixed influences of different immigrant communities (especially Asian), the modern New Zealand cuisine can be excellent in a genre fusion sweet and savory.
Of course, in everyday life, in cafes, you can not really make any culinary orgies: In addition to the above essential, still present, count on potatoes in a dressing gown, various quiches, burgers and other fruits fried with large fries Sea.
In real restaurants is better. This is the place to go to enjoy the excellent lamb countries. Some recipes will surprise you, like lamb with mint and Worcestershire sauce, lamb and kiwi pie, hearts chops with currant jelly … There are deer, raised for export.
Meat, all genres, is often cooked, so please specify if you like blue (rare). Medium is equivalent to a “point” good point. The vegetables are served as an accompaniment, conversely, often crisp, new trend kitchen.
Fish and seafood have a place of choice, not surprisingly in a country with 15,000 km of coastline and numerous rivers with trout and eel. Oysters and mussels are everywhere in recent times as large as the palm of the hand (we do eat two)! In such local shells, we also find time to time, paua (abalone), and the Tuatua toheroa (rare and expensive). Also, St. Jacques shells and lobster (crayfish) – although the bulk is exported.
All those who have traveled to Australia or a Commonwealth country are likely to know (and hate!) The Vegemite and Marmite. Milkfat for children (7-77 years), these vitamin pastes yeast extracts (originally recovered in waste for beer …) and flavors of vegetables are not as unconditional . The second has a more pronounced caramel taste, but both are very salty. Ideally, it seems, to avoid a hangover … Unless it does give you one!
In Auckland, the variety of restaurants reflects the large number of foreign communities. Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai … Number of cuisines are represented.
New Zealanders, vehemently contradicted by the Australians say they are the inventors of the pavlova (“pav”), a meringue dessert created in 1935 in honor of the Russian dancer of the same name. Otherwise, full of fruit, which must kiwi dive the Chinese in 1904 by a school teacher. We then called the fruit “Chinese gooseberry”.
The New Zealander is primarily a beer drinker: with about 120 liters per capita per year, it is hardly surpassed by the Czech Republic and Australia!
They come in all sizes and all kinds of seven (200 ml) jug (pitcher), light blonde and refreshing with intense brown. Red Lion, DB Draught, DB Natural, Speights on South Island are the most popular. But do not miss the potions concocted for all microbreweries have sprouted like hop fields after the rain in recent years.
The wine is for an older crowd. The New Zealand wine begins to make itself known on the international scene. Fruit of temperate climate, quite rainy, whites are generally better represented as red. But that does not deter you taste them, we found some excellent, like Merlot Wineries of Saint Clair.
The two main producing regions, the sunniest of all the countries that are in Hawke’s Bay on the North Island, attached to chardonnay, and the Marlborough on the South Island, known for its Sauvignon Blanc. In both places, many areas, some drawn from the second half of the nineteenth century, are open to the public, with the possibility of tasting and cellar tour.
New Zealand wines are generally designed to be drunk young: therefore unnecessary to age 2 years your merlot or pinot noir.
- Culture New Zealand
Common myths all the Polynesian world, from which the Maori tell how the demigod Maui had fished the North Island of the ocean and how his petrified canoe would become the South Island.
Other stories describe the arrival of Kupe, the first Maori from Hawaiki, the sacred land that some liken to the island of Raiatea (near Tahiti). It was he who called this vast land Aotearoa (“the land of the long white cloud”). Soon, other men and women together: the story of New Zealand is now confused with Maori.
Historians confirm legend, placing migration to the year 1000.
Over time, the colonists developed their own social rules, their own forms of art and thought. They gather in extended families, whanau (pronounced Fanau) and iwi tribes whose common ancestors would have traveled on a single canoe.
In everyday life, the gods and their intermediaries, priests and upper caste impose their laws through a complex system of tapu (taboo).
Gradually increasing the population, especially in the North Island, sees the conflict spreading and Maori become fearsome warriors. A win is an opportunity for leaders to expand their sacrosanct mana, their spiritual power, and that of their tribe. The first European explorers are bitter experience, some of them ending at the stake (vanities) and cannibalism …
Arts and Crafts
Maori arts are those of all the Polynesian peoples, revisited by a local old tradition: singing, dancing and tattoo. Song and dance, intertwined, had (and still have to some extent) vocation as the history of ancestors, migration, the exploits of the fallen heroes, the power of mana, beautiful girls once, landscapes the strength of the gods and the fear they inspire.
Typically New Zealand, the haka made famous by the All Blacks rugby, was originally a war dance, also staged to test the reactions of unknown visitors and impress potential enemies.
You can also attend the aesthetic poi dance, in which dancers “juggle” with small balls attached to a string.
Important in the past, almost abandoned, and now undergoing a revival, the moko, traditional tattoo, is a Polynesian practice. Achieved in stages over a lifetime, it somehow summarizes the course, with its high-facts for the status of each, especially the leaders, to show to everyone. We meet again today Maori facial moko very impressive.
New Zealand film has emerged in the 1970s. It is generally credited Geoff Murphy of the first true national success, speaking of New Zealand subjects in New Zealand scenery. To its credit, the road movie Goodbye Pork Pie (1981), Utu (1983) and The Last Survivor (The Quiet Earth, 1985).
In 1987, Ngati is the first feature film to be directed by a Maori. The best known in our skies New Zealand film remains however The Piano by Jane Campion (1993), wonderfully immersed in the colonial atmosphere. It is also the first New Zealand film to be received international awards.
The following year, two other films were widely audience: Heavenly Creatures (Heavenly Creatures) by Peter Jackson with Kate Winslet and Soul Warriors (Once Were Warriors) by Lee Tamahori.
These last years were marked by the imprint of Peter Jackson, who began making films low-budget horror, before turning the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003), made in New Zealand with local teams . It was he who turned the remake of King Kong in 2005.
Among the best-known New Zealand actors include:
– Sam Neill (The Piano, Jurassic Park);
– The Canadian-New Zealander Anna Paquin, who received 12 Oscar for best supporting role in The Piano;
– Russell Crowe, also Oscar winner as Best Actor.
The history of New Zealand literature really began in the early twentieth century with two women Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923), the free youth -. Dissolute, said at the time – faded in European sanatoriums where she trying to cure his tuberculosis, really began his career in 1920 with Miss Brill (Bliss), the acidic portrait of a fragile woman living a life of simple pleasures in Paris. Many recognize it as one of the best new writers of the time.
On a completely different genre, Dame Ngaio Marsh (circa 1895-1982) worked in the theater before becoming famous for his detective novels. In the 1930s and 1940s, it emerged as one of the four “Queens of Crime” Anglo-Saxon alongside Agatha Christie. The work of Dame Ngaio Marsh is the most marked traits of humor.
The 1950s marked the explosion of New Zealand literature, the result of the rejection of formalism which was already visible before the war. Modernism and social realities become drivers of research, while finally defines a national feeling detached from Britain.
Among the first to win, Janet Frame (1924-2004) is a special case. This young woman diagnosed as schizophrenic, detained for 8 years in psychiatric hospitals, published in 1951, The Lagoon (the Lagoon), a collection of short stories whose success earned him escape lobotomy! Approached for a nomination for the Nobel, shortly before she died of leukemia. Jane Campion has adapted his autobiography, An Angel at My Table.
New Zealand daily newspaper is primarily regional, but the title of the largest cities have a fairly wide distribution, especially the New Zealand Herald in the Auckland region, the Wellington Dominion Press and on the South Island .
The foreign press is mostly Anglo-Saxon
TV side, the national channels TV1 and TV2 side with private TV3 and C4 (music), belonging to the same group, the Australian Prime and MTS, Maori TV (programs in Maori and English).
- Geography, Climate and Weather New Zealand
The north of the North Island to the southern tip of the South Island peak, New Zealand stretches over 1600 kilometers! Suffice to say she knows almost all types of landscapes and climates, from subtropical Northland embruinés often to the fjords of Fiordland.
Bathed on all sides by the Pacific Ocean, the country has more than 15,000 km of coastline – cliffs, dunes, vast and deserted beaches, there is something for everyone.
It is divided into 16 regions and one territory (Chatham Island), plus a plethora of more or less distant dependencies, South Pacific to Antarctica.
The two main islands of New Zealand are very different from each other. The North is the smallest and most cut with facing Auckland, the vast Hauraki Bay and its islands.
North of the great metropolis New Zealand, Northland darts its long and wide spur to the tropics, enjoying a very pleasant climate, sweet to the heart of winter. In December, the pohutukawa, “Christmas tree” of New Zealanders are not covered with large red flowers. The beautiful Bay of Islands, where the first English settlers landed in the early nineteenth century, is the main center of attraction. On its west side, 90-Mile Beach is the largest beach in the country. In the center, among the tree ferns, still grow the beautiful kauri, giant trees and sacred Maori unfortunately largely deforested.
Southeast of Auckland, on the other side of the Firth of Thames, the Coromandel Peninsula very wild tropical complete panorama of New Zealand. In addition, volcanic heritage gradually takes over to peak around Rotorua volcanoes, lava flows frozen, crater lakes, geysers, hot springs, fumaroles … Fascinating.
On the Pacific Ring of Fire, New Zealand regularly experiences earthquakes and eruptions. This is also a massive explosion that formed Lake Taupo, the largest in the country (606 km ²).
To the east of the island in the Hawke’s Bay, sunny, vineyards cover large areas.
The South Island
The larger of the two islands is by far the most mountainous. The hills give way to the snowy terrain of New Zealand Alps, culminating at 3754 m at Mount Cook, the slopes bristling with peaks glaciers here. Only a short northern fringe escapes the clutches of the Alps: County Marlborough, famous for its wine, and the edge of the Tasman Bay, almost tropical in the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park.
The very rainy West Coast (up to more than 6 m of rainfall in some areas!) Dru plunged into the ocean and extends south through Fiordland, the land of fjords, scratched just a single road and path of beauty. Carved by glaciers, the sounds are very deep: some 40 km to penetrate inland, others dig for 400 m. In a body of fresh water due to heavy rainfall, abound with amazing black coral bushes. The eastern coast, softer, better protected, is home to a rich fauna.
The seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere compared to ours.
Summer therefore extends from December to March, winter from June to September. The climate is largely determined by latitude: semi-tropical at the end of the North Island, where temperatures are still fairly mild (13 ° C in July and 23 ° C in February), he was influenced to Conversely, on the South Island by the sometimes violent winds from the Antarctic.
In winter, you can ski in the Alps, to Invercargill, it is not uncommon that freezes.
Frequent rainfall throughout the year.
- High biodiversity
The flora and fauna are part of the great attractions of the country. Protected by the island state of New Zealand’s flora and fauna have evolved are completely self-sufficient, giving day funny critters. No platypus as in Australia, but the moa, unfortunately disappeared, which was the largest bird in the world: up to 3.50 m high, an ostrich meat that looks and well liked Maori …
The vegetation is particularly marked endemism: 75% of plants found in New Zealand are found nowhere else. There is also a living fossil from the Jurassic, the tuatara, a kind of lizard dorsal ridge from 50 to 60 cm.
A Fragile Environment
Many animals or plants, no significant predators, have let down their guard. Some birds have lost the habit and the ability to fly, as the moa or kiwi. Number of endemic species become less combative were no longer able to defend himself and disappeared.
The natural balance began to change with the arrival of Polynesians livestock and pets, food or ornamental plants were scattered, competing or destroying vegetation and native species. The situation worsened with the arrival of Westerners who brought voracious goats, rats, flies, Australian opossums, feral pigs, which uproot the fragile plants … Introduced plants have spread without difficulty through the fertile soil, the plentiful water and heat.
Among the most dangerous, it lists three main types of vines: Passiflora, honeysuckle and mulberry. Entire forests die, asphyxiated. Despite the increased health inspection carried out in airports, stowaways are constantly multiplying.
And do not forget the consequences of human activities: deforestation, draining of wetlands, extension housing and pastures, etc..
A strange bird. Unable to fly, like many of his fellow New Zealander, Kiwi spends his life in the ground, in the bushes.
Kiwi is inseparable from New Zealand. But the country could lose its emblem: there were 5 million in 1925, they would be more than 50,000 today, victims of predators introduced by humans. 3 of 6 subspecies are endangered.
Most New Zealanders have never seen their national bird. The meeting is a privilege. More than half of the population consists of only Stewart Island in the south. With luck, you can see the kiwi day, overcast, or more likely at night on Ocean Beach.
- Health and Safety New Zealand
There is not the slightest danger from a health point of view in New Zealand. No vaccinations are required to enter the country and you will not, as in Australia, meet an estuarine crocodile, a deadly spider or spiteful shark. Here, there is not even snakes! Plan still repatriation insurance.
On site, simply to pay attention to sunburn, drink water and protect yourself with a high SPF sunscreen (even on a cloudy day), especially in the South, where the hole is approached in the ozone layer. Insect bites can be unpleasant, but they are never very serious.
New Zealand is not a country at risk for travelers. The main danger comes from the seismic activity.
We will, as everywhere, the basic precautions.
- Silver paper: it can petre useful to photocopy papers before departure. In case of loss or theft, the procedures will be simplified. Never ride with a large sum of cash on you.
- By car: leave nothing to hang inside, especially in urban areas (particularly in the Auckland region).
- On the coast, when you want to swim, beware of currents, often violent. Signs sometimes indicate, but it is not guaranteed. If in doubt, ask the locals.
- Driving: Be careful if you drive, it is not rare that you come across a herd of sheep on the South Island!
- Seismic risk: some parts of New Zealand are in a zone of high seismic activity. Before starting a hike to Mount Tongariro in Tongariro or park, or on the volcanic island White (in the Bay of Plenty – Bay of Plenty), inquire about the availability of sites.
One issue: 111, where it directs you to the appropriate service – police, fire or medical services (ambulance).
- Sports and Recreation New Zealand
More sports a New Zealander, it does not exist … All imaginable activities, and others are possible. You probably know it, but it is in New Zealand (Queenstown on the South Island) was invented bungee jumping.
The hike is in the spotlight on the two islands, in particular with a choice of nine “great walks”, the most famous, the Milford Track, between Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound. The demand is high and the limited number of hikers must book their places of refuge in weeks or months in advance. Another area of choice: Park Tongariro.
In winter, skiing is very popular. The tracks are a pretty good level, but more money and prefer their heliskiing. For an unforgettable landing on the Tasman Glacier, you can contact the company Mount Cook Ski Planes .
Other flagship activities: sea kayaking, ideal for exploring the coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, the Marlborough Sounds, Tasman National Park and Fiordland. With a little luck, you’ll even get the company of dolphins and pilot whales.
For fun, if you are in the Northland, do not hesitate to try sandboarding on sand dunes of 90 Mile Beach. We just slide all over the country on these steep slopes as on the waves.
Next small screen and couch potatoes (those who never take off the couch), rugby wins all the votes by far. I must say that nobody in the world knows almost invulnerability All Blacks! Power that some attribute to their famous haka war dance they sing before the start of each game better terrorize their opponents.
Cricket, he also inherited the old motherland, comes second and passion of racing (horse, of course) is not known.
- Traditions New Zealand
Lifestyle and traditions
The lifestyle of New Zealanders like the inhabitants of any Western country, the UK version. The French influence is obvious in some levels pubs, beer, passion for rugby, cricket and yachting, bowls, uniformed schoolchildren, scones and tea time.
The New Zealand identity is affirmed, however over time, especially since the last war and the non-English-speaking immigrants from Southern Europe and Asia. Long neglected or rejected, the Maori heritage is experiencing a renaissance, as stated in particular music and tattoo. Remains between the old, traditionalists and young Maori cities, the gap widened, challenging some traditional transmissions.
New Zealand symbols
– The New Zealand flag: blue background (sky and sea), he joined the Union Jack in the upper left and four red stars representing the constellation of the Southern Cross. Original settlers (traditions) and geo graphical exoticism so.
– The National Anthem: God defend New Zealand (“May God protect New Zealand”), in two versions, one English and Maori, has gradually replaced God Save the Queen in 1940 (it still remains the the national anthem).
- Transport New Zealand
The country is well connected by air, which is extremely useful given the long distances between the north of the North Island and the South of the South Island. Many travelers trace gradually their way south in a rental car or public transport, before returning to Auckland by plane at the end of their stay. In principle, nothing prevents the circuit to the south to the north, although the grandeur of Fiordland (the South Island) grows to complete his journey.
Air New Zealand dessert twenty destinations. As competitors are only a few short lines serving, for example, Stewart and the Chatham Island archipelago.
Note also the Pacific Blue and Jetstar companies operating domestic routes.
The two largest companies are InterCity and Newmans Coachlines (all 2 present on the two islands). The two companies have signed an agreement to offer the Flexi-Pass , which allows travel on all two networks for one year with significant reductions. The pass is charged as a calling card. Price: NZ $ 119 15h power trip, NZ $ 156 for 20 hours, etc..
There are also regional or national pass with predetermined route: the Travelpass offers bus routes on each of the two islands, and a complete route on the two islands, including boat trips (NZ $ 1219).
Also included Naked Bus , a low rate but is quite long stops along the way.
Another option: the backpacker nozzles , which offer their own pass and work a little in the way of excursions groups-tours with stops along the way. The trips can last for several days and, with accommodation provided along the way. We left the group when you want and you can expect the following.
Attention reservations are mandatory in the summer. Interesting formula in underserved areas by other companies, such as the West Coast (the South Island). This is an opportunity to meet people, but do not expect much quiet … These bus backpackers include Kiwi Experience and STA Travel .
Many small local companies offer point to point links between specific cities or national parks, for example.
The private network Kiwi Scenic Rail Journeys is comfortable and fast enough, but it is not extensive and the prices are quite high.
- The Northern Explorer line to the north, connects Wellington in Auckland.
- The Coastal Pacific, south, is Christchurch-Picton.
- The TranzAlpine, south always been Christchurch-Greymouth.
- There is a system of pass (Scenic Rail Pass), and interesting special rates during winter.
Driving is on The Left.
The network is in good condition. The roads are quite slow: lots of hills and mountains and some highways program. It will give you time to see the butterflies flutter … In remote corners, a lot of roads are not paved, but they are well maintained.
Signage is good. The controls are frequent, speeding and drinking and driving (80 mg/100 ml of blood) sanctioned by penalties.
The national driving license is recognized for one year beyond that, it will go the New Zealand code. Rentals are a little expensive. If you rent a car, better make sure the lease allows traffic on unpaved paths. If we stay several months, you can always consider buying a vehicle to sell at end of stay, but it is not always obvious …
100 km / h on roads, 60 or 70 km / h when approaching towns and 50 km / h in city: maximum permissible speeds.
Another option for those with family or go big: the campervan, its local name, combines flexibility and savings on hotels. Well, obviously, it consumes more and pollutes more …
New Zealand is a relatively safe country and its people are friendly, the stop is practiced with a lot of success. Still, it becomes quite difficult when you are away from the main roads. Patience …
New Zealanders are crazy about sports and cycling is no exception to the rule: we meet around cyclists overloaded under the weight of their luggage with concentration pedaling along a long false flat. Those that did not deter the introduction love New Zealand: low traffic, beautiful scenery and plenty of camp sites (wildly or not) make a cyclist’s paradise in the long term. There are locations everywhere, but you can also make a great little queen with you.
Ferry (Cook Strait Ferry)
Blue bridge flies between Wellington (the North Island) and Picton (the South Island) from NS $ 51 for a pedestrian crossing, NS $ 169 with a car. After 3:30 drive.
The company Inter islander also connects the two islands. It provides daily services between Wellington and Picton. Starting from $ 65 for a crossing NS (one way) without a car, and from $ 208 NS with a car category A. more than 3 hours away.
- Lifestyle New Zealand
New Zealand is ahead by 11 am on the West European mainland. The country observes Daylight Saving Time (1 + h) from late October to early March.
Voltage: 230 volts, 50 Hertz, and Europe. You will need an adapter plugs are three flat pins. We found for NZ $ 15 in airports and electronics stores.
- The office hours are generally Monday to Friday from 9h to 17h.
- The shops often open half an hour longer (until 17:30) on weekdays, and on Saturday or Sunday mornings from 9am to 12.30pm. In big cities, night (Thursday or Friday), remain open until 21h.
- Supermarkets and convenience stores (dairies) often open up to 20h or 21h, sometimes 24h/24.
- Banks are open Monday to Friday (except holidays) from 9h to 17h, some open a few hours on Saturday.
The official language is of course English, but also the Maori.
English is borrowing some neologisms and words specifically local, often drawn from the Maori language (like your used for thank you). In urban areas, one in five speaks a second language in addition to English (Maori, Samoan …).
Attention to a specific inherited Maori: wh = f. Thus pronounced “Fangarei” to Whangarei.
Do not ask the post office, but the post shop … Nothing special to report, except that mail to Europe usually takes a good week. To win a few days, use the Fast Post service, a bit more expensive.
- From France to New Zealand: 00 (tone) + 64 + number.
- From New Zealand to France: 00 + 33 + the number without the 0.
- From New Zealand to other foreign countries: Belgium: 32, Switzerland: 41, Canada 1.
For France Telecom operator directly, call 000-933.
New Zealand has a very good network. You can call public booths (cards) or from the hotel (more expensive) without problem. Note that it is really advantageous to buy a prepaid card (Callcard) and not one of those New Zealand Telecom.
New Zealand is one of the most Internet-connected country, with 3.2 million users out of a population of just over 4 million.
- Recommended itineraries New Zealand
The distances between the islands of North and South are important, interesting sites and countless opportunities for hiking, visiting New Zealand is not done in a few days – especially as we cross the country by small roads .
A good option is to start north before returning by plane from the south, either by taking a domestic flight before returning to Auckland or Christchurch starting afresh, which also faced international flights (to Australia in particular) . We can obviously do the opposite, from south to north, but it may seem more appropriate to keep the magnificent fjords of the South Island to the end.
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