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Waimakariri Basin near Arthurs Pass - South Island  

General NZ Information

New Zealand's Flag

Land area

New Zealand has an area of over 265,200km2 (Gt Britain is 229,880km2)
The South Island has an area of 150,500km2
The North Island has an area of 114,700km2


New Zealand has an estimated population of 4,000,000 people. (Apr 2003)
The North Island has an estimated population of over 2,904,000 (June 2000)
The South Island has an estimated population of over 927,000 (June 2000)
Auckland City has an estimated population of over 1,193,000 (June 2000)

New Zealand has a population of approx 40,000,000 sheep.

In summary - A third of the population live in Auckland city. A third lives in the remainder of the North Island. The remaining third live in the South Island, the larger of the two main islands.
There are approximately 10 sheep to every man, woman and child living in New Zealand

Visitors to New Zealand

New Zealand played host to an estimated 1,600,000 visitors in 1999. This number is increasing.

Highest mountain

New Zealand's highest point is Mt Cook at 3,753m (12,313ft)


New Zealand's currency is the Dollar NZD.

$1.00USD buys approximately $1.60NZD.
1.00GBP buys approximately $2.80NZD.

Time zone

New Zealand is 12 hrs ahead of Universal Time Co-ordinated UTC (GMT). During daylight saving (October - April) NZ is 13 hrs ahead of UTC.

Due to New Zealand's proximity to the International date line, it is one of the first countries in the world to see tomorrow. New Zealand's Chatham Islands lie to the east of the date line and are three quarters of an hour ahead of the mainland. For this reason the Chatham Island's were a popular destination for tourists during Millennium celebrations.

Nuclear status

New Zealand is Nuclear Free and does not allow nuclear weapons or nuclear powered ships to visit it's ports.

Driving in New Zealand

Driving in New Zealand is on the left-hand side of the road.

The open road speed limit is 100Km/h

The speed limit within cities and towns is 50Km/h, unless otherwise indicated.

New Zealand's GIVE WAY rules are different from most countries. Unless otherwise indicated it's 'give way to your right' at all times. This includes unmarked T intersections.

Traffic lights in New Zealand only display Amber between Green and Red. There is no Amber before Green as in some European countries.
There are no 'give way' options on Amber or Red lights in New Zealand. You may only enter a controlled intersection on a Green light.

New Zealand drivers are generally of a good standard. As with most countries, we have our fair share of undesirables on the road.
Be aware at all times. Some drivers on New Zealand's road are of the opinion that indicators are an 'optional' extra.