New Zealand Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in New Zealand?


New Zealand is located in the South Pacific, some 1,200 miles southeast of Australia. The country consists of two main islands and a number of smaller islands. The main North and South Islands are separated by Cook Strait, which at its narrowest point is about 15 miles wide. All but 1% of its area is in the two main islands: the North Island with 44,281 square miles, and the less populated South Island with 58,093 square miles. Stewart Island covers 670 square miles and is located off the South Island’s southern tip. New Zealand also includes small outlying islands, which are difficult to reach from the mainland: the Chatham Islands, Raoul Island, and Campbell Island.

New Zealand has a highly varied terrain with mountain ranges and hill country dominating the landscape. A massive mountain chain, the Southern Alps, runs almost the length of the South Island. The North Island also has mountain ranges, and four volcanic peaks, including Mt. Ruapehu, which has been active (but not dangerous) since September 1995. These mountains, along with fjords, glaciers, lakes, hot springs, geysers, mudpools, and beaches, give New Zealand some of the most spectacular natural scenery on earth.

Geography - note

almost 90% of the population lives in cities; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world

New Zealand Use of Natural Resources

Geographic Location Oceania
Total Area 103,363 Square Miles
267,710 Square Kilometers
Land Area 103,363 Square Miles
267,710 Square Kilometers
Irrigated Land 2,391 Square Miles
6,193 Square Kilometers
Coastline 9,404 Miles
15,134 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 41 00 S, 174 00 E
Terrain predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains
Highest Point 3,754 Meters
Highest Point Location Aoraki-Mount Cook 3,754 m
Lowest Point Location Pacific Ocean 0 m
Natural Resources natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone
Time Zone UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

time zone note: New Zealand has two time zones: New Zealand standard time (UTC+12) and Chatham Islands time (45 minutes in advance of New Zealand standard time; UTC+12:45)
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April

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