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 sq km (103,735 sq miles), about the size of Japan or California and slightly larger than Great Britain.
In a couple of days drive it is possible to see everything from mountain ranges to sandy beaches, lush rainforests, boiling mud, glaciers, fiords and active volcanoes.
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 giant Kauri, among the largest trees in the world, is now restricted to relatively small forest pockets in Northland and on the Coromandel Peninsula.
New Zealand has 14 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 per cent of New Zealand’s land area is protected conservation land.
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