|list of live webcams in New Zealand|
|Ashburton||Ashburton - coast||sea|
|Christchurch||New Brighton Pier||sea|
|Gisborne||Gisborne - coast||sea|
|Lake Wanaka||Cardrona - Lake Wanaka||mountains|
|National Institute of ...||Ashburton||sea|
|New Plymouth||New Plymouth||beach|
|Pacific Ocean||New Zealand seen from the s...||space|
|Tasmania||Queenstown - Coronet Peak||mountains|
|The Remarkables||Queenstown - Shotover Jet||landscape|
|The Remarkables||Queenstown - The Remarkables||landscape|
New Zealand is a country formed of two major islands and a number of smaller islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. A common Māori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, popularly translated as Land of the Long White Cloud. New Zealand also maintains responsibility for the foreign affairs of the self-governing countries of the Cook Islands and Niue, and administers the dependency of Tokelau.
New Zealand is composed of two main islands and a number of smaller islands. The South Island is the largest land mass, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps, the highest peak of which is Mount Cook, at 3754 metres. There are 18 peaks of more than 3000 metres in the South Island. The North Island is less mountainous than the South, but is marked by volcanism. The tallest North Island mountain, Mount Ruapehu (2797 metres), is an active cone volcano.
The total land area of New Zealand, 268,680 km², is somewhat less than that of Japan or of the British Isles, and slightly larger than Colorado in the USA. The country extends more than 1600 km along its main, north-northeast axis.
New Zealand is the most geographically isolated of all countries. Closest neighbour Australia is 2,000 km to the northwest of the main islands across the Tasman Sea. The only landmass to the south is Antarctica, and to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.
The usual climate throughout the country is mild, mostly cool temperate to warm temperate, with temperatures rarely falling below 0°C or rising above 30°C. Conditions vary from wet and cold in Southland and the West Coast of the South Island, where most of the country's rain falls, to subtropical in Northland. In Wellington the average minimum temperature in winter is 5.9°C and the average maximum temperature in summer is 20.3°C.
New Zealand's scenery has appeared in a number of television programmes and films. In particular, Hercules and Xena were filmed around Auckland, Heavenly Creatures in Christchurch. Peter Jackson shot The Lord of the Rings in various locations around the country, taking advantage of the spectacular and relatively unspoiled landscapes.
Because of its long isolation from the rest of the world, New Zealand has extraordinary flora and fauna. Until the arrival of the first humans just a millennium or two ago, 80% of the land was forested and, barring two species of bat, there were no non-marine mammals at all. Instead, New Zealand's forests were inhabited by a diverse range of birds (many of them flightless), reptiles, and insects—some of them almost the size of a mouse.
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