Geography & Geology

You'll find a variety of awesome landscapes in New Zealand, all within easy reach of each other.

Spectacular glaciers, picturesque fiords, rugged mountains, vast plains, rolling hillsides, subtropical forest, volcanic plateau, miles of coastline with gorgeous sandy beaches - it's all here. No wonder New Zealand is becoming so popular as a location for movies.

Lying in the south-west Pacific, New Zealand consists of two main islands - the North Island and the South Island. Stewart Island and many smaller islands lie offshore.

The North Island of New Zealand has a 'spine' of mountain ranges running through the middle, with gentle rolling farmland on both sides. The central North Island is dominated by the Volcanic Plateau, an active volcanic and thermal area. The massive Southern Alps form the backbone of the South Island. To the east of the Southern Alps is the rolling farmland of Otago and Southland, and the vast, flat Canterbury Plains.

  • Aoraki / Mount Cook viewed from the road to Mount Cook Village, located in the Southern Alps. Much of New Zealand's South Island landscape is mountainous.

  • Torrent Bay at Abel Tasman National Park in the South Island

  • The snow-capped Southern Alps dominate the South Island, while the North Island's Northland Peninsula stretches towards the subtropics.