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By Sue Taylor

New Zealand is a small country of approximately 4 million people. It is made up of 2 main islands, the North Island, which contains the majority of the population and the South Island, which abounds with lush scenery. This is the ideal country for a holiday.

There are a multitude of airlines (approximately 45) that fly in to New Zealand these days. Most of them fly in to Auckland which is located towards the top of the North Island and is considered to be the gateway of the country. Auckland is by far the biggest city in New Zealand and has that big city feeling. Approximately one third of the whole population of New Zealand lives in the greater Auckland area. If you enjoy shopping, beaches or sailing, you could spend your whole time in Auckland, but although it is a beautiful city, there are many other special areas within New Zealand. There is an amazing diversity of scenery from beautiful beaches, ancient rain forests, stunning mountains, lakes, rivers and thermal activity to name just some of what you will see.

1. The people in New Zealand speak English which is a help if you are traveling from a western country. Generally speaking the people are also very friendly and will ensure your stay is very enjoyable. New Zealanders are very proud of their country and enjoy sharing the beauty and benefits of their country with others.

2. The exchange rate is favorable if you are coming over from Australia, UK, Europe and USA or almost any Western country. The shopping is very good particularly in the main areas such as Auckland, Wellington, (the capital of New Zealand situated at the bottom of the North Island) Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown. New Zealand has some very talented and established fashion designers as well as some promising up and coming young designers.

3. Apart from Auckland which can be quite congested both with people and traffic, you will find that New Zealand is relatively quiet. If you choose to hire a car, the quiet roads will probably be appealing as it can be rather daunting driving in an unfamiliar country on very busy roads. Note that cars drive on the left hand side of the road in New Zealand. Just be sure to check out the road rules. They have a very peculiar give way rule which could prove to be a dangerous trap for the unwary.

4. One of the best reasons to visit New Zealand is because of the stunning scenery. Although the country is small, there is an incredible diversity to the scenery. There are some beautiful as well as rugged beaches, some amazing and almost prehistoric geo-thermal areas around Rotorua, stunning mountains, rain forests, great fishing in the many lakes and rivers, the most famous lake being Lake Taupo as well as the natural beauty of some of the towns and cities.

5. If skiing is your passion, there are a multitude of choices on both the North and South Island for the beginner through to the advanced skier. One of the nice things about a skiing holiday in New Zealand, particularly in the Queenstown area (located in the South Island) is the stunning views you have whilst skiing. There is a wide variety of accommodation options available close to skiing areas.

This is Part one of a two part article. Look out for Part 2 which is coming soon.

Sue and Grant Taylor now travel extensively and they have compiled a number of tips for traveling at their website: