New Zealand – Travel Guide Discover what the other side of the world has to offer in New Zealand. The name, adapted from "Nieuw Zeeland" was given after it was discovered by a Dutchman, Abel Tasman, who was the first European to see the islands. After years of wars between the later British visitors and the native Maoris, harmony has been created today. Both cultures bring their architecture, art, dance, sport and food resulting in a unique blend for you to experience. Something all cultures will agree on, is how beautiful and diverse the country is. New Zealand – also known as NZ – is about the same area as the UK, but longer, and spread over two main islands. With a population of barely more than 4 million, there is plenty of open space in the mountains and on the coasts to explore. The breathtaking scenery inspired Peter Jackson to shoot The Lord Of The Rings here. Such locations as hilly Matamata became "The Shire" and the mighty volcano, Mount Ruapehu became "Orodruin". New Zealand is home to many unique plants, animals and dramatic volcanic formations. This natural environment provides many opportunities to surf, climb, walk, cave, ski, sail and of course, bungee jump! This world famous extreme sport has it’s roots in the canyons of New Zealand. The country is proud to boast the world’s top-rated travel destination: Milford Sound. This picture postcard fjord features, tumbling waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and pine gullies that have been described by Rudyard Kipling as the "8th wonder of the world".