Sitting in geographic isolation near the bottom of the world, New Zealand has recently become a country attracting attention. People have begun asking where this little country is.
With the recent near success of the New Zealand football team, the All Whites, at the World Football Cup, people are beginning to notice the tiny country of New Zealand, tucked away at the bottom of the world. Although the All Whites didn't make it through to the last sixteen teams, they were close, having drawn all three games. People all around the world are now asking, where does this team that has made it's mark on the international football scene come from?
Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean
For a start, you need to locate the large expanse of the Pacific Ocean in the southern hemisphere, and find where, in the south west, it meets with the Tasman Sea. New Zealand's latitude is between 34 and 46 degrees south, and is approximately 2,200 kilometers south of the equator. Looking at the Pacific Ocean on a world map, you can't help but marvel at the courage of the early explorers, Abel Tasman and James Cook, the European navigators and explorers who discovered and mapped New Zealand in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Even more remarkable were the navigation skills of the Maori people who migrated to New Zealand in small canoes, almost seven hundred years earlier than Tasman and Cook.
New Zealand's Closest Neighbors
The closest large land mass to New Zealand is Australia, across the Tasman Sea to the west, more than 2,000 kilometers away. Australians are often referred to as our Tassie neighbors, and Australia as being across the ditch. However, Australia is not actually our closest neighbor. The Pacific nations of New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga are the closest countries to New Zealand. Antarctica is 2,200 kilometers to the south.
Flight Time to New Zealand
Flying from Australia's east coast to New Zealand takes approximately three to three and a half hours. To fly from most other Pacific Rim countries, such as Singapore, Hong Kong or Tokyo, takes about ten hours. Even further away is Los Angeles, with an approximate flying time of thirteen hours.
Ahead of Time
New Zealand may be a tiny country, being only 1600 kilometers from north to south, but being just west of the International Date Line, it is the first country in the world to greet the new day. In fact, you may remember how New Zealand was also the first country to enter the new millennium some years ago. This location west of the Date Line, coupled with being in the southern hemisphere, means New Zealand time is twelve to thirteen hours ahead of West Europe and eighteen to twenty-one hours ahead of USA. As I write, it is shortly after nine o'clock on Saturday morning, whereas much of the rest of the world is still experiencing life on a Friday.
More Information About New Zealand
Now that you are aware of where New Zealand is, you may be interested in reading more about this little country in the southern oceans.
Fascinating Facts About New Zealand
Wellington: Capital City of New Zealand
Captain James Cook: First Landfall in New Zealand
The Wild West Coast of New Zealand's South Island