Where is New Zealand on the world map?
Since you’re on this page we’ll assume you’ve heard of New Zealand. You may have seen New Zealand in movies like Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Mission: Impossible – Fallout and decided that you have to visit this beautiful country. But for the life of you, you just can’t find us on the world map. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
You see, despite being an island country roughly the size of the United Kingdom, on most world maps, we’re rather inconveniently placed in the bottom right hand corner which means we often just fall off. In fact, this happens so often that there is an active reddit entirely dedicated to showing maps that just didn’t bother to include us. So here’s our response.
A ‘world according to New Zealand map’
We thought the best way to show you where New Zealand is on the world map is to create our own map with New Zealand conveniently placed in the centre. No countries were excluded in the making of this map although we did have to cut Iceland in half – sorry about that Iceland.
Located in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is approximately 1,500km (932 miles) east-southeast of Australia. Around 1,400 km (870 miles) to the north of New Zealand are the islands of New Caledonia, a French territory, along with many other Pacific islands including Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga.
New Zealand and Australia are separated by the Tasman Sea, often referred to as ‘the ditch’ as in, “we’re off to see the family across the ditch”. We may be be closely situated but New Zealand is absolutely, definitely not part of Australia, even though we have confusingly similar flags and, to the untrained ear, may even sound the same.
So now that you know where New Zealand is located, why not come and visit? Need some convincing? Let us share some interesting facts & figures and information about the country we’ve called home since 2013.
New Zealand facts & figures
- Land area: 267,710 sq km / 103,363 sq miles
- Population: 5,127,200 (Estimated, 21 December 2021. Source: Stats NZ)
- Official languages: English*, Te Reo Māori, New Zealand Sign Language
- Capital city: Wellington – est. population 217,000 (2021)
- Largest city: Auckland – est. population 1,72 million (2021)
- International airports: Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown, Dunedin
- Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
- International dialling code: +64
- Time zone (Wellington): GMT+12, New Zealand Daylight Time – GMT+13
- Head of government: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
- Tallest mountain: Aoraki / Mount Cook – 3,724 m / 12,218 ft
- Largest lake: Lake Taupo – 616 sq km / 238 sq mi
- Longest river: Waikato River – 425 km / 264 miles
- Largest active volcano: Mount Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park
*Fun fact: English is widely presumed to be an official language given that it’s spoken by over 96% of the population. In fact, according to official statutes, English is not one of New Zealand’s official languages but effectively it is.
New Zealand Geography
An island nation
As you can see from the satellite image above, New Zealand is an island nation made up of two main islands called the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu), together with a number of smaller islands that lie offshore within 30 km (19 miles) of the two main islands.
The majority of these smaller islands are unpopulated and while some of these can be visited, most visitors will head to the populated islands including:
- Stewart Island / Rakiura – located off the bottom of the South Island
- Waiheke and Great Barrier Island (Aotea) – located in the Hauraki Gulf off the east coast of Auckland on the North Island
Also part of New Zealand and located some 650 km (405 miles) off the east coast of the North Island are the Chatham Islands (population 780 in June 2021). Approximately 370 km (230 miles) to the south of Stewart Island are the wild, remote and unpopulated Auckland Islands.
The two main islands (North Island & South Island) are separated by the Cook Strait, a 22 km (14 mile) stretch of ocean that’s notorious for its treacherous currents and strong tidal flows between the Tasman Sea to the east and the south Pacific Ocean to the west. There are no bridges or tunnels connecting the two islands, but there are regular ferry services.
Yes we’ve got mountains… and active volcanoes
Something else you probably noticed when looking at the satellite view above was the fact that we have mountains, most notably on the South Island. Thanks to New Zealand’s location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and the constant shifting of tectonic plates beneath us, New Zealand’s southern island is dominated by the Southern Alps mountain range, home to our tallest peak, Aoraki / Mount Cook.
While the majority of the country’s highest peaks are in the Southern Alps, that’s not to say we don’t have mountains on the North Island, we most certainly do. But what the North Island lacks in height, it makes up for in volcanic activity with Mount Ruapehu, the North Island’s tallest peak, being an active volcano. An added bonus of all this volcanic activity in the north are numerous hot springs and geothermal attractions like those found near Rotorua.
If you’d like to find our more about our spectacular mountains you’ll want to check our visitor guide to mountains in New Zealand. It has details on some of our most picturesque peaks and includes a map of New Zealand mountains.
Altogether there are 13 national parks across the country, and they offer a stunning variety of scenery and outstanding features from the unique West Coast glaciers of Westland Tai Poutini National Park to the incredible fiords of Fiordland National Park. Our national parks protect our most valuable wilderness areas and provide year-round adventure for all outdoor enthusiasts. Check out some of our own outdoor adventures for inspiration.
New Zealand cities
Located on the North Island, Auckland is our most populous city with around 1.72 million people. New Zealand has thirteen major cities, most of which are on the North Island, and they vary in character from bustling metropolitan centres like Auckland and Christchurch to small port cities like New Plymouth and Nelson. Located at the bottom of the North Island, Wellington, with a population of 217,000, is our capital city.
If you’d like to find our more about our cities you’ll want to check our visitor guide to the largest cities in New Zealand. It has details on what each city has to offer and includes a map showing where each of these major cities are located.