Zealand is a long and narrow mountainous country, approximately the size
of Japan and California that lies below the Australian continent, running
from north to south. Total land area runs up to about 269,057 sq. kilometers
(103,883 sq. mi) in two main islands - the North Island and South Island.
Another smaller island is Stewart Island.
The North Island
is hilly with remote mountains, including volcanoes, two of which are
active. Lowlands in the North Island are mainly restricted to coastal
areas and the Waikato Valley.
In the South Island,
the Southern Alps run from north to south, and the southwest reach the
sea in the deeply indented coast of Fjordland. Mount Cook is the highest
point, standing at 3,754 meters (12,315 ft). A major rockslide reduced
the height of the mountain by 10 meters (33ft) in December 1991. The Canterbury
plains lie to the east of the mountains.
New Zealand's chief
rivers are Waikato, Clutha, Waihou, Rangitaiki, Mokau, Wanganui, and Manawatu.
The capital city of the country is Wellington, near the foot of the North
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