New Zealand, a country of 268,000 square kilometres, is the location of three of the world's United Nations-inscribed Heritage sites.
- Te Wahipounamu, South West New Zealand, is a land of glacial tablelands, mountains that include New Zealand's highest, Aoraki (Mt Cook), and a place that retains examples of Gondwana flora and fauna in their natural habitats. Te Wahipounamu was inscribed a World Heritage site in 1990.
Included in this World Heritage site are four New Zealand national parks: Westland Tai Poutini, Mt Aspiring, Aoraki/Mt Cook, and Fiordland.
Parts of this World Heritage site are able to be visited in varying degrees of accessibility.
The glaciers, peaks and ice cliffs of Aoraki are particularly popular with visitors and Mt Cook Village is accessible by road from the town of Twizel.
Tongariro National Park
- Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's first national park, was inscribed a World Heritage site in the same year as Te Wahipounamu.
It is located on the central volcanic plateau of the North Island and contains glacial and volcanic landscapes. It is an area linked with the arrival of the first Maoris from the Pacific.
The name Tongariro derives from tonga meaning fire, and riro meaning carried away.
Visitors to Tongariro National Park are able to go on mountan walks of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. Skiing is available in the winter at Whakapapa and Turoa.
- The New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands were inscribed a World Heritage site in 1998.
They include five island groups noted for the large number and diversity of pelagic seabirds and penguins that nest there.
The five island groups are the Snares, Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, and Campbell Island.