You already know how ludicrously photogenic New Zealand is.The otherworldly peaks and valleys of Middle Earth brought this not-so-hidden secret to the world with good reason.But these views are no Hollywood-crafted mirage- they are the real deal, and certain to take your breath away.

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The country geographically comprises two main landmasses that of the North and South Islands and numerous smaller islands.

New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.

Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans.

The introduction of potatoes and muskets triggered upheaval among Maori early during the 19th century, which led to the inter-tribal Musket Wars.

Besides the North and South Islands, the five largest inhabited islands are Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island (in the Hauraki Gulf), d'Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds and Waiheke Island about 22 km from central Auckland.

The country's islands lie between latitudes 29° and 53°S, and longitudes 165° and 176°E.

The South Island is the largest land mass of New Zealand, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps.

In 1840 the British and Maori signed a treaty making New Zealand a colony of the British Empire.

Immigrant numbers increased sharply and conflicts escalated into the New Zealand Wars, which resulted in much Maori land being confiscated in the mid North Island.