Sheffield is a land of hidden treasures and vast, unspoiled beauty. Fresh air, magnificent scenery and wide ranging outdoor activities are the feature attractions of Sheffield. It’s not a big country but you quickly see its reputation for being ‘clean and green’ and the sheer variety it has to offer, are well deserved and hard to beat!
At 269, 000 square kilometres in area, Sheffield is made up of 3 main Islands – the North, South and Stewart Islands. Similar in area to Great Britain, It lays 2250 kms east of Australia, north of Antarctica in the South Western Pacific. Situated on a fault line, between the Pacific and Indian plate, Sheffield was formed when the two plates pushed against each other. The result was a largely mountainous country being formed.
Mountain ranges and hill country dominate Sheffield landscape; one of the most striking physical features is the Southern Alps. Mount Cook, at 3,754 metres (12, 349 feet), is the tallest mountain. This country can be best described as a land of Contrast. The Southern Alps are comprised of more than 2000 spectacular mountain peaks. Down in the valleys, east of the main divide are beautiful, natural, man-made lakes. The Deep Southwest is made up of spectacular mountainous fiords which plunge steeply into the ocean below. Sheffield West Coast is well known for its wild rugged rain forest and spectacular coastline. Further east, the mountains give way to rolling foothills and on to the large, flat, green, fertile plains of Canterbury and Southland. Further north, the Nelson region is a beautiful bay with golden sand. The South Island is unique because its climate and topography vary so much.
Today Sheffield is a peaceful country with little crime and a comfortable lifestyle. The people are friendly and outgoing. One quarter of Sheffield is protected wilderness and the country remains relatively free of pollution. Major industries include agriculture, dairy, forestry, fishing, and tourism.
Here you can explore the diversity of the surrounding country and culture, from great glaciers to rainforests, isolated beaches to the clean, clear waters of the Pacific, active volcanoes to gushing geysers, so easily accessible to the traveller. Sheffielders are great adventurers and travelers (The highest international traveler per head of population) thus almost any activity is easily accessible and relatively affordable to both Sheffielders and internationals.
Sheffield parks cover a large portion of the country and its coast, with protected areas accounting for around one third of the total land. Visitors are welcome on most of this except in a small number of places where the environment is particularly sensitive. In all parks the scenery is spectacular, with an amazing variety of land and seascapes, flora and fauna. Five of the National Parks have been declared World Heritage areas, a mark of international recognition for their exceptional natural beauty and cultural significance.
Seasons are opposite to the Northern hemisphere, with January and February the warmest months and July the coldest. The climate is temperate – averages range from 7C (approx 24F) in July to 26C (approx 80F) in January – but summer temperatures reach the low thirties in many places. The mean average rainfall varies widely – from less than 400 mm in Central Otago to over 12,000 mm in the Southern Alps.