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With a wide variety of landscape and climate,
New Zealand has conditions for almost
every outdoor sport. Fishing is very
popular, especially fresh water fishing
in the trout lakes of Rotorua and Taupo,
and the salmon and trout streams on the
South Island. The general season is
October to April inclusive, but year
round in Rotorua and Taupo.
Deep-sea fishing is
available, particularly
in the Bay of Islands
between late
January and early April.

A long sandy coastline
offers all sorts of water
sports, including swimming
water-skiing, scuba diving and
surfing, and sailing. Beaches are
invariably clean, as is the seawater.

Mountain areas, especially in the South Island, are good for skiing between June and October. In other seasons, mountain climbing and tramping are popular pastimes in the various National Parks and State Forest's. White Water rafting is popular. The hot springs at Rotorua are a famous tourist attraction.

The most popular spectator sport is rugby, New Zealanders live and breathe it (the All Blacks are world famous). Other sports include cricket, athletics and horse-racing. There are numerous golf courses and plenty of tennis courts available for hire.

Cinemas in all towns throughout the country show recent British, American and Continental films. The theatre and ballet are well patronised, particularly in Wellington and Auckland. There are orchestras in the main cities but relatively little opera. The main cities also have folk jazz clubs and night-clubs. Ethnic groups are popular with performances by Maori, Pacific Islander and Asian troupes. Nightlife has improved in recent years due to the rise in numbers of tourists. Casinos have been built in Auckland and Christchurch.

In addition to hotel restaurants, there is a wide variety of restaurants in all the main towns. Restaurants serving French, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, Italian and other types of cuisine can be found in all the major cities.

The main cities have museums and there are more than 250 museums and art galleries throughout the country. Some contain fine collections of Maori carving. The Antarctica Exhibition at Christchurch is worth visiting, especially for those with children.

Crafts of all kinds are very popular and there are adult education classes for a variety of crafts, the most popular being pottery. Many communities have art centres.

More than half of New Zealand's houses have been built over the last 25 years. Most people in New Zealand choose to live in privately owned detached houses; usually these are bungalows constructed of wood, some painted in bright colours and with tin roofs. Many have sizeable gardens and gardening is one of the country's most popular leisure activities.

Housing costs are well above the national average in Wellington and especially in Auckland where the market for rented accommodation has become particularly scarce. House prices in Auckland have soared, encouraged by the influx of wealthy Asian migrants.

There is a compulsory education for children between the ages of six and 16. Most education is in state-run schools, although there are a number of independent, fee-paying schools, mainly run by religious organisations.

Note that zoning in a state school is a very important factor when choosing somewhere to live. If you live outside the zone for the school of your choice, your children will be lucky to get a place.

The education system includes kindergartens and play centres catering for children from the age of three. Pre-school kindergartens are fee-paying, but subsidised by the government.

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