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Beautiful scenery and open spaces beckon in New Zealand

Think of New Zealand and what springs to mind? Great wine, beautiful scenery or the place where the Lord of the Rings was filmed? It offers that and so much more, says overseas property expert Simon Conn.

New Zealand has long been a popular spot for Brits to relocate. It shares the same language and is a similar size to Great Britain, but is home to a much smaller population, with only four million inhabitants.

It is split into two main islands – the north and south. Both have diverse and spectacular scenery, with beautiful sandy beaches and massive turquoise lakes.

The country, which is 12 hours ahead of us, promises a warmer climate than the UK, and there are rain forests, the sea and plenty of open spaces to enjoy.

It is likely that wherever you live, you will need a car to travel around the towns as it is much more spread out than the UK. For those who yearn to get away from the hustle and bustle of UK living, you will enjoy the stretches of road where you can drive for miles and not see another soul – except for the odd sheep, perhaps.

New Zealand lamb is exported around the world, as is wine, so vineyards tours are a must for wine connoisseurs.

The country has a rich history, particularly associated with the Maoris who arrived around 1,000 years ago. There are plenty of Maori sites to visit and treasures to admire if you are interested.

New Zealand also has many beautiful fjords called sounds, such as the stunning Milford Sound on the coast of the South Island. Snow-capped Mount Cook, the highest mountain in the country, is worth a visit and on the list of challenges for mountain climbers.

The incredible region of Roturua has hot springs, geothermal pools and is also a centre for Maori culture.

If you’re after city living, Auckland is bustling and has the Sky Tower, which is the tallest manmade building in New Zealand. Queenstown is a hotspot for thrillseekers, with adventure activities including skydiving, bungee and white water rafting on offer.

But don’t be put off if you want a slower pace of life as some people say New Zealand living is a bit like stepping back in time.

Providing you have sound advice from experts, purchasing a property in New Zealand should be relatively straightforward. Offers must be made in writing and sales often go through within four to six weeks.

You can expect to incur property buying costs in the region of $2-2,500, although there is not any stamp duty to pay. Mortgage arrangement fees are usually between 0.5 and 1% of the loan amount.

Maximum loan to value rates for non-residents is 70% and interest rates for non-residents are the same as for people living in New Zealand.

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Details correct when this article was originally posted on September 23, 2014.