Antipodean cities: Where is the furthest you can travel from New Zealand?

Where are the two most distant cities on the globe? New Zealand is closer to these places directly through the Earth’s mantle than by any air route. Image / Wesley Tingey, Unsplash

Looking for the most direct way from Whangarei to Morocco? Start digging!

If you’ve ever wondered where the farthest place you could travel is, you’re in luck.

New Zealand is quite unique in that on the polar opposite side of the globe, you will find other people and places to visit. As one of the most remote countries in the Pacific and home to some of the longest commercial flights, many places are closer to New Zealand directly through the core of the Earth than on any flight path. (They’re just an option!)

The term “antipodes” comes from Plato’s play Timaeus. Literally meaning “the people who stand with their feet facing us”, it is a romantic idea that describes how, if the world is round, there could be people on the other side.

Disappointingly for most of the world, if you dug a tunnel through the center of the globe, you would only get the ocean. As 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, the chances of connecting with another piece of land are slim. New Zealand, however, overlaps with a large number of places.

Five countries and two continents, to be exact.

In this area you will find a group of antipode “twin cities”, the opposite number on the globe.

Here the polar pairs overlap and even opposite.

Auckland and Andalusia

New Zealand’s Sailing City is one of the most international cities on the planet, with nearly two-fifths of the city’s residents born overseas according to the 2018 census.

However, it shares a special connection with the Spanish city of Seville, located at the polar opposite of Auckland. The capital of Andalusia is famous for citrus fruits and being the largest city of Moorish Spain. It has a metropolitan population of 1.5 million, almost exactly the same size as Tamaki Makaurau.

Auckland | 36.8509° S, 174.7645° E

Seville, Spain | 37.3891°N, 5.9845°W

Whangarei and Morocco

Across the Hercules Strait, the Moroccan city of Tangier is the polar opposite of Whangarei in the North.

The whitewashed buildings of the medina on the coast have a scenic view of the meeting of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. It was a favorite of artists from Matisse to the Moroccan New Wave. It’s as far as you can get from Northland, New Zealand, but there are many similarities such as coastal connections and popularity with bohemian artists – including Northland transplant Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who designed prints for the post office Morocco.

Whangarei | 35.7275° S, 174.3166° E

Tangier, Morocco | 35.7595°N, 5.8340°W

Wairarapa and Madrid

The capital of Spain and New Zealand might seem like polar opposites, both geographically and culturally. However, there are many common interests with the former Imperial Capital and Miramar. It has the cloudiest days of any European capital and is much less windy than Wellington, although “on a good day” the weather can be comparable. It is over food that Wellingtonians and Madrilenians can really unite. Both cities share a coffee fanatic culture. Cafe con leche and a side of chocolate covered churros is a sweet treat you’ll find at any hour. Which is good, because dinner is rarely eaten before 9 o’clock. Like the restaurants in Madrid they have a reputation for being up all night. An ideal holiday for a Kiwi foodie.

Madrid is also home to the most successful football club of all time Real Madrid – a legacy that Wellington Phoenix can only aspire to.

Of course, antipodal pairs are not an exact science. Actually Wellington is much closer to the satellites of Valladolid and Salamanca.

The metropolitan area of ​​Madrid opens a little closer to Palmerston North, a city with much less similarities.

Wellington | 41.2924° S, 174.7787° E

Valladolid, Spain | 41.6523°N, 4.7245°W

Palmerston North | 40.3545°S, 175.6097°E

Madrid, Spain | 40.4168°N, 3.7038°W

Westport and Portugal

The west coasts of Aotearoa and Iberia are united by a distance of 12,000 km and a love of seafood. If you were to dig directly from Westport, you will appear at the Portugal Boat Bridge. Literally meaning “bridge of the boat”, the city in northern Portugal is a popular holiday destination for its subtropical climate, fortified wine and grilled fish – small grilled fish.

One wonders what the Portuguese would do with whitebait.

Westport | 41.7546° S, 171.6060° E

Ponte da Barca, Portugal | 41.8056°N, 8.4158°W

Canterbury and Galicia

The northern Spanish region is famous as a mecca for walkers through its hilly coastal landscape, such as the end of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. The most famous long walking route in Europe ends at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

What is less known about the Way is that it is almost exactly on the opposite side of the world from the central South Island of New Zealand. Christchurch is on the opposite side of the globe to the port city of Foz.

They have many common interests with their outdoor antipodean twins in Canterbury

The rolling, green Galacian countryside that leads to the dramatic mountains in the Peaks of Europe, it could also be the southern Alps. This part of Spain is known for preferring cider to Spanish wine.

Christchurch | 43.5320° S, 172.6306° E

Foz, Spain | 43.5695° N, 7.2580° W

The unlikely French connection of the Chathams and the outliers of New Zealand

New Zealand’s unusually long footprint means that some of the more remote islands overlap with a surprising number of villages.

The Chatham Islands, the easternmost bastion of Aotearoa and the first place to see the sun, is located at the opposite pole of the South of France and Provence.

The Kermadec Islands, meanwhile, in the north of New Zealand are antipodal to Algeria in North Africa.

Chatham Islands | 43.9271°S, 176.4592°W

Mende Occitane, France | 44.5176° N, 3.5019° E

Raul Island, Kermadec Islands | 29.2684° S, 177.9286° W

El Menia, Algeria | 30.5833° N, 2.8837° E

Antipodean Islands | 49.6884° S, 178.7681° E

Cherbourg, France | 49.6339°N, 1.6222°W

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