Tasman Sea

Which body of water separates New Zealand and Australia?

And the answer: Tasman Sea.    

Photo credit: TheEagleEye.

The Tasman Sea is a section of the Pacific Ocean located between Australia and Tasmania in the west and New Zealand in the east. It was named for Abel Tasman, the Dutch navigator who navigated it in 1642.

As a major trading route between parts of Oceania and the rest of Australia and New Zealand, the Tasman Sea experiences a significant volume of goods moving through its waters. Similarly, shipping consignments destined for other parts of the globe pass through the Tasman Sea to reach nations in southeast Asia or across the Pacific to the Americas. Besides trade routes on the Tasman Sea, it is also a picturesque, albeit stormy, location with the opportunity to live close to a hub of activity and a major trade route on the Southern Hemisphere.

While it may pale in comparison to other major bodies of water in the world, the Tasman Sea is quite substantial in size. Stretching some 1,800 miles in length, the full surface area of the sea clocks in at around 88,000 square miles. Located near a series of oceanic ridges and peaks, the sea can become treacherous to cross during certain times of year. The sea is buffeted by headwinds acting against the trade winds (Easterlies) for most of the yea, making passage of the Tasman Sea by boat or kayak difficult.

The Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand is known as “The Ditch”. The exact origin of this phrase is not known, but the usage became prominent in the late 18th century. Various theories have been suggested over the years as to its origin. One such theory is that New Zealand was sparsely inhabited and a heavily forested area when early explorers from Australia crossed the Tasman Sea. Combined with the rough weather conditions en route, plans for a potential trade route to New Zealand had to be abandoned. With time, the Australian explorers began calling New Zealand “across the ditch”.

Learn more about the Tasman Sea here.

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