Probably one of the most remarkable features of New Zealand is that down under everything is as it should be. People are nice and the busses are never late. It’s like Britain, but with many crazy animals, insanely beautiful nature and astonishing history. It’s an oxymoron that every traveler hopes for.
A few facts about New Zealand
- New Zealand and Australia together are called Oceania.
- The total area of New Zealand is 268,021 km2.
- New Zealand has 15,000 km of coastline.
- The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – the North Island and the South Island (plus numerous smaller islands).
- New Zealand has the most plants and animal species that are endemic.
- New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans.
- Since human arrival, almost half of the country's vertebrate species have become extinct, including at least fifty-one birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, and one bat.
- Natives of New Zealand are called the Māori.
- Māori have bigger health issues as other nations in that area.
- The kiwi is a national symbol of New Zealand. It’s the name of the endemic bird and also a nickname for people living there.
- For a long time, people thought Kiwi is a mammal, not a bird. The Kiwis don’t defend themselves with their beaks but instead, use their super sharp claws.
- In New Zealand summer lasts from December to February.
- The average New Zealand temperature decreases as you travel south.
- There are almost 260 movies that were filmed or produced in New Zealand.
- New Zealand entered World Wars I and II on the side of the United Kingdom.
- New Zealand dollar is a currency in New Zealand
- When in New Zealand, you have to drive on the left side of the road.
- Only half of the 1500 rail crossings in New Zealand have automatic alarms.
- Products of animal origin account for more than half the total value of New Zealand's exports.
- The country's health care system is still mostly tax-funded.
It’s all about nature
What amazing natural feature would you like to see? Glaciers? Volcanoes? Fiords? Well, they have it all. But the point is that New Zealand has an extremely diverse nature and geography.
- If you would like to see fiords, you have to visit Fiordland, New Zealand’s West Coast where14 fiords cover the 215 km of coastline. Its one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand. It is the perfect location for sports activities, taking pictures or just relaxing and taking in the stunning mountain scenes. Milford Sound fiord is most known. It has been judged the world's top travel destination in 2008 international survey by Trip Advisor and is acclaimed as New Zealand's most famous tourist destination.
- Glacier Country of New Zealand has three regions; Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, and Okarito. It’s on the West Coast of the South Island and is a 3.5-hour drive from Wanaka and a 5.5-hour drive from Christchurch. It’s a beautiful, peaceful, and enjoyable place to spend a sunny afternoon.
- One of the most astonishing parts of New Zealand is volcanoes. New Zealand has been the site of many large explosive eruptions during the last two million years. If you want to stand on an active volcano, you have to visit White Island, called Whakaari, that is New Zealand’s only active marine volcano.
- Visiting national parks is always a good idea when traveling, especially if you travel with your family. They offer you relaxation, sports activities and some quality time together. Tongariro National Park is the oldest national park in New Zealand. It has been acknowledged by UNESCO as one of the 28 mixed cultural and natural World Heritage Sites.
- A part of New Zealand that you also have to see with your own eyes is The Bay of Islands, where you can enjoy a view of 140 scattered islands. It’s known for its undeveloped beaches, big-game fishing, and Maori cultural artifacts. You can book a boat tour, or visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand's most important historic site. It’s the place where Māori chiefs first signed their agreement with the British Crown.
Don’t let us start on all the amazing flora and fauna...
When in New Zealand, everything seems a bit different, also because surrounding nature that is so unique. Grand majority of plants in New Zealand is endemic, which means they grow only there. Regarding fauna, New Zealand is not very diverse, but it is extremely rare. Kiwi is the most known animal of New Zealand. The Kiwi is classified as a bird, but do not fly, they barely even have wings.
An interesting fact about New Zealand is that until the arrival of humans, around 900 years ago, this country was completely free of mammals, except seals, sea lions, whales, and bats. The land was walked only by 60 species of lizard, four species of frog, and two species of lizard-like tuatara.
If you want to see native and more well-known animals, we suggest you visit Orana Wildlife Park. Willowbank is the second most praised destination for families and animal lovers. It’s a wildlife reserve, where you can also experience unique traditions and history of Maori.
Other interesting sights and things to do in New Zealand
- Visit the most breath-taking view by ascending on Sky City Auckland, that is 328 km high and offers you an 80 kilometers view in every direction.
- Go to the Air Force Museum that is one of New Zealand’s premier attractions. It has over 30 historic aircraft, hands-on exhibitions and programs, guided tours and even a flight simulator.
- If you are a Tolkien fan, you must visit Hobbiton, a village where Hobbit movie was shot. There are also numerous other guided tours that will show you all the Middle-Earth.
- As a visitor to New Zealand, you can experience the Māori culture by visiting different marae parts (tribal meeting grounds – where the culture is celebrated). But you can only do this with an organized tour. There you can see carved meeting houses, meet the local people, you can get yourself a Māori tattoo, or enjoy a hāngi feast cooked in earth ovens.
Got a kid? No biggie!
New Zealand is a travel destination that will be as great for your children as it will be for you. This land offers you many family-friendly activities, zoos and wild parks, exciting history sights, theme and leisure parks, and hotel resorts. See more about this here »
Hiring a car in New Zealand
New Zealand is long and narrow with about 15,000 km of coastline. The roads are very well maintained, drivers are friendly, and they offer you a grand view wherever you are. That being said, there is no surprise that New Zealand is one of the best countries for renting a car and exploring it to the fullest.