We do things a little differently down under, actually only 5% of the population in New Zealand is human. Maybe it’s our animal instincts that make us so exotic and unique. From the alpine terrain to the glacially-fed rivers, the golden sand dunes to enchanting rainforests, New Zealand will captivate your every nous. Apart from our honesty and frankness, what differentiates New Zealand and its people from the rest of the world you may ask?
Fact 1 – Native Birds of New Zealand:
Well firstly our namesake, the Kiwi. This little guy is one of our national treasures and has been around for almost 70 million years. This flightless little bird, who is equivalent to the size of a domestic chicken, will lay eggs larger than their actual size. If you’re lucky enough to see the Okarito Kiwi, you’ll normally find them in a small area on the West Coast. Unfortunately, the Kiwi is blind, but that doesn’t stop them from having the most extremely sensitive nose, that will snuffle out any type of food. Spending most of their time away from daylight, they’re also a bit shy. Not like the inquisitive Kea who is the first on the scene at any event, and loves to eat the strips of rubber around car windows.
Fact 2 – Maori Place Name:
At 85 letters, Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupo-kaiwhenuakitanatahu, is the longest place name found in any English speaking country. Roughly translating too, “the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the land-eater, played his nose flute to his loved ones”. This 305 metre high hill, is situated in the southern Hawke’s Bay.
|Image Courtesy of newzealand.com|
Fact 3 – The Rugged Landscape of New Zealand:
While we’re hanging out in the Hawkes Bay, you should check out the famous Cape Kidnappers Golf Course. With its quirky bunkers and greens, the rustic club house is a great place to stop by and admire the cliff top views. While us Kiwis are passionate about rugby, Golf is still the most popular participated sport in New Zealand. With our world class landscapes perfectly suited to golf courses, no wonder there are more golf courses in New Zealand per capita of population than anywhere else in the world!
Fact 4 – Kayaking and Jet Boating:
And for you avid water sport fans out there, wherever you are at any given time in New Zealand, you’re never more than 128 kilometres (100 miles) from the ocean. And due to the moderating effect of the ocean here, our summer and winter temperatures will only differ by less than 10 degrees. From kayaking to jet boating, there’s no excuse not to enjoy the magnificence of the New Zealand waters.
|Active Adventures people kayaking|
Fact 5 – Milford Sounds Hector Dolphin:
One of our rarest subspecies, the Hector Dolphin, can be found sporadically off the coast of New Zealand. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for Hector and his pals, as they will only grow a maximum length of 1.5 metres. If you spot one, check out Hector’s dorsal fin, they look a little like a Mickey Mouse ear.
Fact 6 – Takaka in Nelson:
Imagine the size of an Olympic swimming pool, well more than 2,100 million litres of fresh water every 24 hours, will spurt through the cracks in the limestone Waikoropupu, near Takaka, which is part of the Nelson Province. Known to the locals as Pupu Springs, is the largest cold water spring system in the Southern Hemisphere. This mineral rich town is also known for is farming and sawmilling.
Fact 7 – Aoraki Mount Cook:
Head down a bit further and you can’t miss the glorious Aoraki Mount Cook. Aoraki Mount Cook is New Zealand’s, and Australasia’s, highest mountain reaching a whopping 3,754 metres high (12,316 ft). That’s nearly twelve Auckland Sky Tower buildings! In 1998, Mount Cook was renamed Aoraki Mount Cook to solidify its official Maori name.
Fact 8 – Hiking in New Zealand:
To make hiking easier for you, one of the added bonuses to your New Zealand experience is we have no snakes or dangerous wild animals. We do have one poisonous spider, but don’t worry the Katipo will mind its own business by keeping tucked away in the sand dunes.
|Mt Aspiring National Park – Siberia Park, Active Adventures Hiking Trip|
Fact 9 – Volcanos in New Zealand:
With its three harbours, and dozens of secluded bays and beaches, our beloved Auckland is also home to 50 volcanic cones. Most of these have been extinct and basically dormant for thousands of years. Rangitoto, the leader of this volcanic family, has only a few birds and insects that grace its presence. It does however have the largest forest of pōhutukawa trees. Rangitoto stands proud as he guards the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour.
Fact 10 – Christmas in New Zealand:
As we’re in the Southern Hemisphere, our Christmases fall in the summer season, when the pōhutukawa tree is full of crimson red blossoms. Some say that if you see the tree blossoming in early December, you’ll be in for a long summer. The tree in Maori tradition brings aroha, love, to the land and its people.
So there you have it, a snippet of New Zealand. The place where over 40 million sheep reside, the beauty that we call, “The Land of the Long White Cloud”. As Kiwis, we’d love to show you around and take you to these special spots that we call home.