Interesting facts about New Zealand

New Zealand is fascinating and totally unique in the world. See some of what makes Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) so special.

Introduction to New Zealand:

  • Original Maori name: Aotearoa
  • Original Maori name for Auckland: Tamaki Makaurau
  • Amazing scenery, fabulous festivals, superb food and wine, and magical outdoor experiences
  • Unique culture, huge range of outdoor activities, very friendly people
  • Over 1/3 of New Zealand is made up of protected parkland and marine reserves
  • Wide variety of scenery, vegetation and geography, opportunities to camp, mountain bike, fish, hike, kayak and so much more
  • NZ is a haven for those seeking peace, rejuvenation and relaxation as well as a playground for thrill seekers and adventurers

Population:

  • 4.5 million inhabitants, of which 1/3 lives in the exciting and most vibrant metropolis: Auckland, which you can check out on  Auckland Tours
  • NZ is multicultural as many Kiwis are either immigrants or their descendants
  • First settlers were the Maori, followed by large numbers of immigrants from the United Kingdom, people from neighbouring Pacific Islands including Samoa and Tonga, Chinese and Korean migrants, and new residents from a wide range of countries such as the US, South Africa, Zimbabwe and India. Check out Maori Tours
  • Modern, secular, democratic society, with no ingrained class system
  • Freedom of speech, expression and religious beliefs are guaranteed by law and widely practiced
  • Favourite sports include rugby, cricket, hiking, kayaking, fishing, white-water rafting, football, basketball and skiing

Weather:

  • Varies greatly throughout the country
  • It could be sunny and warm on the East Coast, while pouring with rain on the West Coast
  • Four seasons in one day is not that unusual
  • For example Auckland has 265 days of sunshine per year
  • Range of temperatures between winter and summer is less extreme than in most countries
  • Maximum temperature during summer ranges between 20-30°C (68-86OF)
  • In winter, the average maximum temperature ranges between 10-15°C (50-59OF). The northern half of the North Island is the warmest part of the country throughout the year, which is perfect for outdoor activities

Best travel times:

  • New Zealand is a popular summer destination, both for overseas and domestic visitors. This is partly due to the fascinating Maori culture, amazing scenery and also the huge success of the films "The Lord of the Rings" and the upcoming "The Hobbit"
  • Summer and winter temperatures vary by only 10ºC to 15ºC in most of the country, making New Zealand an ideal holiday destination year-round
  • Best travel times are the warmer high-season months (November to April)
  • Summer (December to February) is the best time for food and wine festivals, concerts and sports events in the main cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
  • June to August is skiing high season
  • Similar to Australia, try to avoid school holidays (particularly mid-December to late January) and public holidays if possible
  • The cooler, less touristy ‘shoulder’ periods (October/November and April/May) are  a great time of year to travel
  • You need to be well prepared for all weather conditions when traveling through NZ, as weather can change quickly


Things people might not know about New Zealand:

  • Unlike Australia, New Zealand does not have any dangerous or poisonous animals (with the one tiny exception of the Katipo Spider);
  • In NZ you will hear the word “Kiwi” quite a lot – on the one hand there is the native flightless bird and  the Kiwi Fruit but on the other hand it is also used as a slang term for a New Zealander
  • New Zealand was the first major nation to have universal suffrage - In 1893 it became legal for all male and female citizens of New Zealand to vote
  • New Zealand is one of only three countries that have two official (and of equal standing) national Anthems. The first is God Save the Queen (the English National Anthem) and the other is God Defend New Zealand. The other two countries with two anthems are Denmark and Canada which both have a Royal Anthem and a State anthem.
  • Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world and is also known as “the city of sails”. It has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world
  • Wellington, the Capital City of New Zealand, is the southernmost capital city in the world
  • New Zealand is a plastic nation – many personal financial transactions are made with a card – credit or otherwise. Most shops offer EFTPOS (similar to the UK Chip and Pin which appeared two years later) and cash is seen less and less. So ensure you bring a credit card to NZ if possible.
  • New Zealand was the last major landmass to be populated (with the exception of the polar regions)
  • Sir Edmund Hillary – the first man to reach the peak of Mount Everest (with his climbing partner Tenzing Norgay) was a New Zealander (born in Auckland) and his face is on the New Zealand $5 bill

To experience the very best of Auckland, check out TIME Unlimited Tours, one of New Zealand's most awarded tourism companies, operating Auckland's most comprehensive range of high-quality tours.

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