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Aoetaroa, the land of the long white cloud (in Maori) is one of the world’s most remote countries to visit.
Eager to explore the craggy coastlines of the Bay of Islands? Or shop-till-you-drop in the new trendy pop-up city centre of Christchurch? Perhaps you’re dangling for an adrenaline rush in Queenstown or a wet and wild experience with nature up close?
Whether you’re an winter wanderer, wildlife enthusiast or a wine ‘n dine type traveller there’s something for just about every type of tourist in New Zealand!
So are you a newbie to New Zealand? Travelinsurance.co.nz brings first timers 10 travel tips for the country with more culture than you can shake a stick at!
1. You’ll experience four seasons in one day
Wear layers and wrap up, pack your swimmers and an umbrella, only then you’ll just about be prepared for a day’s adventure in the country that experiences four seasons in a day! One minute you’ll be lying on the beach, the next you’re being pummelled by hail. A thrilling experience for the well-planned traveller. From the windy city of Wellington, to the brisk air of the Fox Glacier or the balmy breeze of Bay of Islands, travelling around New Zealand you’ll cerainly experience all weathers – so be prepared!
2. There are no snakes
Ophidiophobics rejoice! Believe it or not there are no land snakes in New Zealand? (WHAT…none at all we hear you cry!?) No really, there are not, just one of the benefits of being so isolated from the rest of the world by the Pacific Ocean. Still want your fix of angry animals? Why not take a trip to Auckland Zoo, home to 138 different species and over 875 animals!
3. New Zealanders aren’t very good at counting
Ninety Mile Beach at the top of the north island is actually only 90 kilometres long, not 90 miles! We’ll forgive them for the slight blunder, only because the beach has some of the best surf you can get. And, not only that the beach is also officially a highway that you can drive along….just make sure you’ve got a 4wd and know the tides before you set off so as to avoid any nasty suprises!
4. You can swim with 1000 dolphins at once
Drive 2.5 hours north of Christchurch to Kaikora and you can you can swim with some of the biggest pods of dusky dolphins on the planet. Make sure you’ve had a warm cuppa before you enter the water as it’s a brisk 13oc …..brrr! Did you also know, New Zealand is home to the world’s smallest (and very rare) Hector dolphin, if you’re lucky enough to encounter- check out their dorsal fin it looks like a Mickey Mouse ear. Oh boy!
5. It can be really stinky
Sat on the Pacific rim, New Zealand is home to A LOT of active volcanoes due to the constant movement of the tectonic plates. All this geothermal activity brings its share of thrills and spills to the surface. A trip to Roturua for example in the north island is a unique playground for gurgling mud puddles, huge geysers of boiling water and colossal puffs of steam. A stinky side affect being a whole lot of sulphur is brought to the surface making it really pongy! Make you pack some nose plugs for the adventure!
6. You’re never far from a sheep
In New Zealand there are approximately 9 sheep to every human! (Now that is a lot of sheep…baaah) Did you know that only 5% of New Zealand’s inhabitants are human in fact? And, more people live in Auckland than in the whole of the South Island (that must be where all the sheep are then!)
7. New Zealanders REALLY love lord of the rings (& the Hobbit)
So much so that they changed the City of Wellington’s name to Middle Earth for a day, and added characters Gandalf, Frodo and Sam to their postage stamps. If you’re also a hard core fan, why not take a two hour guided tour to the Hobbiton village movie set. Now is a really good time to go as the full set is still there from filming of the Hobbit movie.
8. Sign language is an official language
English is the main lingo of the land, as well as their local language of Maori, however in 2006 New Zealand became the first country to declare sign language as an official language. Good old Kiwis! Experience Maori culture at its best at the Tamaki Maori Village sat within a natural forest environment, offering both local and international visitors an insight into the Maori culture.
9. New Zealand has Australasia’s highest mountain
Aoraki Mount Cook in the South island is a soaring 3,754 metres high (12,316 ft.) The Mackensie region where the mountain is situated is great for the adventure traveller – from easy trekking and tramping to gruelling alpine hikes, climbing on Aoraki has options for people of all walks of life. Did you know the Aoraki Mount Cook mountain was the peak that Sir Edmund Hillary practised on before his successful ascent of Everest?
10. The Kiwis invented the bungy jump as we know it
Staying on the subject for heights, back in 1988 New Zealand was the first country to start commercial bungy jumping at the Kawarau Bridge. Some never thought it would catch on, how wrong they were! (Did you also know the word "bungee" comes from a dialect from the west country of England meaning “Anything thick and squat”). If you’ve got a head for heights, head to Queenstown if you dare to dangle an epic 134m above the Nevis River, the highest Bungy in New Zealand is a once in a lifetime experience.
Pack these fascinating facts with you on your journey to New Zealand and you’ll be in your way to a filled holiday quicker than you can say “Kia Ora”!