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Here in Kiwiland, there's nothing we hate more than losing. Oh, wait. There's nothing we hate more than losing to Australia. Not that we have anything against our trans-tasman counterparts as such - we just like to be better.
So it’s fair to say we were more than a little hacked-off when we heard the Land Down Under was named Number One Dream Destination for British travellers - well ahead of a New Zealand holiday (as published by online trade press TravelMole).
Our nation came in third best. THIRD. Obviously, we’re a touch biased. But we think this corner of the world deserves a little more credit. Therefore, we present ten reasons why you should re-consider next year's vacay and head on down to Aotearoa.
1. We’re really nice people. Globally, New Zealanders have a reputation for being open, friendly and fair. We have a ‘pitch-in-and-help’ mentality, we embrace cultural diversity and equality, and recently - Forbes Magazine ranked us ‘The Friendliest Country In The World’. You can’t get much better than that!
2. Our scenery is awesome. Nowhere else can you find such such a varied range of landscapes in such close proximity. New Zealand has one of the most diverse ranges of scenery found anywhere in the world. We have long, untouched golden sandy beaches, tropical rainforests, active volcanoes, towering snowy mountains, icy blue lakes and windswept plains.
3. We have no creatures that bite. We may be small, but we have a vast range of unique and native animals - none of which can bite you! Visit us to see our national bird, the kiwi - not the sheep as thought by many - the tuatara, and the weka. They’re a little shy, but you’ll find them a lot less deadly than your average funnel-web spider or Australian brown snake.
4. Traveling is easy. Our roads are wide, well maintained and specifically signposted for tourists. You can drive from one side of the country to the other in a day, and from one end of the country to the other in two (okay, that's without stops, but the point is - it's not a long drive). Almost every town has an information centre solely responsible for helping you find your way around during your holiday.
5. We make great wine. With a unique blend of climate, soil conditions and location, our wine is renowned for its quality. Not only are many of our wineries built in jaw-droppingly beautiful places, but our wines regularly make it onto the 50 Top Wines in The World list.
6. We are culturally rich. Yeah, we’re less than 200 years old. But what we lack in crumbling buildings we make up for in vibrant, rich heritage. The original settlers of New Zealand - the Maori - play an important role in the traditions our country and our indigenous attractions are known around the world. We're also home to a strong film culture including Oscar Award winning Lord of The Rings, a thriving international fashion industry and are competitive in the global sports arena.
7. The weather is really good. It's not like it never rains, we aren’t saying that. But New Zealand has a very temperate climate. It very rarely gets too hot and it very rarely gets too cold. We have four distinct seasons: warm summers, crisp autumns, frosty winters, and fresh springs. Each are motivtion enough to head our way, but bottom line is the weather won’t hinder your enjoyment, whatever time of year you choose.
8. It’s safe. We're a haven for solo travelers. Need a little me-time away from the rat race? New Zealand is the place for you. And if you're planning a wilderness adventure - as mentioned above - there's nothing that can take a bite from you in the night. In fact, NZ is one of only two countries in the world that doesn't have snakes! That's reason enough to visit, if you ask us.
9. There aren't that many people. With a total population of the average Australian city, it’s easy to get some breathing room in New Zealand. Think of a country the size of the UK, only 4.5 million people. You can always find a deserted beach, a secluded piece of wilderness or an untouched forest clearing. But in saying that - you are never too far from any kind of help - none of this ‘getting stranded in the outback’ business.
10. We know how to ‘do’ adventure. Want to bungy jump? skydive? canyon swing, cliff dive, para-glide, abseil, go-kart, horse-ride, ice skate, ski, snowboard, luge, surf? You get the picture. New Zealand is your next thrill-seeking destination.
So there you have it, ten reasons why you should already be on your way. We really do mean it when we say that - Australasian rivalry aside - there's no reason why our cousins-across-the-ditch shouldn’t be on your bucket list. We just think a New Zealand holiday should be on there too. But don't take our word for it, come see for yourself.