New Zealand is a major tourist destination for thousands of people who visit each year. It’s visually one of the most magical places in the world. However, when visiting this stunning and diverse country, there is simply so much to see and do that you can feel overwhelmed just thinking about it. To ensure you don’t miss out on any fantastic highlights, we’ve put together this list of interesting facts about New Zealand that’ll have you looking forward to your next visit in anticipation.
Interesting Facts About New Zealand
New Zealand’s wildlife won’t cause you any harm
New Zealand is one of the few places in the world where there are no snakes. The land is rich in reptiles and birds, but there are in fact no snakes. You might find this a bit strange considering neighboring Australia is home to some of the world’s deadliest.
Asides from having no snakes, New Zealand has only three indigenous creatures capable of causing any harm at all: the katipo spider, the white-tailed spider, and the redback spider. However, the chances of you running into any of these spiders are none to zero, as they are extremely shy and tend to steer clear of humans. This means you can hike the length and breadth of the country in complete confidence of your safety not being compromised.
A very evenly populated country
Unlike other countries that have growing population, New Zealand is one of the world’s least populated countries. Its land mass is roughly the size of Japan, which has a population of over 120 million people. In New Zealand, the population is just over four million.
English speaking country with the longest place name
Before the arrival of settlers, New Zealand had a diverse population of indigenous people. Today, the government is going to extra lengths to incorporate many aspects of the indigenous New Zealander culture into that of the country as a whole. One such attempt is keeping Maori names of certain locations, such as the name given to a hill in South Hawke’s Bay. Containing 85 letters in total, it is: Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupo-kaiwhenuakitanatahu. When translated to English, the name doesn’t grow any shorter! A rough translation is, ‘Place where Tamatea, a man with large knees, who fell, climbed and ate mountains, known as the land-eater, played his nose flute to his dear ones’. Not something you’d want to say repeatedly!
New Zealanders are the first people to see the sun every day
Because of its unique geographical location, New Zealanders – especially those on the coast – are the first in the world to see the sun rise each day.
New Zealand is a big exponent of renewable energy
New Zealand is one of the world’s developed countries that has been able to attain a steady power supply. Unlike many other countries, New Zealand has been able to achieve this feat not through nuclear energy, but through mostly renewable power sources. There is not a single nuclear power station in the country. It is one of the lowest carbon dioxide-emitting countries and uses mostly hydropower, geothermal power and wind energy as its power source.
If you are a bird enthusiast, you’ll perhaps already know that New Zealand has a rich population of indigenous birds, of both the flightless and flying varieties. In fact, the only indigenous land mammal of New Zealand is the bat.
Of all the birds in New Zealand, the most popular and most celebrated is the Kiwi, which is one of the country’s national treasures. The Kiwi is a flightless bird that has been in existence for around 70 million years. It is completely blind, but what it lacks insight, it makes up for with its sense of smell. The Kiwi is loved by New Zealanders and considered to be a national symbol.
New Zealand boasts many other birds besides the Kiwi, with both the Kea and the Weka famed for their notoriety. The Kea is a type of parrot that loves nothing more than taking cars apart, while the Weka is a mischievous bird that enjoys stealing everything from food to shiny objects.
New Zealand is home to many rare animal species that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. One such rarity is the Hector Dolphin, a cute little guy that can usually be found swimming off the coast. They often don’t grow past 1.5 metres and are extremely adorable.
Takaka (in Nelson) is where you’ll find the extraordinary phenomenon of more than 2,000 million litres of fresh water spurting out of a limestone crack nonstop, all year round. This sight to behold can be enjoyed at Waikoropupu, near Takaka. The indigenous people refer to the place as Pupu Springs, which is the largest known cold water spring system to be found in the Southern Hemisphere.
An island for those who love the beach
If you are a big fan of watersports, it is worth knowing that nowhere in New Zealand is more than 120km from the coast. Anytime you feel like, you can simply pick a direction and keep traveling, safe in the knowledge that you’ll eventually hit the shoreline in less than 120km.
New Zealand is rich in volcanoes. Fortunately, many of them have been dormant for thousands of years now. In Auckland alone, you can find at least 50 volcanic cones, the biggest and most intimidating of which is the Rangitoto, that shields the Waitemata Harbour entrance.
So, what are you waiting for?! Grab your suitcase, book your travel insurance and head to New Zealand now. If you’ve been before, make sure you come again to discover just some of the many interesting things you may have missed during your previous visits.