Are you an outdoor enthusiast? If you are, in New Zealand, you’ll find everything you seek, from the untamed wasteland, soaring mountains, mist-cloaked fjords, golden beaches, to the charming towns with big doses of laid-back magic.
Due to the hospitable residents, you’ll probably meet new friends that’ll show you the calm bays of the North, the sky-high mountains to the South, and all sorts of beauty in-between. So if you’re up for the experience start preparing yourself by checking out these fun facts about New Zealand…
1. Where is New Zealand?
New Zealand is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, the southwesternmost part of Polynesia.
2. New Zealand is further away from Australia than you think.
New Zealand is a far-off land and lies more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Australia. New Zealand is, however, Australia’s nearest neighbor.
3. What exactly IS New Zealand?
New Zealand is an archipelago… a chain or cluster of islands, in other words! Its coordinates are 0000° S, 174.0000° E.
4. New Zealand has a growing populous.
NZ had a population of 4.886 million in 2018. With an area of 103,483 square miles (268,021 square kilometres) New Zealand’s population is relatively small compared to a population of 66.65 (2019) million in the UK, despite being similar in size!
5. Much of New Zealand is protected.
Approximately one third of NZ is protected national park.
6. New Zealand is multi-cultural.
15% of the population are Māori.
The Maori are an aboriginal tribe, thought have emigrated from the Polynesian Islands to New Zealand between 800-1300AD.
7. New Zealand has a physical divide.
The country includes two main islands, the North and South islands, and several small islands, some of them hundreds of miles from the main group.
8. New Zealand owns a variety of territories.
New Zealand manages the South Pacific island group of Tokelau and titles a piece of the Antarctic continent.
9. New Zealand is multi-lingual.
NZ boasts not one, not two, but three official languages; English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.
10. New Zealanders live long, healthy lives.
The life expectancy in NZ ranks amongst the highest in the world at 81.86 years (2018).
11. Try this tongue twister!
Named by the Māori, Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu, a 1,000 foot hill in Porangahau, near Hawkes Bay, has the longest place name in the world! Translated, it means “the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as ‘landeater’, played his flute to his loved one.” Lovely! The locals, however, just call it Taumata Hill.
12. Fancy a tipple?
By the way, Hawkes Bay is home to awards winning wines… we’re adding it to our list of places to go in NZ…
13. New Zealand has some curious wildlife!
NZ is home to the world’s smallest dolphin species, the Māui – unfortunately they are ‘critically endangered’, with less than 100 in the wild.
14. New Zealand is a tourist hotspot.
TripAdvisor named NZ’s Milford Sound as the world’s top travel destination in 2008 and Wanderlust Magazine voted NZ as the world’s best country in 2007 and 2008.
15. New Zealand has a fitting name.
New Zealand’s Maori name is Aotearoa meaning the land of the long white cloud. If you look up in the sky in New Zealand you’ll find out why they went with this name!
16. Big scientific leaps took place here!
The first person in the world to split the atom in 1919 was Baron Ernest Rutherford, a New Zealander.
17. New Zealand is a sporting nation.
Rugby is the most popular spectator sport in New Zealand, while golf is the most popular participation sport, with more golf courses in New Zealand per capita of population than any other country in the world.
The first-ever Rugby World Cup, held in 1987, was won by New Zealand.
18. New Zealand are big Olympic champions, too.
New Zealand has won more Olympic gold medals per capita, than any other country.
19. NZ and the UK share anthems.
“God Save the Queen”, England’s national anthem, was the first national anthem of New Zealand.
New Zealand’s more commonly recognised national anthem, “God Defend New Zealand”, became the second national anthem in the 1970s by request, and with the Queen’s blessing.
20. NZ breeds famous adventurers.
Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest, and you guessed it, he was a Kiwi!
21. Ever seen an Arctic bird down under?
Oddly, NZ is home to more species of penguins than any other country.
22. Critters galore!
If you don’t like creepy crawlies, perhaps skip this fact… The heaviest insect in the world, the Giant Weta lives in New Zealand. Unfortunately, it’s heavier than a sparrow and looks like a giant cockroach which makes us shiver in our boots!
23. Very little slithering!
On the plus side, there are no native or introduced land snakes in New Zealand.