New Zealand is Australia’s closest neighbour with 4.5 million residents and some of the most stunning scenery in the world. Jaw dropping fjords, glimmering glaciers, active volcanoes, abundant wildlife, award winning wineries and stomach dropping adrenaline activities are all just a hop, skip and a jump from Australia.
Forget what you may already know about this rugby loving nation here are 10 facts about New Zealand that will impress your friends and help you win at the next pub trivia night.
The Maori name of New Zealand is Aotearoa which translates to the ‘land of the long white cloud’. The nation is made up of two major land masses- the North Island and the South Island and regardless of where you are located in the country you will never be more than 128km from the sea.
Treaty of Waitangi
The treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document and agreement between the British Crown and Maori chiefs to form a nation and establish a government. The document was signed on February 6, 1840 on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands and the day is now celebrated as a national public holiday every year.
New Zealand sits on the Pacific Rim of Fire making it prone to earthquake and volcanic activity. In fact there are 50 active volcanoes in Auckland alone. The country’s largest and most active volcano is Mount Ruapehu on the North Island but you would hardly know it as the area serves as an adventurer’s playground with some of the best ski fields, mountain bike trails, hikes and remarkable views. The region features its very own crater lake warmed by volcanic activity below the earth’s surface and steaming can be seen at the summit.
Universal Voting Rights
A little known fact about New Zealand is that they have paved the way for equality as the first nation to have universal voting rights for men and women since 1893. To date, the country has had three female prime ministers including the current one- Jacinda Ardern.
Minister for The Lord of the Rings
There are many movies that have been filmed in New Zealand but the most popular of them all has to be The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. The movie industry is very important to the New Zealand economy and tourism industry so when the filming took place the government appointed a ‘Minister for the Lord of the Rings’. Fans of the films can visit to the rolling hills of Matamata to see the remains of the movie set where Peter Jackson filmed Bilbo and Frodo’s home.
World’s clearest lake
Its official. The Blue Lake in Nelson Lakes National Park has been named as the clearest lake in the world with visibility up to 80 metres on a good day. The lake is fed by a spring at 1200m above sea with frigid temperatures between 5 to 8 degrees Celsius.
No snakes or deadly spiders
While Australia has almost every deadly snake and spider known to man you’ll be delighted to know that New Zealand has no snakes and the few spiders that exist are venomous but not deadly.
World’s steepest residential street
San Francisco may lay claim to the world’s most crooked street with 8 sharp turns but Dunedin holds the title of the world’s steepest residential street. On any given day, you can find hordes of locals attempting to walk upper section of Baldwin street that has a 35% gradient.
The southernmost capital city in the world
You may already be aware that Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand but it is also the most southern capital city in the world.
Experience Oz is your guide to all things New Zealand. Filled with some of the most spectacular and inspiring scenery, why not place the country at the top of your travel list. For more travel inspiration head to our main experiences page for a full list of things to do in Australia and New Zealand.