A green landscape of incredible scenery and remote beauty…New Zealand is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, waiting to be discovered. Once visited, the vast landscapes of New Zealand’s gloriously green nature are never forgotten, even if you feel lost in time in another world, as J.R.R. Tolkien himself wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost.”
How much do you know about this South Pacific Ocean island country? Check out our amazing facts below.
5 Amazing Facts About New Zealand
Did you know that there are actually no predators on the island? There is just one exception: a poisonous spider, the katipo, which thankfully hides away in the sand dunes. New Zealand is a wonderland of wildlife with whales, dolphins and penguins to spot. The country is home to the world’s largest parrot, the rare kakapo and another flightless bird is the kiwi, the national symbol of New Zealand, which has been around for some 70 million years.
Did you know that you can see volcanoes, snow-capped mountains and fiords, ancient forests and sweeping beaches, all in one day in New Zealand? The scenery is simply spectacular. Over 30% of New Zealand consists of national park land which is protected. Wherever you wander, you are never more than 128 km from gorgeous coastlines and sandy beaches. Fiordland on South Island, with its Southern Alps, lakes and valleys, is awe-inspiring and one of the largest national parks in the world, as well as being part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site. With a population of around 4 million, New Zealand is full of wide-open spaces. Voted the world’s finest walk, Milford Track near Queenstown, boasts over 53 km of unadulterated natural goodness.
Did you know that the indigenous Maori people arrived in New Zealand less than 1,000 years ago? Originating from Polynesia , the Maori’s call their country Aotearoa, which means ‘land of the long white cloud’. With a rich and colourful culture of folklore, music and performance, the Maoris make up around 15% of the population. Sacred moko markings, which are similar to tattoos but traditionally grooves rather than punctures, are a distinctive part of Maori culture; intriguing symbols on the face and body revealing family tales, incredible histories and community status.
Did you know that one of the most famous sports teams in the world are the New Zealand All Blacks with their powerful, pre-match haka; an ancestral war cry of Maori heritage? Kiwis take their activities seriously and rugby union is the country’s national sport.
What you might not know is that in 1986, history was made with the first commercial bungy jump in the world off the Greenhithe Bridge in Auckland. Two years later, Hacketts, who organised the jump, launched the first commercially operated site, a 43 metre jump off Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, a must for adrenaline-fuelled thrill seekers!
The real Middle-Earth
Did you know that Lord of the Rings fans can visit Middle-Earth in New Zealand with a tour of Hobbiton, the set of the award-winning trilogy of films by New Zealand native Peter Jackson? Not only did the movies boost the country’s economy but they attracted Tolkien-fans, and nature fans, from around the world, with thousands taking part in hobbit-related activities during their holiday. The star-studded extravaganzas are so much a part of the country’s culture that New Zealand has the sole right to put hobbit images on its currency!