As soon as a blog post about New Zealand needs writing, I always seem to be the first at STA Travel Towers to stick my hand up. (I definitely don’t throw myself at our editor Lisa’s feet and beg, “Pick me! Pick me!” Honest.).
Why do I love writing about New Zealand? Well, because I love New Zealand. I’m lucky enough to have been twice in the last year: once to the South Island in June when it was covered in snow – white, serene and magical; and again to the North Island in February when the sun was out, the stunning landscapes were lush and green, and the skies were blue with long wispy clouds (it’s not called the Land of the Long White Cloud for nothing). Two very different experiences, but both equally amazing.
New Zealand: what's not to like?
Obviously, I’m not alone in my love for New Zealand. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to on the subject – be it friends, colleagues or you, our lovely customers – has fallen head over heels in love with this out-of-the-way country that has a population of just 4 million people.
Just what is it about New Zealand? What’s all the fuss about, eh? Well, I’m going to tell you. With the help of our Twitter community, here are 49 reasons why this wonderful country rocks our world.
49 reasons the world is totally in love with New Zealand
1. There are more adrenalin sports than you could shake a stick at. Where else could you bungy jump, canyon swing, sky dive, jet boat ride, scuba dive and more, all in the same day if you wanted too? Basically, nowhere else.
2. You can roll down a hill in an inflatable ball in Rotorua.
— Clare Greenwood (@cegreenwood) April 15, 2014
4. It has mind-blowing glaciers like Franz Josef that you can land on in a helicopter, before walking over them. That’s walking on giant mountains of ice, people. Incredible.
5. It’s the only place in the world where you can get a Fergburger. Never heard of it? This blog post should clear a few things up for you.
6. It’s home to The Hobbit. And Lord of the Rings. Love it or hate it, it’s a movie phenomenon that brought the beauty of New Zealand to the masses. See the movie scenes for yourself and pay a visit to Hobbiton.
— Alice Young (@manc_alice) April 15, 2014
8. This country is made for road trippin’. The population is only 4 million people – that’s hardly anyone – so you’ll often have long stretches of road to yourself.
9. It’s the only country where us Brits can automatically get a working holiday visa for up to 23 months until we’re 30 – and they’ll let us work for up to 12 months until we’re 35. Sweeet.
10. You can surf on sand dunes in Northland.
11. Every year as part of the Queenstown Winter Festival, Coronet Peak is cleared of skiers and snowboarders so that the dogs can have a go. Seriously. Speight’s Dog Derby sees people and theirs dogs racing down a snow covered mountain. Why? Why not? See the dogs in action:
12. New Zealand produced singing sensation Lorde. Which is pretty cool isn’t it.
13. Not only is New Zealand home to the world’s best wine (FACT), you can go to the wineries and taste it from the source. Hick.
14. Kiwis are incredibly proud of their Maori heritage. The language, culture and traditions are still a massive part of modern New Zealand.
15. There are no snakes in New Zealand. So you’re less likely to die in New Zealand than most other places. Bonus!
16. It’s the proud owner of the longest place name in any English speaking country. That’s Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, since you asked. It’s Maori, and roughly translates as “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one”.
17. The people. Kiwis are the friendliest, most welcoming people you could ever hope to meet, and they love their country.
18. If you’re in New Zealand, you’re in one of the first places in the world to see the sun rise.
19. They’ve made a Maori version of the X Factor, called The Kapa, looking for the best haka performer in New Zealand. Genius.
20. It’s the only place in the world where you can go black water rafting in caves with only the light of glowworms to guide your way. Head to the Waitomo Caves and join one of their amazing tours which will see you abseiling and jumping off waterfalls into the cave rivers below. One of the most magical things I have ever done.
21. It’s as beautiful, accessible and fun-packed as it is in winter as it is in summer:
22. You can buy a necklace to bring you luck. Or fertility. Or to represent friendship and harmony. Or to symbolise just about anything, really. The beautiful greenstone (jade) necklaces are carved by the Maori people into different shapes, each of which has a different meaning. Find out more here
@STATravel_UK Fergburger & Milford Sound… I’d go back in the morning!
— Jennifer Cochrane (@Cockerbelles) April 15, 2014
24. It’s beautiful. Like, seriously beautiful – and so unspoilt. From the turquoise glacial lakes and soaring snow-capped mountains of the South Island to the subtropical rainforests and stunning (and often deserted) beaches of the north, New Zealand is diverse and picture perfect in its beauty.
25. Its home to Winnie’s and Hell’s Pizza. If you haven’t been, trust me when we say that this is some seriously good pizza. And a country that works hard at perfecting pizza is alright with me.
26. You can go rock climbing and roller blading in the middle of capital city, Wellington.
27. Thanks to the geothermal activity, you can dig your very own (free) hot pool at Hot Water Beach.
28. New Zealand is undisputedly the home of the bungee jump, ever since Kiwi AJ Hackett opened the world’s first commercial bungee at Kawarau Bridge, Queenstown.
29. It’s so easy to get around! Compared to Australia, New Zealand really isn’t that big. You could comfortably explore both islands in a month.
30. There are natural hot pools all over New Zealand. Is there a better way to unwind than by chilling in a hot spring with some amazing views of mountains? If there is, I don’t want to know about it.
31. You can swim with wild dolphins at the Bay of Islands or Tauranga in the North Island, or at Kaikoura in the South. Our Lisa lists her dolphin swim as one of the best thing’s she’s ever done, ever.
@STATravel_UK unbelievably stunning. Queenstown is the best place in the world. My mum wouldn’t let me back, as I’d probably/definitely stay
— Nicole Robertson (@bertie_89) April 15, 2014
33. There’s a railway track made of wine bottles on the Coromandel Peninsula. Yes, you can ride it.
34. Its home to chocolate fish. This sweet treat is a Kiwi institution, made of marshmallow, covered in chocolate and shaped like fish (duh).
35. Wellington has free Wifi everywhere.
36. Four words. Flight Of The Conchords:
37. The are 20 times more sheep than people in New Zealand, FACT.
38. Auckland has the country’s narrowest neck of land – it’s just a 2km walk from the east to west coast .
39. It’s produced some of the world’s best beer. Hello, Steinlager and Montheith’s Radler.
40. The small town of Tirau in South Waikato has more structures made out of corrugated iron than anywhere else. There’s a big dog made out of corrugated iron, a big sheep (see point 37), and loads of sculptures dotted around the town.
41. There’s a theme park dedicated to puzzles. It’s called Puzzling World (nice) and you can find it in Wanaka on the South Island.
42. L&P, or Lemon & Paeroa, is a New Zealand soft drink phenomenon. It’s lemony, bubbly and delicious.
@STATravel_UK you lose all sense of fear and do things you would never think about doing normally back home doing like skydiving
— Zoe (@zoedraper) April 15, 2014
44. Following the devasting earthquake in 2011, Christchurch has risen like a phoenix. It’s home to some seriously cool pop up bars and the iconic Cardboard Cathedral.
45. In 2006, the Queen, the Governor-General, the PM, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chief Justice were all women #sistersaredoingitforthemselves
46. No part of the country is more than 128km from the sea.
47. You can be one of the first people in the world to see in the New Year at Rhythm and Vines’ festival.
48. There are no nuclear power stations.
49. There are toilets made of stained glass in the Bay of Islands