13 facts you didn't know about New Zealand that could make your travels around the country even better...
1. Take care on your travels around alpine environments in the South Island. The Kea – a native New Zealand bird – likes to eat the strips of rubber around your car windows. Mischievous, pesky and cute, all at the same time.
2. No part of New Zealand is more than 128km from the sea. Wake up inland and drive to the ocean all in one day! Sounds like an ideal itinerary to us…
3. Auckland is home to 48 volcanoes and you can walk or drive up many of them! The most accessible are Rangitoto, Mount Eden and One Tree Hill, each providing spectacular views of Auckland City, its surrounds and the harbour.
4. New Zealand is the first country in the world to operate a commercial bungee jump, taking place in Queenstown in 1988. There are now several bungee jumps across the country including in Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo and Queenstown.
5. Auckland, also called the City Of Sails, has more boats per capita than any other country in the world. Walk around West Haven, climb North Head, or sit on the beach at Mission Bay for a spectacular viewing.
6. The steepest street in the world - Baldwin Street - is in Dunedin (South Island). With a 38-degree gradient, it attracts many tourists and hosts the annual Jaffa Race, in which 30,000 Giant Jaffa’s (hard chocolate filled candy) are rolled down the street.
7. Approximately two-thirds of the South Island is made up of mountain ranges, known as the Southern Alps. A number of ski-fields with spectacular skiing in the winter run almost the entire length of the Southern Alps. This includes Coronet Peak and The Remarkables in Queenstown, Cardrona and Treble Cone in Wanaka, Mount Hutt just outside of Christchurch and a range of smaller club fields.
8. The Blue Lake in Nelson has the clearest water in the world. According to research results, visibility in the lake is up to 80 metres – almost as clear as distilled water! It’s hard to find though. Only the most dedicated of hikers will experience its beauty thanks to the epic traverse required to get there.
9. In Rotorua, the Lady Knox Geyser erupts once a day at 10.15am at Wai-o-Tapu, a geothermal tourist attraction. There is plenty of geothermal activity in the Rotorua area in fact, that you can walk through town and see steam escaping from vents, boiling mud pools in public parks and hot pools heated from under the ground!
10. The “Pavlova” is New Zealand’s most celebrated dessert. Often served at Christmas time, the Pavlova is a meringue cake topped with cream and fresh fruit; however, you can generally find this dessert in many restaurants throughout the year, so make sure you have a taste on your travels!
11. Tramping or hiking is one of New Zealand’s favourite past times and our walking tracks are internationally renowned. According to Lonely Planet in 2012, the Routeburn Track (at the base of the Southern Alps) is the seventh best walking track in the world.
12 Approximately one-third of New Zealand is protected national park. There is a range of activities that visitors can indulge in at each national park. Why not try skiing at Mount Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park, mountain biking at the Nelson Lakes or hiking through the Fiordland National Park?
13. Internationally recognised, New Zealand is a quality wine-producing country. In fact, seven New Zealand wines were on the world’s Top 50 most admired list in 2012. Brands include Brancott Estate, Oyster Bay, Cloudy Bay, Villa Maria, Babich, Wither Hills and Nobilo. A visit to New Zealand is incomplete without wining and dining at one of these internationally acclaimed vineyards.
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