Known as “The land of the long white cloud” by Maoris and “Middle Earth” by just about everyone else, New Zealand one of the most strikingly beautiful places in the world. “The Lord of the Rings” movies are testament enough to this far away country’s beauty. Whether you’re talking about the jaw-dropping fiords of Fiordland National Park in the southwest or mind-blowing Mt. Taranaki of the North Island, New Zealand is home to natural beauty in just about every form.
In a country famous for having more sheep than people, there is an astounding amount of diversity. The diversity isn’t necessarily found in the people but with the landscape itself. In New Zealand, you can see everything from gorgeous white sand beaches to snow-capped mountain ranges and everything in between. We’ve compiled a short list of what to know and what to do for anyone interested in the country of the Kiwis.
For those who are unaware, New Zealand has two distinctly different islands. North Island is more densely populated, accounting for approximately 75% of the country’s inhabitants and its largest city, Auckland. It is also home to the largest population of Polynesians in the world! The South Island is more diverse, sporting lakes, fiords, glaciers, lakes and more! Adventure sports like bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, parasailing and paragliding reign on the South Island, while traditional white sand beaches draw crowds up north.
Each island brings its own history, tradition and ambiance to the table. So when deciding on which you should visit, do a little research to figure out which of these amazing islands better fits your interests.
People in the United States are typically friendly. Sure we have some bad apples but who doesn’t? Well, it appears New Zealand might be that place. Speaking from personal experience, New Zealanders are not just friendly, they are jarringly friendly. Strangers will offer help and take 20 minutes out of their day just to have a genuine conversation about anything. In various polls, they routinely rank among the world’s friendliest places. In 2018, it’s difficult to find a country without cynicism; New Zealand is one of the few.
There’s an adage in New Zealand: four seasons in a day, which can make for tricky packing. Since the country has such varied landscapes, varied weather also comes along with it. It can go from downright freezing to beach balmy in a matter of hours, especially if you are covering some distance. The good news is, unlike in Australia where every animal under the sun is poisonous, New Zealand's wildlife is about as dangerous as your house cat. No kicking rocks, wondering if the deadliest snake on earth is around the corner. Walk as carefree as you wish, knowing you’re hiking in one of the most gorgeous places in the world without a single snake!