New Zealand is a country that many have not visited. It seems like a place that is far removed from the rest of the world. While this may be true geographically, it is nevertheless a destination well worth the visit. As it offers some of the most beautiful natural landscapes of any country on Earth. It is little wonder that many filmmakers opted to shoot there over the years, notably, when Peter Jackson made his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Lush forests in national parks, glacier-covered mountains, volcanoes, and a very dynamic cultural scene are just some of the things one can explore in this remote island country.
New Zealand’s location
New Zealand is located in the Pacific Ocean, with its closest neighbour, Australia, just across the pond. The two countries have always been close and have a historical and cultural connection that goes back many years. But, be careful when you go there not to mix the two. New Zealand is not Australia, and the Kiwis are not Aussies. Although they have many things in common, there are also significant differences in their background and mentality. Proud New Zealanders will not be happy if they are mixed up for Australians. And vice versa.
The Kiwis, the name that New Zealanders are most commonly called all around the world, comes after the bird of the same name. That bird also happens to be the country’s national symbol. This nickname is so commonplace in their society that you can often find it in the official names of companies – KiwiRail, Kiwibank, Kiwi Savings etc. The Kiwi bird is also on the official emblem of the New Zealand Air Force.
Drive on the left side
Although discovered by the Dutch, New Zealand was eventually colonized by the British Empire. As a result, there are many aspects of British culture and society which are prevalent in New Zealand today. One modern-day factor reflective of this is the fact that traffic drives on the left side of the road, just like it is back in the UK. Don’t let the steering wheel on the right side detract you from jumping into a rental when you arrive here, as exploring this country in a vehicle is just about the best way one can experience all its wonderful sights and sounds.
New Zealand accent
As you might very well be aware, the main language spoken in New Zealand is English, but you might just be a little surprised when you hear it spoken for the first time. For the untrained ear, you might think you’re speaking to an Australian or maybe even a South African. But the New Zealand accent is very particular and is perhaps best illustrated when we look at a favourite fast food dish, popular all over the world – fish & chips. As an English speaker, you know exactly how this sounds, however, when a New Zealander orders their favourite fast food meal it sounds more like “fush and chups” – an amusing peculiarity of this regional dialect which is ultimately quite endearing and memorable.
Familiarize Yourself with Earthquakes
New Zealand is a very safe and well-regulated country and one should not have to worry about any issues when visiting it. One possible exception is the possibility of certain natural events occurring, that can negatively affect your stay – primarily, earthquakes. Thanks to its location in the Pacific Fire Zone, or the so-called Pacific Rim, New Zealand is subject to fairly frequent tremors and quakes. Likewise, there is also the possibility of volcanic eruptions occurring, while relatively rare, one particular incident happened quite recently off the coast of New Zealand on White Island.
However, thanks to the history of such events happening, many buildings around New Zealand are built solidly to resist the strongest of quakes. Even though you will most likely be safe in most situations, it is best to refresh the knowledge of what to do in case of such a thing happening while you’re visiting. If you’re travelling in a group, create a plan with your companions for what to do in the event of an earthquake. Determine a meeting place if you get lost and in case your phones don’t work. Keep in mind that during an earthquake, you should stay inside until the shaking stops. Secure shelter in the room you are in and wait for a safe moment to leave. If you are outdoors, get as far away as possible from all buildings and structures. If you are driving your car, drive to an open space, stop the vehicle and stay inside.
Unstable weather and dangerous sun
Much like Australia, New Zealand has a fairly thin ozone layer above it, and as such being overly exposed to the sun can result in unexpected skin burns or worse (even on overcast days). When visiting there, be mindful of the fact that when you’re out and about, skincare protection in the form of sunscreen, hats and long sleeve clothing is highly advisable. The intensity of the sun’s rays can cause harm throughout most of the year, and the period to be mindful of can start as early as spring.
Likewise, the weather itself can be a little unstable. Thanks to a fairly temperate climate, New Zealand is never quite too hot or too cold and the changes in temperature and conditions can be frequent and sudden. When visiting you should make sure that you’ve packed enough clothes for practically all the seasons and a raincoat wouldn’t go amiss either.
Although workers in New Zealand are generally well paid, leaving small and symbolic tips is a gesture of kindness and isn’t frowned upon.
Respect Maori culture
Around 15 percent of New Zealand’s population is Maori – the indigenous peoples that have lived there for centuries. Although their numbers have been declining since the eighteenth century, they have managed to maintain a strong community with a proud cultural heritage that continues to endure. The Maori enjoy considerable autonomy and have great respect for the Europeans who inhabited their land and brought over their own culture.
The Maori are very dedicated to the community and are proud of their customs and traditions which they continue to observe. Each village, for example, has a house that serves the whole community for socializing or important group meetings. This co-operative place, so to speak, commands a special significance to the Maori and foreign visitors and guests should not enter it without an invite from the host. Maori tend to greet people with a gentle touch of the palm or nose and if any of them initiate such a greeting, accept it as a gesture of friendship and mutual respect.
Nothing to wine about
If you are a wine lover, you need not look further, as New Zealand has countless notable wineries to choose from. While it might be a little overwhelming, if you wish to experience some of the best wines from this part of the world, you can do some research before you travel to get to know the best places worth visiting once you’re here. Likewise, having a little bit of knowledge under your belt will work wonders with your hosts when it comes time to discuss their efforts. New Zealanders are generally very proud of their New World wine and the overall high quality of the local producers.
With countless grape varieties on offer, whether you’re a Shiraz fan or a Sauvignon Blanc drinker, you’ll find that New Zealand can just about satisfy any thirst. Notably, the famously difficult to grow Pinot Noir grape has seen much success here, being the second most planted in the country. This is especially the case in the southern parts of the country where the weather is generally cooler and favoured by that specific grape variety.
Fun and Leisure in New Zealand
Besides great wine, biking or hiking, you can find more entertainment in the famous SkyCity Online Casino with plenty of opportunities to spice up your vacation. If in any case you find yourself in geo. restricted area, use a VPN to access all desirable websites.
The last to mention is Surfing. As the most common activity enjoyed by tourists and locals. You have to go surfing if you are visiting New Zealand.
This country offers a variety of unique experiences like no other. New Zealand is not easily accessible to everyone. Therefore, it is important to plan your stay in advance. And experience the spirit of that small country as much as possible.