15 Fun Facts About New Zealand (I’ve Been There 7 Times!)

fun facts new zealand featured image

Is New Zealand next on your bucket list? If not, it should be! This South Pacific country offers a lot, from beautiful peaks to mesmerizing beaches. And for Australians like me, it makes for the perfect weekend getaway. So much so that I’ve been there 7 times!

So if you are considering a visit to New Zealand, these stunning facts will compel you to pack your bags, book your ticket and explore this gorgeous country. You might not ever want to leave!

1. Home To More Animals Than Humans

New Zealand has more sheep than humans, and let’s not count the other animals either. The size of the island is almost as much as the UK, but the population is 90% less.

You’ll never feel crowded in by people and you’ll get to experience many natural landscapes of the country with hardly anyone around.

2. This Island Was The Last Place To Be Inhabited By Humans

Humans found this island that emerged from a volcanic eruption approximately 800 years ago. It was the last place homo sapiens travelled, thousands of years later than the rest of the world.

Quite a new country, isn’t it?

3. You Can See 80m Beneath Nelson’s Blue Lake

The world’s clearest lake is in the Nelson Lake National Park in the Southern Alps of New Zealand which is considered sacred by the Maoris.

It’s as transparent as distilled water, with people often being able to see up to 80 meters below.

4. Dogs In New Zealand Drive Cars

New Zealand has trained dogs to better understand their intelligence. I almost didn’t believe it until I watched this video:

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What a remarkable initiative to bring out their potential!

5. Sign Language Is An Official Language Here

New Zealand’s sign language has an official stature in the country. In early 2006, it became the first country to declare sign language official, enabling better inclusion of people from the deaf community.

English and Maori are the other two sign languages of the country.

6. Runway And Rail Track Intersect Each Other At Gisborne

When passing through Gisborne airport, trains must take clearance from the air traffic department as the railway track intersects with the Gisborne runway. Strange, right?

But the authorities have clearly done a great job coordinating the tricky operations smoothly. I highly recommend making a stop here to see this in action!

7. Kiwi Fruit Is NOT Native to New Zealand

Yes, you read it right. All this while, you might have also thought that the kiwi (the flightless bird) and the fruit both have roots in New Zealand.

I was dumbfounded when I discovered that Kiwi fruit is actually native to China, popularly known as Chinese gooseberry. However, the name kiwi is indigenous to the island as the fruit is named after the Kiwi bird.

8. The Lord Of The Rings Was Filmed Entirely In New Zealand

Do you remember The Lord Of The Rings trilogy? I remember watching the entire series in the cinemas as a teenager.

With over 150+ locations in New Zealand, the entire movie was filmed across both the South Island and North Islands. You’ll get to experience the same middle earth depicted in the feature film.

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9. Kea Birds Can Perform Criminal Acts

Kea, the most intelligent bird that is always on a quest for mischief, can lightly wreck your car. I certainly have seen this more than once, and these birds certainly look cheeky…

A Kea Bird

Known as a naughty alpine parrot, they often damage vehicle rubber seals and windscreen wipers of unsuspecting travelers. So be careful when parking in the ‘Kea region’.

10. The First Country To Give Suffrage To Women

In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to provide women with the right to vote. Since then, women have been an integral part of politics. Today, many of the highest-ranking positions in the government are held by women, with Jacinda Ardern serving as the current prime minister.

The country has maintained its democracy for more than 100 years. Along with Denmark, it’s also one of the world’s least corrupt nations.

11. You Will Never Be More Than 128km Away From Sea Here In New Zealand

Love the sea? Then New Zealand is the country for you.

The island is elongated with 1,000 miles north-south and a width of 280 miles; therefore, whichever part of the country you are in, you will be less than 128km from the sea.

12. Aotearoa Is The Other Name For New Zealand

Maoris were the first known inhabitants of the island who named New Zealand Aotearoa, which means- The land of the long white clouds.

It was when James Cook, a British explorer, discovered the island that it came to be called New Zealand.

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13. Is Your Love For Pokemon Real? Nieu Has Pikachu On Its Legal Tender Coins.

In 2001, Nieu, the self-governing state of New Zealand, showed extraordinary admiration for Pokemon characters. They have pictures of Pikachu on their coins.

14. A Green Pool Has Neon Green Water That Stinks!

A neon green pool in the Wai-O-Tapu park in New Zealand stinks due to its high sulphur deposits. 

Devil's pool new zealand

It is a fascinating natural setting resulting from geological activity thousands of years ago, leaving mineral deposits in the reserve.

15. Bungee Jumping Was Commercialized Here

In 1988, AJ Hackett commercialized bungee jumping in Queenstown at Kawarau bridge. He was the first person to organize this adventure sport for the public.

This thrilling experience cannot be skipped if you have a spirited soul, as it offers the best adrenaline jumps. As for me, I quietly left my friends and went hiking instead. 🙂

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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