New Zealand is an extremely beautiful country, situated in the south-western Pacific Ocean. It comprises of two large islands, namely North Island & South Island separated by Cook Strait ( Approximately three hours across by ferry from Wellington), and a number of smaller islands (including Stewart,Rakiura & Chatham Islands). New Zealand is famous amongst the nature lovers, owing to its breathtaking landscapes, luxuriant forests, gushing rivers, placid lakes, glacial mountains, thermal regions, semi tropical islands and exotic wildlife.
Name: New Zealand – Aotearoa. Aotearoa is the Maori name meaning ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. New Zealand is also known colloquially as ‘The Shaky Isles’ because of it’s geothermal activity and numerous earthquakes.There are about 14,000 earthquakes in New Zealand every year.
Kiwi: refers to New Zealand’s native flightless bird and also used as a slang term for a New Zealander. The kiwi bird lives in a hole in the ground, is almost blind, and lays only one egg each year. It’s been around for more than 70 million years. Kiwis call the fruit kiwifruit, also known as Chinese Gooseberries.
New Zealand: is part of what is known as ‘The Pacific Rim of Fire’ – it’s most active volcano is Mount Ruapehu in the central North Island.
Capital: Wellington – the southern most capital in the world – aka: ‘The Windy City’. The Largest City is Auckland – 1.3 million and growing – aka: ‘The City of Sails’ and ‘The Jewel of the Pacific’. Three quarter of New Zealand’s population live on the North Island, and one quarter of the population live in Auckland. Auckland City Sky Tower is the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere at 328 meters. Auckland city also has the largest number of boats per capita than any other city in the world. Gisborne is the first major city in the world to see the sunrise. It is 496.3kilometres away from the International Date Line
National Parks in New Zealand: There are 14 national parks. Tongariro, Te Urewera, Whanganui and Egmont in the North Island, and Abel Tasman, Kahurangi, Nelson Lakes, Westland Tai Poutini, Mount Aspiring, Fiordland, Paparoa, Arthur’s Pass, Aoraki/Mount Cook in the South Island. There’s also Rakiura National Park in Stewart Island.
Largest Lake: Lake Taupo – 606 km. Lake Taupo is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations,was the source of the largest known eruption in the world in the last 70 thousand years.
Longest River: Waikato river – In the North Island, it runs for 425 kilometers from the eastern slopes of Mount Ruapehu, joining the Tongariro River system and emptying into Lake Taupo
Largest glacier: Tasman Glacier – 28.5 km long. It lies entirely within the borders of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. The glacier covers an area of 101 square kilometers (39 sq mi) and starts at a height of 3,000 meters
Deepest cave: Nettlebed2, located in NW Nelson – 889 m deep.
Surface: New Zealand is spread over an area of approximately 268,021 sq km and its coastline is around 15,134 km long.
Cars: With 2.5 million cars for four million people, including children, New Zealand’s car ownership rate is one of the world’s highest.
Driving directions: You drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand, and always give way to cars on your right.
The longest place: name still in use, and the name of a hill in NZ is: Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupo-kaiwhenuakitanatahu
New Zealand is one of only three countries that have two official national Anthems. The first is God Save the Queen and the other is God Defend New Zealand. The other two countries with two anthems are Denmark and Canada which both have a Royal Anthem and a State anthem. New Zealand was the first country to have its three top positions held simultaneously by women – Prime Minister Helen Clark, Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright and Chief Justice Sian Elias. It also has a strong hold on the international trade in sheep meat. There are presently around 9 sheep to every 1 human in New Zealand.
Sports: Rugby union is the most popular sport in New Zealand.
Sir Edmund Hillary – the first man to reach the peak of Mount Everest was a New Zealander (born in Auckland) and his face is on the New Zealand $5 bill. The first European to reach New Zealand was Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The Maori killed many of the ship’s crew and no European returned to New Zealand until Captain James Cook in 1769.
Internet: New Zealand Internet is among the slowest in the developed world. Most households achieve an average speed between 1 Mbit/s to 10 Mbit/s per line.
Predators: New Zealand had no predatory mammals prior to European arrival, and the major grazing animals were species of huge flightless birds, the Moa, which could weigh around 250 kilograms (551 pounds) when fully grown.The heaviest insect in the world is a New Zealand native – Weta which is an insect endemic to New Zealand that is a relic from the time of the dinosaurs. It has incredible survival instincts