New Zealand Travel Facts

By | May 20, 2022

New Zealand is an isolated island nation in the South Pacific. The country consists of two large islands – the North and South Islands – and more than 700 smaller islands. Australia is not too far away and yet New Zealand is very different. Beautifully landscaped and unique, it is one of the geologically youngest land masses on our planet.

Capital City Wellington
Size 269.652 km²
Resident 4.839.340
Official Language English, Maori, New Zealand Sign Language
Currency New Zealand Dollar
Time Zone UTC+12/+13
Telephone Area Code +64

Fast facts to know

  • Of the 4.4 million New Zealanders, around 10% live in Auckland and 75% in the North Island.
  • Trout cannot be sold or purchased commercially in New Zealand. Fish yourself is the motto!
  • Rent is usually paid weekly in advance.
  • The people of New Zealand are often called kiwis.
  • The kiwi itself is a New Zealand-only, non-flying, nocturnal bird.
  • New Zealanders are open, friendly and mostly very patriotic.
  • There are hardly any dangerous or poisonous animals.
  • Baldwin Street is one of the steepest streets in the world with a gradient of 35%.
  • New Zealand has 2 national anthems.
  • New Zealand has a very well developed internet.
  • Tap water is safe to drink, but only tastes limited – especially where it is enriched with chlorine.
  • The national sport of New Zealand is rugby.
  • As a German you can enter the country for up to 3 months without a visa, but you must present your return ticket.
  • Separate vaccinations are not necessary.
  • Traffic drives on the left in New Zealand.
  • Most of The Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand.
  • Most sheep live on the South Island.

Exciting cities in New Zealand

  • Wellington
  • Rotorua
  • Queenstown
  • Auckland
  • Christchurch

History of New Zealand

  • Discovered by Polynesians in the late 13th century / early 14th century.
  • Descendants of the first immigrants established the Maori culture.
  • The first settlement by the Maori resulted in the rapid extinction of numerous animal species on the archipelago.
  • Discovery and early settlement by Europeans from the 17th century.
  • 1829 to 1835 Musket Wars.
  • In 1832 the British government sent James Busby to New Zealand and made him resident.
  • 1835 Signing of the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand (Declaration of Independence) by 30 Maori leaders is considered the founding of the “United Tribes”.
  • Officially annexed by the British Empire in 1840 to prevent French colonization.
  • The Treaty of Waitangi is signed in the same year. Considered to be the “birthday” of modern New Zealand, which closely ties the country to the British Crown.
  • In 1893, New Zealand became the first country in the world to introduce women’s suffrage.
  • 1901 Decided not to join the Commonwealth of Australia, remaining a colony until 1907.
  • In 1947, the New Zealand Parliament accepted the offered full sovereignty with the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947.
  • 1986 First constitution approved by the New Zealand Parliament.
  • The global economic crisis that began in 1929 hit the country, which was economically dependent on Great Britain, very hard and led to the formation of the first government by the Labor Party, which established the New Zealand welfare state.
  • In 1951, Australia, the USA and New Zealand joined forces to form the ANZUS security pact, which the USA canceled in 1984 due to disputes.
  • In 1987 New Zealand declared itself a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

Climate & travel weather in New Zealand

  • North: subtropical climate.
  • South: temperate climate.
  • January and February are the warmest with an average of 20°.
  • July is the coolest with an average of 11° degrees.
  • Weather mostly changeable with frequent precipitation.
  • Recommended travel time:
    • February ideal, but also very pleasant during high season in December and January.
    • June – August are suitable for winter sports.

Ideas for trips in New Zealand

  • Sky Tower in Auckland
  • Waitomo Caves
  • Watch whales at Kaikoura
  • Soak in the Glacier Hot Pools
  • Hike the Tongariro Crossing
  • Sulfur Oasis Rotorua
  • Wine tasting on Waiheke Island
  • Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set
  • Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Eating & drinking in New Zealand

  • Shaped by British eating traditions, influences from the Pacific, Mediterranean and Asia are also becoming increasingly noticeable.
  • Fish mostly of the highest quality, particularly common: white snapper, tuna, salmon, flounder, cod, groper fish.
  • Fast food in New Zealand is mostly of high quality and very tasty.
  • There is excellent coffee in New Zealand.
  • Local staple foods are of excellent quality.
  • Beef is often eaten as a steak.
  • Chicken in any form is very popular.
  • For breakfast there’s an English breakfast, for lunch you eat cold and healthy.
  • Craft beers from smaller breweries are very popular.
  • New Zealanders love to picnic.
  • New Zealand is known for excellent wines and excellent cheese.
  • Typical dishes:
    • roasted lamb
    • Fush & Chips
    • Maori Hangi (Maori dishes baked in a traditional earth oven)
    • Oysters Kilpatrick (oysters baked with bacon)
    • Pavlova (very sweet dessert)
    • Seafood Chowder (light, creamy seafood soup)
    • Tuatua Fritters (Fried Clam Dish)
    • Hokey Pokey (creamy vanilla ice cream with caramel chips)

Particularly scenic

  • Franz Josef Glacier
  • Koekohe Beach, Piha Beach
  • Milford Sound
  • Mount Cook, Mount Taranaki
  • Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki
  • National Parks:
    • Abel Tasman National Park
    • Arthur’s Pass National Park
    • Egmont National Park
    • Fiordland National Park
    • Nelson Lake National Park
    • Tongariro National Park
  • Water falls:
    • Huka Falls
    • Rere Falls
    • Purakaunui Falls
    • Sutherland Falls

New Zealand Travel Facts