New Zealand is one of the most gorgeous countries on earth, and even with its modest size, it packs a lot of history, culture, and attractions for us to experience.
New Zealand is known for its stunning national parks, dynamic Māori culture, incredible hiking trails, and world-class skiing and surfing.
I’ve raved post after post about New Zealand, I still don’t feel like I’m done writing about it. So, I’d like to add one more fun post with quirky and fun facts about New Zealand, one of the most diverse and intensely beautiful destinations.
I’m sure some of these will surprise you because they seem almost impossible, but as you’ll see, there’s more to New Zealand than meets the eye!
Fun Facts About New Zealand:
1. Sheep Rule!
There are 5 sheep per person in New Zealand, making it the highest ratio in the world.
At the time, there are 5.1 million New Zealanders scattered across 268,021 sq km, which means there are over 26 million sheep in New Zealand!
What’s even more incredible is that New Zealand is bigger than the UK, yet it has one-fourteenth of its human population.
2. The Elvish Weather
3. For the Love of Golf
With more than 400, New Zealand has more golf courses per capita than anywhere else in the world.
4. Let’s Bungee!
New Zealand is famous for its adrenaline adventures, especially bungee jumping! The first commercial bungee jump was made by AJ Hackett on the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown back in 1988.
AJ Hackett got inspired by the cultural “bungee” jumps performed in Vanuatu with just tree vines tied to their feet.
5. The “Fake” Kiwi
The kiwi fruit is not native to New Zealand. It’s actually from China, but it was named after the kiwi bird.
6. Such Clear Water
The clearest lake in the world is Nelson’s Blue Lake, with a visibility of up to 80 meters deep.
7. Don’t go Nuclear!
There is a law that states every high school in New Zealand may hold one pound of uranium and one pound of thorium, for conducting nuclear experiments. But, they will be fined $1,000,000 should there be a nuclear explosion.
8. Southernmost Capital
Wellington is the southernmost capital in the world.
9. First in Women’s Rights
New Zealand became the first country to give women the right to vote in 1893.
10. Home of the Bats
Bats are the only native land mammals in the country. The rest were introduced by Maoris and Europeans.
11. Very Small Human Population Percentage
One of the most interesting facts about New Zealand is that of all the population in the country, only 5% is human. The rest are animals, making it the highest animal to humans ratio in the world.
12. Steepest Residential Street
The steepest residential street in the world is called Baldwin Street and is located in Dunedin. It has a gradient of 38 degrees.
13. 9th Longest Coastline
For such a small looking country, New Zealand has the 9th longest coastline in the world, with a length of 15,134 km.
14. Close to Antarctica
New Zealand is the 3rd closest country to Antarctica, only after Chile and Argentina.
15. Always Close Enough to the Sea
No matter where you are in New Zealand, you’ll never be more than 128 km from the seaside.
16. More Scottish Pipes?
There are more Scottish piping bands per capita in New Zealand than in Scotland.
17. Tallest Man-made Structure in the Southern Hemisphere
Auckland has the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere (as of 2014). It is the Sky Tower with a height of 328m.
18. The Flightless Bird
The Kiwi, which is a little flightless bird native to New Zealand, lays eggs that are about 20% of the mother’s body. Kiwi eggs are six times as big as normal for a bird of its size.
19. Auckland is Full of Volcanoes
There are 50 volcanic cones in and around Auckland. But don’t worry, most of them are extinct. The most prominent one is Mount Rangitoto, which can be seen from the harbor.
20. Longest Name in Any English Speaking Country
The 85 characters long Maori name for a hill in Hawke’s Bay is the longest place-name found in any English-speaking country.
It is, Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungah-oronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which roughly translates, “the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the land-eater, played his nose flute to his loved ones”.
21. Jedi Religion
On the 2001 New Zealand census, 53,715 people listed their religion as “Jedi.” That was more than the amount of Buddhists and Hindus in the country. But, by 2006, the “religion” declined to about 20,000.
22. An Official Wizard
In 1990, New Zealand became the first country in the modern world to appoint an Official National Wizard.
23. Australian Kiwis?
New Zealand is listed as a state of Australia in the Australian constitution and can join the Australian Confederation if they choose to.
24. Official Sign Language
Sign Language is one of the two official languages of New Zealand, with Te reo Maori being the second one. English is often considered an official language, but it is just the predominant language in the country, making it a de facto official language.
25. Destructive Kea
The kea, a bird native to New Zealand, is known for pulling windscreen wipers off cars and eating the strips of rubber from windows. In fact, many tourists suffer damage on their car rentals thanks to this little bird.
26. Least Corrupt Nation in the World
According to the Corruptions Perception Index, New Zealand is the least corrupt nation in the world (tied with Denmark).
27. No Snakes!
There are no snakes in New Zealand. None.
28. Conquering Everest
Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb to Everest Summit, is originally from New Zealand.
29. Land of the Long White Cloud
New Zealand’s name in Maori is Aotearoa, which means ‘land of the long white cloud.’
30. A Huge National Park
About one-third of the country is protected national parks.
31. Lord of the Rings Minister
The filming of the Lord of the Rings movies pumped about $200,000,000 into the country’s economy. The New Zealand government even created a Minister for Lord of the Rings to ensure the most money could be made from the films.
32. Powerful Women
In 2006, the Queen, the Governor-General, the PM, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice were all women; making New Zealand the only country in the world (to date) where all the highest positions have been simultaneously held by women.
33. New Zealand = LOTR
All but one scene of the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) films were shot in New Zealand, practically making the movies a 12-hour-long infomercial for the country’s landscapes. (FYI, I share here which scene is that one)
34. The New Zealand All Blacks are the Most Successful Team in Sports History
This New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team is by far the most consistently successful sports team of the past century. Since 1903, the All Blacks have had a 77 percent winning record in test match rugby and is the only international men’s side to have secured more wins than losses against every opponent, other than Rhodesia in 1949 (Not tests).
Since the introduction of the World Rugby Rankings in 2003, New Zealand has held the number-one ranking longer than all other teams combined.
35. Sometimes, New Zealand is the First Country to See the Sunrise
During New Zealand’s spring and summer months, it gets to be the first country to see the sunrise.
The first inhabited island to receive the sun is Pitt Island, which is part of New Zealand’s Chatham Islands. But the first mainland city to welcome the sun is Gisborne.
On the other hand, during the fall and winter months, Samoa gets to be the first one to see the sunrise.
But here’s another fun fact, while New Zealand or Samoa might be the first countries to see a sunrise, they are not the first inhabited place to see the sun every day.
During the Southern Hemisphere summer, the sun never sets in Antarctica, so technically, it is the first place to see the sun (though not a sunrise).
Isn’t New Zealand so interesting and beautiful? What other facts do you know about the country? Share them here!
Lastly, if you’re looking to visit New Zealand soon, take advantage of Booking.com hotel deals. It is my go-to site when looking for budget-friendly accommodation.
Also, I recommend checking out Viator’s budget-friendly tours that will show you even more of the country’s uniqueness.
Do you know any other quirky and fun New Zealand facts? Share them below!
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