Over the time I’ve been in New Zealand I’ve been slowly adding to this list. Originally it was something I was going to share after the first few weeks rather than in the last few but I’ve just kept coming across more things which I’ve wanted to share. Quick note – a lot of these are my impressions rather than facts so take it with a pinch of salt…
German is the second national language of New Zealand
This is not true at all but it feels like it should be. There are Germans everywhere! For a while pretty much everyone we met who wasn’t English was German and they all seem to be over here on a working holiday. Whoever is promoting New Zealand working holiday visas in Germany is doing an excellent job!
There aren’t that many sheep…
…Or at least not as many as we are led to believe. Admittedly we’re yet to go through the main sheep farming area but we’ve certainly seen more cows than sheep. I’ve actually been more surprised by the number of cows we’ve seen, but then I didn’t know before arriving that milk is one of New Zealand’s main exports.
Everyone is obsessed with the All Blacks…
… And they particularly like talking about rugby if you’re English so they can talk about their unbeaten record. Lord of the Rings seems much less popular, despite the increase in tourism it has given to the country.
Everything is “sweet as bro”
The kiwis seem to be very relaxed and take life as it comes. Two of the phrases we have heard most frequently are “sweet as” and “no dramas” which seems to be the New Zealand way of life.
Don’t talk about possums
They are seen as pests and most New Zealanders will happily hunt them and tell you all the reasons why they are bad for the country. However, in Australia they are protected.
The public toilets are fantastic
Particularly in comparison to the UK. Here you can actually rely on there being soap and toilet roll. Admittedly in more remote areas a lot of them lead to holes in the ground rather than being a flushing toilet but they have all been pretty clean.
Dogs aren’t welcome
Seen as a threat to native birds, dogs aren’t allowed in any of the national parks. It’s also very restricted where else in the countryside they are allowed to go even on leads. Some towns also won’t allow dogs in public places so if you are a dog owner you are really limited with where you can take it. This is one of the few things that would put me off living in this beautiful country
It’s not all about New Zealand lamb
Lamb is the thing that everyone immediately thinks of and says you have to try. Whilst it’s pretty good, I’d also recommend trying the venison. There are quite a lot of deer farms in New Zealand so there’s plenty of opportunity to try it. The steak I had was delicious!
There aren’t many people here
In fact the population of the entire country is about the same as London so as a result the roads are quieter and towns are smaller. However, in the summer a lot of the smaller areas can triple (or more) in population size!
Blue penguins might be a myth…
I’ll let you know if I see any but so far despite them supposedly having a presence on every coastline they have evaded us. So have the kiwi birds but as they are nocturnal we weren’t really expecting to see any.