What is New Zealand famous for? The Kiwi, the Haka, the Hobbits…We are sure you know about all these, but there are many other popular things in New Zealand. Which one comes to your mind first?
20 Famous things in New Zealand
New Zealand is known for being a hidden beautiful country separated from the rest of the world, and it tends to be compared with Australia (each country is totally different).
Their amazing landscapes are probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about this country, but there are actually many other reasons why New Zealand is famous.
Next you will find a list with the top 20 things New Zealand is known for:
New Zealand is known for its places
As we were saying, the places of New Zealand are a must on our “What is New Zealand known for?” list. They have some incredible landscapes, generally huge natural areas with many mountains, lakes and glaciers, but there are also a few cityscapes that are also worth visiting.
As there are many popular places in New Zealand, we have selected a top 3 with some of the most impressive ones:
1) Mount Taranaki
The Mount Taranaki or also known as Mount Egmont, is a dormant stratovolcano located in the west coast of New Zealand´s North Island.
It´s true that the volcano has not been active since a long time ago, but as it´s a young volcano, we can´t say it´s extinct. It is said that the volcano has a major eruption every 500 years.
The reason why we have used Mount Taranaki as the number one on our list of famous things about New Zealand, is because lately it has become an incredible photo spot (specially for instagrammers) and it´s gaining a big popularity.
You may have heard about the fiords of Norway, but for the ones who don´t know yet, New Zealand is also a fiord paradise, and the best area to see them is known as Fiordland.
Fiordland, located in the south-west corner of New Zealand´s South Island, is famous for being one of the wildest areas in the country and in the whole planet as it´s located far away from the nearest town.
Other than enjoying waterfalls and incredible mountain landscapes, here you will also see a great variety of flora and fauna (from birds to dolphins or penguins)
3) Auckland, Wellington, and other big cities
Although we all think New Zealand is just nature and no cities at all, it´s not true, there are some important big cities like Wellington or Auckland.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand ad it´s located in the North Island. Although it´s one of the biggest cities, it only has around 180.000 habitants. The biggest and most important city is Auckland, where more than a million people live. There are also other nice cities like Christchurch or Queenstown.
We must admit that if you are visiting New Zealand, it´s better to visit natural areas instead of big cities.
What animals is New Zealand known for?
Another reason why New Zealand is so famous are its animals. Since it´s such a wild country, there is a lot of fauna and flora all over the country.
Surprisingly, in New Zealand, you will find a lot of birds, reptiles, fishes, and even marine mammals, but almost non terrestrial mammals. As you can imagine the reason why this happens is because New Zealand is separated from everything and only the animals who can swim or fly can reach the land.
Next, we will tell you about the most common and famous animals in New Zealand:
4) The Kiwi, the Kea and a bird´s paradise
Another of the things New Zealand is known for, is the Kiwi, which is also a symbol of the country.
The Kiwi is the most representative animal in New Zealand, and just so you can have an idea, the people of New Zealand are called Kiwis and it´s mainly because of the animal. Unfortunately, the number of Kiwis is falling very fast (2% per year).
New Zealand is also known for being a paradise for birds, and you will find many different species that are endemic from the country. The Kea is one of the most common ones, but there are many more.
You may be wondering why are the sheep one of the most famous things in New Zealand, and it´s because there are plenty of them!
There are around 9 sheep per each person who lives in New Zealand, since there are about 5 million people living in the country, you will find almost 45 million sheep. Crazy right?
What Sports is New Zealand famous for
Believe it or not, although New Zealand is a nation with not many people, they have been successful in some sports. It´s true that they are not so good in big sports like football or tennis, but in others like Rugby or cricket, they have one of the best national teams.
The most played sports in New Zealand are netball, basketball, rugby and football. Let us tell you some curious facts about New Zealand related to sports:
6) Rugby: The most popular sport in New Zealand
Rugby is the unofficial national sport of New Zealand, and they are one of the bests at it. The national team is known as the All Blacks and they rank on the top 5 best national teams in the world right now.
The All Blacks are with South Africa the rugby team who have won more times the world cup (3 times each). Not just the men national team is good but also the women´s.
7) The Haka dance
If you ask someone about famous things in New Zealand, many people would say the Haka dance, and everyone relates it with sports and with the New Zealand rugby´s national team.
The truth is that the Haka dance is not something that it´s done only in sports, but also in weddings, welcome events, and funerals. This traditional dance is done to show respect, hospitality and of course competitiveness against your adversaries.
8) Bungee Jumping
Would you ever do bungee jumping? That´s something you should consider before visiting the country. One of the things NZ is famous for is the bungee jumping, as they are recognised as the country who invented this sport.
AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch were the first ones doing a bungee jumping commercial operation, and since that moment many people do it on their visit to the country.
What is New Zealand famous for in food
New Zealand´s food is not as popular as the ones you can find in other countries, but since they are so far from everything, their way of cooking and dishes are a little bit different.
Some of their foods have become so popular that now are famous all over the world, and there are others that you must try at least ones in your life. Let´s see them!
If you haven´t heard of this delicious cake before, you may think it´s a dish originally from Russia because of its name, right? Well, the truth is that this dish was originated in New Zealand in 1927 after the ballerina Anna Pavlova visited the country.
A fun fact about this plate is that Australia, also claims it as if it was their own dish. The Australian people always say that it was Bert Sachse who invented it in 1935.
10) The kiwi fruit is not from NZ
Many people believe the kiwi is originally from New Zealand because of its name, but that´s not true. The kiwi fruit has its origins in the Angtze River valley of northern China.
The reason why the kiwi fruit is called kiwi is because of its brown skin, which is very similar to the feathers of the kiwi bird.
The original name of the fruit was Yang Tao and the New Zealanders changed the name to Chinese Gooseberry once they received the first seeds. Later on, the name was changed to kiwi in United States for commercial reasons.
11) Wines of New Zealand
Without the exceptions of Spain, Italy and France, New Zealand is one of the countries with one of the best wines in the world.
There are around 10 regions spreads through the whole country of New Zealand that are considered wine regions. The best of all, is that each region has different climate conditions and that provides different types of wines.
Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are some of the best wines of New Zealand.
New Zealand famous filming locations
As you can imagine, with all those sceneries, amazing landscapes and huge green areas, New Zealand is the perfect country for movie sets.
If you are one of those who enjoy visiting movie locations, then New Zealand is the perfect place for you. The last samurai and King Kong are good examples of movies that have been filmed in New Zealand, but there are others that we are sure you have watched before:
12) Lord of the Rings
The ones who are fans of the saga know New Zealand as “Middle Earth” because of the movies, and many people just visit the country to see these famous locations and to take a picture with one of the houses from the Hobbits.
A very interesting fact is that Hobbiton in Matamata, is the only movie set in New Zealand who has been untouched since the movie was made.
13) The Chronicles of Narnia
- Cathedral Cove – Cair Paravel ruins
- Elephant Rocks – Aslan’s Camp
- Flock Hill – The Great Battle
- Woodhill Forest – White Witch’s Camp
I bet many of you have watched Narnia a few times, well, if that´s the case, you probably didn´t know that many locations from the movie were filmed in New Zealand.
Some of the locations filmed in New Zealand for Narnia are:
What are kiwis known for? New Zealand´s people
The Kiwis or the people of New Zealand are known for being very humble, easy going and the best of all, they are people who always offer hospitality for the tourists and people who are not from the area.
We are going to tell you some curiosities about the people of New Zealand that you probably didn´t know:
14) Small human population
Probably one of the most curious facts about New Zealand population is that there is just a 5% of the population who are humans. The rest are all animals!
Is a country where you will find more animals than humans, how cool is that? Just so you can have an idea, there are just 5 million people living in New Zealand, which is less than big cities like Madrid (6.6 million)
15) Official languages of New Zealand
There are three official languages in New Zealand. English is by far the one is spoken the most and the majority of the people can speak it as a first or at least as a second language.
In terms of communication is very simple to talk with them, the only problem is that their accent, is a little bit more complicated if you are used to an American or British accent. But you just need to get used to it.
The Māori language is another official language in the country and its origins come from the Māori people. Last of all, the New Zealand sign language became official in 2006.
Other interesting facts about New Zealand
We have just told you the most basic and interesting things about New Zealand, but there are many other facts that may be less popular, and you will also recognise as iconic from New Zealand
16) Volcanoes of New Zealand
New Zealand is a country where you will find many volcanoes, and most of them are responsible of New Zealand´s actual geography.
Nowadays, you won´t see many active volcanoes in the country, and in New Zealand´s South Island all of them are extinct.
The most popular volcano area is near Auckland, where there are around 50 volcanic cones, being Mount Rangitoto one of the youngest and most prominent.
17) National Parks
If you are a nature lover, we totally recommend you getting a full month of vacations and go explore around the national parks of New Zealand.
There are 13 national parks, and they cover an area of 30,000 square kilometres, with landscapes and natural sceneries of all kinds. Just so you can have an idea of how huge the national parks of New Zealand are, they are one-third of the size of the country.
Tongariro national park and Abel Tasman national park are some of the most famous ones.
18) Māori Culture
The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, they got to the country around 1000 years ago, and they came from the Eastern Polynesian area of Hawaiki.
Some curious facts you would love to know about the Māori culture are:
- Kia ora is a word they use not only as a greeting, but also when you are thankful for something
- The famous Haka is a Māori cultural dance
- The Māori tatoos are a cultural heritage and part of their identity
- Their way of cooking is unique and it´s known as Maori hāngī
19) Famous people of New Zealand
There are not many people living in New Zealand, but you can still find some very famous personalities that were born in New Zealand and now are known all over the world:
Edmund Hillary: First person to climb the Everest in the world in 1953
Peter Jackson: Film director of movies like “The Lord of the Rings”
- Steven Adams: Famous NBA player of the Oklahoma City Thunder
- Kiri Te Kanawa: She is known for being one of the best opera singers in the history of New Zealand
- Russell Crowe: An actor winner of an Oscar, who you may know from movies like Gladiator or Robin Hood.
20) New Zealand new years
We are finishing our list with one of the most important curiosities you should know about New Zealand: Their New Year celebration.
New Zealand is the first country in the world that celebrates the New Years eve, they are also known for their fireworks on that day.
How is New Year celebrated in your country?
Hope you enjoyed reading about the things NZ is famous for
That´s the end of our “What is New Zealand most famous for?” list, hope you enjoyed reading about it, and if you ever have the chance of going to New Zealand, ENJOY IT!
If you have any other question or suggestion, please let us know, we would love to help you.