10 Things You May Not Know About New Zealand

1. Kiwis are very tough to find. Because the kiwi is a semi-nocturnal, secretive bird, few New Zealanders have seen their national bird in the wild. The closest we came was in a kiwi rescue center in Rotorua.

2. Sheep vs. Cows. NZ is mostly known for their amount of sheep. In 2009 there were ten times more sheep compared with the human population. Apparently this has changed drastically in the last few years. Because of their booming dairy industry, New Zealand has seen a decrease in their sheep population and a big increase on their cow population. We sure saw a lot of both on our road trips!

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Jumping from the Nevis Bungy

Queenstown. I knew we were going to get here eventually and Adam would want to do the highest bungy jump, but I was trying to avoid the thought. Every time I would think about it my hands would sweat, my mouth would get dry, my face would turn pale and my stomach would go in circles.

Queenstown


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Hiking the Franz Josef Glacier

With crampons on we were ready to explore Glacier Franz Josef from within. The Māori name for the glacier is Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere (‘The tears of Hinehukatere’), legend says: “Hinehukatere loved climbing in the mountains and persuaded her lover, Wawe, to climb with her. Wawe was a less experienced climber than Hinehukatere but loved to accompany her until an avalanche swept Wawe from the peaks to his death. Hinehukatere was broken hearted and her many, many tears flowed down the mountain and froze to form the glacier.” Luckily for us, there was no avalanche that day.

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Roadside Charms

The west coast of New Zealand’s south island was quite a road trip (among the world’s top 10 according to Lonely Planet!). South island Kiwis take pride in their small population. I am surprised they have kept it that way since it is such a majestic place. Along the west coast it was only us, the Tasman Sea, a few surfers and a coffee shop here and there.

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