5 Things You Might Not Know About
by Ruth Atherley
You probably know New Zealand for its adventure, adrenalin, and the great outdoors, but there are also a lot of interesting things that most people might not realize. Here are five fun, funky, and unforgettable things about the land of the long white cloud.
The South Island city of Dunedin celebrates chocolate for a whole week during the Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival. One of the highlights has organizers letting two sets of 25,000 Jaffas loose. As the chocolate candies roll down Baldwin Street – the steepest street in the world – thousands of spectators eagerly await their arrival. (Just for the record, Dunedin is known as the “quirky capital of New Zealand” and this small city also boasts the country’s only annual naked rugby game.)
North Island’s Napier is known as the “Art Deco City” and maintains that title because of the local Art Deco Trust. The buildings in Napier underwent massive reconstruction after an earthquake in 1931, which almost leveled the city. Art Deco was in fashion at the time and it greatly influenced the rebuilding. Now Napier and South Beach in Miami, Florida are considered the two best preserved Art Deco towns in the world.
New Zealand is well-known for wine tours and tastings, but for those who like their drink with a little hop, there are also a wide range of microbreweries and brewery tours. For beer aficionados, there are many different types to choose from including North Island’s Galbraith’s Alehouse in Auckland, Waiheke Island Brewery on Waiheke Island, and Sunshine Brewery in Gisborne. The South Island brew opportunities include The Twisted Hop in Christchurch, Moa Brewery in Blenheim, and Bays Brewery in Nelson. Asking what local microbrew to try in any local bar or pub is sure to make you new friends.
New Zealand is predator-free, which means no cougars, bears, wolves or snakes. A walk in the forest is much less worrisome than a stroll in the woods in North America. There’s nothing waiting up around that bend except more flora and fauna, and perhaps a waterfall.
And last, but certainly not least, New Zealand makes exceptional espresso-based coffee drinks. According to locals, it has only been over the past seven years or so that the country has embraced great coffee. (But when Kiwis decide to do something, they do it right!) Even in little out of the way coffee shops, you can get an exceptional Americano, latte, cappuccino or flat white (similar to a “wet” cappuccino). The best of the best are honoured at the annual New Zealand Coffee Awards.
Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.ca) has direct non-stop flights from Vancouver to Auckland and offers flights from many other North American cities.
For more information about New Zealand, please visit: www.NewZealand.com.