The beautiful land of New Zealand is home to many misconceptions throughout the world. Some would even say that this island is one of the best kept secrets that offers one of the most fulfilling journeys ever. Whether you are looking to stay at a hotel in Queenstown while doing extreme sports or take a scenic drive down the coast New Zealand will be a rewarding adventure. However, not it is time to sit back and bust some of these myths, hopefully without too many explosions. While many stereotypes have a grain of truth within them, in most cases they are incredibly exaggerated. Let’s pull out of the magical Sieve of Truth and sift out the facts from the falsehoods.
The Land of Sheep
New Zealand is known as the land of sheep and kiwis, and the stereotype is that there are 60 million sheep and only three million people. That’s totally incorrect, as there are actually only 31.1 million sheep and 4.4 million people. Okay, so there are still more sheep in New Zealand than people, but not quite to the extreme that the stereotypes make it out to be.
New Zealand Is Small
Contrary to popular belief, you can’t walk across New Zealand in a day. While New Zealand is no Russia in terms of size, it is still larger than many people realize. If you are planning to visit, chances are you will need some sort of vehicle to get around. Since teleportation has not yet been invented, and shipping your car to New Zealand is likely to be a bit expensive, you may find yourself needing car rental. New Zealand has some great companies from which to rent an automobile.
Hobbits. Hobbits Everywhere!
Unfortunately, a trip to New Zealand does not include fire-breathing dragons, diminutive hairy-footed heroes and grumpy old wizards. The recent Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, all filmed in New Zealand, may do a convincing job of making it seem like all of these things could exist in this magical nation, but aside from the Green Dragon Inn, left-behind shoot locations and tourist attractions, the only magic represented in the movies are the beautiful landscapes and majestic mountains. It’s also a fallacy that every New Zealander has either starred in the Lord of the Rings, or had a part as an extra.
Where Men are Men… and So Are the Women
Most of the world has a specific image of New Zealand men. They are seen as rugged, tough pioneers. The manly stereotype is also applied to women. Many New Zealand women are not believed to hold themselves to the same high levels of femininity that women of other countries are. While Kiwi women are more independent than those in many other countries, you shouldn’t expect five o’clock shadows on the large majority of beautiful women in New Zealand.
Often when people think of New Zealand, what comes to mind is the idea of rowdy rugby fans. Many outside of the country consider the country somewhat obsessed with this game, which was brought into the country somewhere around the mid-1800s. Since that time, rugby has definitely been a favoured sport, with the national team the All Blacks being something of national heroes. Though to say the country is obsessed with rugby is like saying Britain is obsessed with football and America is obsessed with American football. The popularity of the game as a spectator sport has dropped significantly since the middle of the twentieth century.
Beer Flows From the Faucets
Everyone in New Zealand loves beer, right? Kiwi Men, women, kids and sheep all like a good, stout swig of beer. New Zealanders are often made out to drink beer like other people drink water. For the most part, kids and sheep don’t drink beer all that often, and the popularity of wine and RTD (or ready-to-drink) products have risen in the last few years.
If you’re at the bar try some of the local slots games or as they call them- pokies. You can play them at every bar in New Zealand and even online at casinokiwi.co.nz/free-pokies.
New Zealand is Just Part of Australia
Because New Zealand and Australia are both“down under”, many people confuse or combine the two in their minds. For one, Australia is a continent and New Zealand is a series of islands. Unlike their neighbours, New Zealand’s flora and fauna aren’t all poisonous, carnivorous or otherwise out to kill you. New Zealand also has more active volcanoes, as opposed to the zero active volcanoes in Australia. Australia is the land of marsupials, while New Zealand has a higher incidence of unique birds.
Image courtesy of nicholamay on Flickr