Five things you may not know about New Zealand

5 things to know about NZ before you travel

Thinking about visiting me soon? (If not, you should be…)

It’s okay to not know these things. The only unforgivable sin is confusing anything Kiwi with anything Australian. You have been warned.

You may burn to a crisp within minutes

Our ozone layer leaves something to be desired. I’ve not been anywhere else in the world where the sun is so intense.  Slather yourself up before stepping outdoors. The worst for burn time is usually between about 10 and 3 during the day, so if you burn easily, try to stay indoors or well covered up during those hours.

UV aside, our climate is really mild

Crazy mild. Parts of New Zealand are subtropical and most don’t see snow. Here in Auckland, expect a variance of maybe 15 degrees between the height of summer and the depths of winter; 10 is cold, 25 hot (here’s more on temperatures throughout the regions). A lot of visitors land in Auckland during summer and find it chilly – it never gets too hot, really (you may not actually feel the intensity of the sun’s rays until you realise at the end of the day that you’ve picked up a ruddy burn). And our winter isn’t too bad as long as you’re inside an insulated building (a harder ask than you might think). We’re spoiled – if it wasn’t for the rain, we’d have the perfect weather. Everywhere else we’ve been would be too cold for me in winter and too hot for us both (especially T) in summer.

Our water is insanely pure

Clean, delicious and free. Enjoy. (In fact, I think we do pretty well on the beverage front. Our milk is unbeatable. And while I don’t do caffeine or booze, I hear our coffee, wine and even some of our beers are excellent – this ain’t Germany, but our well-travelled friends from Vermont reckon they never had a bad beer in New Zealand.)

The roads take some getting used to

Outside of the most built-up areas they tend to be narrow and windy, and the speed limits are fairly low – think Pacific Coast Highway style. Take it easy and always err on the side of caution. (And yes, we drive on the left hand side.)

Like our roads, the sea is rugged

We have good surf beaches, but watch out for rip tides. The human body is no match for the pull of the ocean. Luckily for you, our surf life guards are pretty world-class.

31 thoughts on “Five things you may not know about New Zealand

  • Reply saverspender March 26, 2014 at 07:55

    Have you been to Portugal or Spain? I wonder if it’s as hot there as in NZ.

    I remember almost burning to a crisp in Portugal and Spain. Going out between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. was a no-go.

    It was SO hot, intense sun, even with a hat and long-sleeved shirts and pants.

    • Reply eemusings March 26, 2014 at 08:59

      Spain/Portugal would be WAYYY hotter than anywhere in NZ, ever. Assume they are similar to Italy/Greece. It doesn’t get HOT here – as I said our temperatures are very mild – but the sun rays are fierce. You may not feel it at the time but you will if later if you get burnt!

  • Reply Sense March 26, 2014 at 09:32

    The worst burn I’ve ever had developed between 3 and 3:30 pm in January this year. I stupidly didn’t wear sunscreen, thinking that I didn’t have to past 3 and since I was just out for a little while. My skin is STILL damaged in spots. Oh, the things you re-learn, over and over and over again…

    The people from Vermont obviously didn’t try DB Export… 🙂 That said, I’ve heard most beers are quite decent! (I’m not a big beer person.)

    • Reply eemusings March 26, 2014 at 10:57

      LOL. Don’t know if they had DB but they liked Lion Red. So, yeah…

      I guess compared to most (mainstream) American beers though, it’s not hard to win.

  • Reply Athena March 26, 2014 at 09:58

    New Zealand is definitely on my bucket list! Our speech therapist lived there for two years while her husband was stationed and it sounds beautiful.

  • Reply krantcents March 26, 2014 at 13:02

    Sounds wonderful! Some day, I want to do more traveling in the Far East and catch Australia and New Zealand.

  • Reply No Nonsense Landlord March 26, 2014 at 15:18

    I have several friends that have gone hunting for Red deer over there. They say it is a great place.

    Do you have Crocs over there, like AU?

    • Reply eemusings March 26, 2014 at 16:36

      Nope we have zero scary/dangerous creatures.

  • Reply Lauren March 27, 2014 at 04:18

    We would LOVE to travel to New Zealand….it is definitely on our minds!

  • Reply Shaun March 27, 2014 at 04:29

    Can’t wait to experience NZ. It’s landscape reminds me a lot of western Canada. I burn VERY quickly, Irish skin doesn’t take kindly to the sun. Ideally, I’d like to tour the country by motorcycle.

  • Reply Ryan @ Impersonal Finance March 27, 2014 at 05:13

    Not to sound pretentious, but NZ water from Whole Foods is my absolute favorite. I don’t buy it much anymore, but every now and then I will pick up a bottle.

  • Reply Alicia March 27, 2014 at 08:21

    My parents are heading to Australia and New Zealand next year for two months next year. I will have to tell them to have loads of sunscreen.

  • Reply Tamika Rybinski March 27, 2014 at 12:11

    I have always wanted to visit New Zealand. It looks so picturesque!

  • Reply KK @ Student Debt Survivor March 27, 2014 at 13:42

    I’ve never been to New Zealand but I really really want to make it there. It’s on my bucket list. I miss good water. My parents have really great well water in Maine. Here in the city, who knows what I’m drinking. We buy big bottles of water so we don’t have to drink the city water (which has a red tint-eek).

  • Reply Daisy March 27, 2014 at 16:31

    I would love to visit New Zealand someday. There are too many countries on my list at this point and I don’t know whether I’ll ever be able to see them all. The more I hear about NZ, the more I am interested to visit. Our friends just got back from travelling for a year and they said they loved NZ.

  • Reply Michelle March 28, 2014 at 01:28

    The weather there sounds divine! No… everything about NZ sounds amazing. It’s on my bucket list of travel.

  • Reply SJ @ Chasing the Donkey March 28, 2014 at 10:14

    Europeans have zero idea about how hot it gets in NZ or Australia. Everytime I hear them say how hot it is, I giggle and say ‘go down under’ then you’ll see. Thanks loads for linking up with us again for #SundayTraveler

  • Reply Charlie March 28, 2014 at 10:18

    Nice post, NZ is such a beautiful country.

  • Reply Clarisse @ Savvy Scot March 28, 2014 at 12:03

    My aunt lived in New Zealand before for 20 years, but now they moved to Australia. They always sent us a postcard about New Zealand and the country is perfectly awesome.

  • Reply frankaboutcroatia March 28, 2014 at 20:58

    I would love to visit NZ! As for that intense sun, the first time we had a family visiting us from NZ here in Croatia, we felt almost sorry seeing our little cousins looking like batmen on the beach. They were the most dressed up kids on the entire beach. But then we’ve learnt that it’s the only smart way to stay under the sun Down Under.

  • Reply Shawna March 29, 2014 at 05:19

    Cool post. NZ is definitely on my to-visit list. Is there a high rate of skin cancer there since the sun is so intense? Or it is one of those things where everyone knows better than to go outside without sun protection?

    • Reply eemusings March 29, 2014 at 11:55

      Yeah it’s the most common type of cancer here and NZ/Aus have the highest rates of it. It’s one of those things we all *know* we should do but often don’t – and as I say the thing is that it doesn’t really get that hot here so it’s easy to forget about UV risks and become complacent… even after 17 years here I still get a sunburn every other year or so. #fail

      • Reply Shawna March 29, 2014 at 12:33

        wow, I had no idea.

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  • Reply The Asian Pear March 30, 2014 at 02:48

    NZ is on my hitlist to visit! 😀
    Maybe in the near future even… 😀

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  • Reply Mackenzie March 31, 2014 at 14:31

    Very interesting! I love to hear about other areas of the world, as I have not had the pleasure of travelling outside the U.S. yet 🙂

  • Reply Alex Monckton April 1, 2014 at 00:59

    Burn?! Try being a freckly red-haired kid growing up in NZ! Talk about going through the sunscreen.

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  • Reply Travel Croatia February 11, 2016 at 09:05

    New Zealand is definitely exotic destitution with lot of sun and pure water. Your blog made me wanna visit NZ even more.

    But the sun isn’t so powerful in the spring time? Could you let me know which is the best time to visit?

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