Why New Zealand? Our resident Kiwi expert Alistair Tod tells it!
The Golf Courses: Some of the world's top designers have imprinted their mark on the majestic coastlines and mountainous regions of this stunning country. Home to a growing number of Top 100 ranked golf courses, New Zealand is fast becoming a bucket list golf destination in its own right. Golf the likes of Kauri Cliffs, Cape Kidnappers, Kinloch and The Hills with no stress on tee times and few guests each day, so you'll feel as though you have the whole place to yourselves.
The diverse geology and landscapes: From the tip of the north to the bottom of the south, New Zealand covers the equivalent distance and latitude between North Carolina and New Hampshire, but in the Southern Hemisphere. With its stunning beaches in the north to its widespread mountains in the south, the diversity of New Zealand's geology is unlike any other country in the world.
Easy to get to and travel within: It is a little known fact that New Zealand is only a 1 hour time difference from Hawaii, and to travel to New Zealand from California, it’s a meal, a movie, a 6 hour sleep, breakfast and you are there. When you get here, the fantastic domestic network allows you to get around much of the country with ease by turning up at airport like the good old days: a mere 30 minutes prior to departure! Driving is easy too, although you do drive on the left, but there is little traffic with only 4 million people in the whole country.
The culture: The indigenous culture is that of the Maori, and New Zealand is incredibly proud of its Maori heritage. Witness a Haka dance (performed when the All Blacks Rugby team play or at many of the Maori culture experience venues around the country) and you will experience shivers down your spine! Maori traditions include a Maori "Hangi", a traditional celebration where meat and root vegetables are slow cooked Polynesian style underground on hot rocks.
Safety: New Zealand is renowned as being an extremely safe destination. Incidences of crime tend to small and New Zealander's see themselves as one large community. It is not uncommon for relatively "small" incidents such as robbery to make national headline news!
People: The large proportion of New Zealander's descend from European heritage (Scottish, English, Irish predominately), Maori (Pacific Islands) and a growing number of Polynesians in the main center of Auckland (the world's largest Polynesian populated city). This eclectic mix of cultures has resulted in a society of some of the most friendly and hospitable people in the world. Don't ever be afraid to stop your car to ask directions, but be forewarned as you may get invited back for dinner at the farm!
Wine: Classic wine growing techniques have adapted New Zealand's wine produce to be some of the finest examples of new world wines in the world. From its stunning classic varieties of the Hawkes Bay (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec) to the Sauvignon Blanc's from the Marlborough region and the Pinot Noirs of the Queenstown region - there is ample choice and variety of world class wines to try throughout the country.
Flora and Fauna: New Zealand is the newest country on earth and hence has an abundance of wildlife and incredible fauna which has largely been unaffected by the influences of human habitation. With its isolation, there are hundreds of endemic species to the country, including the flightless Kiwi, the national bird of New Zealand. Along with the Rimu and Giant Kauri trees, another native to New Zealand is the Silver Fern which is often seen on New Zealand clothing, banners and flags.
The Outdoors: Ask any New Zealander what they enjoy most about living in New Zealand, and you'll likely get the answer: "It’s all about the outdoors, mate!" Participation in outdoor sports and leisure in New Zealand is extremely high with golf, sailing, walking, kayaking, mountain biking and white water rafting being among the more popular pastimes. With the diversity of the landscapes, and its beauty, it becomes very apparent early on as to why you would love to be living in the outdoors in New Zealand!
Peace and Quiet: Using the North Carolina to New Hampshire example, and imagine New York City with only a million people in it (Auckland area). Then in the rest of the space there is only another 3 million people, plus 50 million sheep and a few million cows! Therefore you have a large area of land, water and mountains, and very few people to spoil it!