New Zealand’s Lifestyle – Part 1
Articles > New Zealand's Lifestyle - Part 1
Today’s world moves at a fast pace. Hard work, success and long working hours seem to be the order of the day. New Zealanders work hard and enjoy success but the difference is, that they make time to enjoy everything that’s on offer in this beautiful country – family, friends, sport and the great outdoors.
New Zealand is a country often chosen by South Africans who want to feel safe in their home and work environment. It was ranked second in the 2017 Global Peace Index, with South Africa coming in at 123rd. New Zealand and New Zealanders share a lot with South Africa and South Africans. Both countries love taking advantage of what Mother Nature has given them, enabling them to embrace an outdoor lifestyle. And, of course, not to be forgotten is their joint love of rugby.
South Africa and New Zealand both have spectacular and diverse scenery, offering different activities. Anyone who has watched the Lord of the Rings Trilogy or The Hobbit will have yearned to visit New Zealand to experience its beauty first hand. North Island boasts a sub-tropical climate, experienced by much of South Africa. It also has its fair share of snow in the north during the winter. South Island is colder and wetter but its climate brings with it opportunities for experiencing winter sports, without having to travel too far.
New Zealand has pristine sandy beaches, majestic mountains, dense forests, lakes, river and fjords, all of which offer a variety of sports and activities.
New Zealand’s Ocean
New Zealand sits in the south west Pacific Ocean and has over 15,134 kms (9,403 miles) of coastline; so, if the sea, and the lifestyle it offers, is attractive to you, then New Zealand is certainly the place to be. South Africans love the sea. The inhabitants of landlocked in Jo’burg and Pretoria can be seen rushing down to the KZN coast for short breaks and to the Cape for longer ones.
The majority of South Africans live in Auckland which could have something to do with the fabulous black sand beaches and some of the best waves in the world. Piha is Auckland’s most popular beach and even boasts its own TV show – ‘Piha Rescue’.
There are great waves to be caught all over New Zealand and many surfers and paddle boarders use their holiday searching for the perfect wave.
New Zealand is divers’ paradise. The country has 44 marine reserves for divers to explore. Jacques Cousteau said that Poor Knights marine reserve was one of the top best dive sites in the world. Its massive caverns and sub tropical currents support an incredible array of sea life which rivals South Africa’s Aliwal Shoal, south of Durban.
Kayaking and canoeing are extremely popular as they give you the freedom to explore those places which are inaccessible by land. Sailing, yachting and motor boating are very popular throughout the islands and there are clubs dotted everywhere. Why not combine boating with flying, and try parasailing?
New Zealand’s 15,134 kms of coastline obviously attracts the avid fisherman. North Island’s most common fish are kingfish, snapper and terakihi and South Island’s are grouper, blue cod and trumpeter. Snapper is the fish sought by most, as one fish can weigh up to 10 kgs. Big game fishing season lasts from December to June, where yellowfin tuna, marlin and kingfish can be caught.
New Zealand’s Rivers and Lakes
There are 3,820 lakes in New Zealand, the largest is Lake Taupo which is the biggest freshwater lake in Oceania. New Zealand also has its fair share of rivers due to its high rainfall and mountainous terrain.
Jet boating is a must-do in New Zealand. A Kiwi invention, this adrenalin boosting activity can take you down shallow rivers, through narrow gorges at speeds of up to 85 kph (51 mph) and can perform high speed 360° turns.
At the other end of the spectrum is a quiet day’s fishing. The crystal-clear lakes and rivers are filled with both rainbow and brown trout, which will make South African freshwater fisherman feel right at home. Lake Taupo is one of the world’s best loved trout fishing spots.
South Africans, who love white water rafting ,will be happy to know that the art is alive and well in New Zealand. There are rapids from grade 2 through to 5 in various places all over the country. For those who don’t need to increase their blood pressure, the lakes and rivers offer many opportunities for sailing and generally enjoying being on the water.
Rural Activities in New Zealand
The New Zealand countryside offers a lifestyle which will be very familiar to South Africans. The climate is excellent for horse breeders and the thoroughbred industry is one of the most successful in the world. Horseriding is a popular past time and also a great way to see the countryside and mountains.
Cycling and mountain biking are sports which are constantly gaining in popularity. The country is extremely bike friendly with special paths and trails dedicated to bikes. There is even a bike wine trail – the Marlborough Wine Trail – which will take you to over 30 wineries where you can go wine tasting, just as you would in the Cape Winelands.
Walking is a wonderful way to see the countryside and soak up the sights, sounds and smells. New Zealand has thousands of kilometres of tracks which will keep any keen hiker occupied for many years.
New Zealand prides itself on being one of the top countries in the world for trophy hunting. The government issues permits for bird and game hunting and there are strict rules to be adhered to. Target shooting is another popular sport practised all over the country.
New Zealand’s Mountains
Where in the world can you surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon or vice versa? The answer, California, Morocco, Hawaii and New Zealand. Skiing is very popular with Kiwis and is easily accessible to everyone from July through to the end of September. During skiing season, the resort towns are full and Kiwi hospitality is found everywhere. Choosing where to ski is a personal decision. Both North and South Island have their pluses and minuses. South Island has more slopes and places to party but the largest commercial skiing areas are on the North Island at Mt Ruapehu.
Cross country skiing is very popular and a great low impact activity for the whole family. Free skiing, alpine ski racing and adaptive skiing all rank among the top skiing activities in New Zealand. Snowboarding is also followed by enthusiasts, and Ohau is a world renowned resort for snowboarders of all levels. Snow shoeing is a wonderful way to explore off-piste and anyone can do it. For those who want a skiing adventure of a lifetime, try heli skiing. You are dropped off at the top of a mountain by helicopter and either ski or snow board down on virgin snow.
New Zealand’s mountains attract climbers, trekkers and hikers from around the world. The mountains on South Island are just over 3000 metres but the valley-to-summit altitude climbed is similar to that of the highest points of the Himalaya. The most experienced climber will be challenged by the rugged and rough terrain and unpredictable weather conditions, while enjoying the majesty and beauty of the mountains.
Hiking and trekking in the mountains of New Zealand is a way to experience the grandeur and silence that’s experienced with altitude trekking. The routes and length of the treks various enormously from multiday treks which require a high level of fitness and stamina, to one-day strolls.
New Zealand can be seen from a different perspective if you’re at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Learning to fly or glide in New Zealand is certainly a great way see the countryside, in airspace which is relatively quiet compared with most first world countries.
Sky diving and parachuting are also very popular in New Zealand. There are companies all over the country which offer tandem jumps and training for solo jumps. For less of an adrenalin rush, you can float over the terrain at dawn in a hot air balloon, followed by a champagne breakfast. Hot air balloon racing is also popular and attracts people from around the world.