Have you been to the best little country on earth? New Zealand is world famous - in New Zealand. We all love our little country and we have a slightly interesting sense of humour, cute flora and fauna and even a home grown lemon soda drink called Lemon and Paeroa - their slogan is "World Famous in NZ. Since ages ago". You simply have to try Lemon and Paeroa it is divine!
With Covid you may be restricted in coming down here but once this is all over and we have reached a 'new normal' you need to add us on to your 'must do' list. Where are we? Who are we? What do we do here? Do we like tourists? What is our most famous product? Here is the answer to all your questions plus more.
Where are we? If you have an old fashioned globe you just turn it over and there we are! Right at the bottom of the world, so to speak. We are in the southwestern most part of the Pacific Ocean just above Antarctica. That's the really big white bit on the bottom. If you are a little more up to date you can Google us and see where we are - we are in the southwestern most part of the Pacific ocean just above Antarctica. But beware as New Zealand is OFTEN not included on maps. Even the famous Smithsonian Insititute in Washington forgot to put us on the map so if you can't find us don't worry - we are here. So we are a long fight from anywhere, except Australia. From London to Auckland is a 24 hour flight with a stop over. Los Angeles to Auckland is 13 hours. So don't come down here for a weeks holiday because you won't be over the jetlag before you have to leave again!
New Zealand is populated with just a few million people and our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calls us the team of 5 million. Small, funny and so friendly we have it all except a lot of animals. Did you know NZ has only a few animals native to us? We have a few lizards, skinks, geckos, frogs and Tuataras (think cute little dinosaur lizard). We have a couple of bats, marine mammals like seals and some invertebrates. But compared with some other countries with Badgers, Bears, Moose, Otters, Kangaroos, Alpacas, Racoons, Possums etc we are pretty boring on that front. But what we do have is birds. Serious birds! Our most famous bird would be the Kiwi which is what we are all colloquially called - flightless, nosy and seriously cute. But our most famous celebrity bird would be Sirocco. He is a red carpet kind of bird but with no shame we are afraid. Sirocco shot to international stardom as a YouTube star when he 'made out' with a zoologists head. Mark Carwardine turned out to be seriously attractive to Sirocco and whilst Stephen Fry nearly wet himself laughing whilst Sirocco embarrassed us all. But we still love him. Cute little fella isn't he.
What do we do here? Well farming is pretty big here and dairy farming would now be the biggest export with wool being one of our other exports. We also count tourism as our second biggest industry and that has taken a huge hit whilst Covid has been hanging around! So that leads into the next question - do we like tourists here? Yes! Very much and we like to talk to tourists because we are sort of kind of isolated down here and, well, everywhere else is interesting to us. We especially like to brag about our own country and how beautiful it is and all the amazing things to do here and we aren't in the slightest bit biased. Not really anyway. We can't compete with Europe for history and castles and we are left in the dark when compared with the amazing things to see in huge numbers in the USA and Canada. South America has culture and history to delight all but New Zealand is relatively new and we don't have the long history of other countries. Maori came here approx 600 years ago so our history is interesting but short. However we make up for that shortcoming by being incredibly gorgeous! Oh and did I mention we have Hobbits?
Scenery we are not short on and boy we have some amazing places to visit here but the one mistake that every tourist makes is they don't make enough time for the country. Looking at us on the map we are small - approx the same size as the UK. We have two big islands, the North Island and the mainland South Island plus little Stewart Island tacked on down the bottom. We cover everything from sub tropical and blue water and beaches to make you cry at the beauty right through to Snow capped mountains with some of the best skiing you will find anywhere - just ask us! We have a coastline that is stunning and dotted with all sorts of interesting things such as Hahei Hot water beach. Hot thermal water seeps up through the sand and you can dig a little hole in the sand and sit and soak in the warmth and steam, its free. Free! The most common mistake then is that people can assume that a week or two is enough to see the country and they hire a car and off they go. The problem lies with our roads - they were designed by Hobbits to make sure they take in all the interesting adventures and food places around the country and so the roads are windy, twisty, curvy and narrow. Soaring mountains, windswept and carved rocks, tumbling waterfalls, boiling mud, steam vents, volcanoes and we have black sand beaches that are not a common sight in other countries. The sand is literally black and you don't know the agonies that NZ children go through when you have to get from your towel down to the water and the sun has been on the sand for the day - oh that is hot, burning hot.
One of the biggest delights when we do have tourists is watching the Tour buses pull over to let everyone off to watch a flock of sheep being moved. To us this is just normal and run of the mill so to see someone really enjoy something we find normal is just fun. Oh boy we miss you tourists! Sheep are a huge component of our countries identity and in fact it is the butt of many a joke with our close neighbours the Australians. But New Zealand does produce some of the best Merino Wool in the world and it shows in our beautiful clothing.
When you come to New Zealand to visit one of the other things that tourists made a mistake with is our weather. Summers are lovely but our winters are really cold and people don't pack enough warm items to cope here. But with the industry here specialising in Merino and Possum Merino you won't go short on choice. We also have a lot of Northern Hemisphere tourists who come here just to buy our goods because with the exchange rate in your favour we become even more attractive.
What is our most famous product? Well really that is just too hard to pin down. From a tourists point of view it would be all the amazing scenery and unique things we have in New Zealand. Lake Taupo where we live has the lake, volcanoes, boiling mud, thermal parks, hot water springs and that is just here in Taupo. But putting aside the beautiful scenery NZ is most probably famous for sheep and milk products. Our wool is second to none and our milk is exported worldwide. So we not only clothe the world we feed it too!
So when the world does open up a little more we will all be needing some de-stress time and holidays and we would love to see you come down to New Zealand and visit us and most importantly we would love if you come in and say hello to us here in Jumpers Taupo. We really cannot wait to see you all again! Plus do check out our website and if you love our store remember - we do post overseas.