12 Interesting Geographic Facts About New Zealand For You to Note If You Are Traveling There

1) Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound are actually fjords and not sounds. A fjord is a valley formed by glacial activity while a sound is a valley created by rivers. The most photographed mountain in New Zealand is Miter Peak, located close to the shore of Milford Sound.

2) The amount of rainfall in New Zealand varies widely, with the highest rainfall on the west (Fiordland) of South Island and least on east (Canterbury) of the same island. It is good to note that Auckland is the wettest city, Christchurch is the driest, and Wellington is probably the windiest.

3) New Zealand is a temperate country, although sub-tropical conditions are experienced in Northland and Auckland. It is generally the warmest in January and February (summer), and coldest in July (winter). The weather can change quickly and unexpectedly that it is possible to experience '4 seasons within a day'. You might want to bring a jacket or hoodie along when you are out.

4) The highest point of New Zealand is Mount Cook, Maori name Aoraki, which stands at a height of 3,754metres. It has 3 summits and lies in the Southern Alps at the South Island. Unless you are an experienced climber, otherwise, just stick to the normal walking tracks in the village that lead to spectacular viewing points of Mount Cook.

5) Earthquakes are recorded in New Zealand almost daily, with about 14,000 quakes annually. Most earthquakes are very mild and you might not even feel it. In fact, the beautiful Southern Alps are formed due to the collision between the two tectonic plates.

6) New Zealand has many volcanoes. Auckland city is built on 49 dormant volcanoes, known as Auckland Volcanic Field. White Island is the most active volcano with the last eruption from March to September 2000. The largest ski resorts, Whakapapa and Turoa, are built on Mount Ruapehu, which had its last eruption on 25 September 2007.

7) There are many glaciers all around New Zealand, with Franz Josef and Fox Glacier being some of the more popular ones. Glacier is formed due to repeated freezing and thawing, and that's why the tracks constantly need 'shaping'. The gorgeous blue tint is due to absorption of red light and reflection of blue light.

8) The longest geographical name in the world, Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, is the Maori name for a 305-meter hill in southern Hawke's Bay (North Island). The 85 letters translates to "The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who traveled about, played his nose flute to his loved one."

9) You know you are near or in Rotorua when you smell sulphur. There are heaps of geothermal activities all around the city, with Hell's Gate and Pohutu Geyser that are better known. It is said that the ground is hot and you can see steam coming out from cracks on the roads and openings on pavement. I have seen but never walked barefooted in Rotorua streets to test this fact.

10) The famous Waitomo Caves, at southern Waikato region of North Island, are believed to be over two million years old. In many regions around New Zealand, there are smaller caves that are not known to public. You should be able to spot native glowworms in most of these caves.

11) Hot springs are quite common in many parts of New Zealand. Personally, I have been to Waiwera Thermal Resort and Spa, and Hamner Springs. It is a wonderful feeling to soak in the hot pools first, and end the day with a facial and spa session. In fact, Waiwera Water was voted the World's Best Bottled Water. Personally, that's my fave mineral water brand in New Zealand, you gotta try it yourself to know.

12) New Zealand's peak ultraviolet radiation is around 40% higher than those in North America. This is due to the position of the sun, closeness of the sun during summer months and unpolluted skies. Also, the Antarctic ozone layer hole usually breaks up in early summer; therefore, the highest UV radiation is around 1.30pm between September and April.

Source by Doris Chow

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