Comparable in size and shape to Great Britain, Colorado or Japan, New Zealand has a population of only 4 million, making it one of the world’s least crowded countries. In Maori, New Zealand has come to be known as Aotearoa, which is usually translated as “The Land of the Long White Cloud.” Today, New Zealanders are very sophisticated and highly educated urban dwellers. Members of a unique and vibrant multicultural society, New Zealanders are embracing 21st century technology and culture in record numbers. But New Zealanders also have a background of quiet but rugged individualism, self-reliance, and a genius for invention — qualities still evident in the population today.
New Zealand has a diverse population but with some uniting features that make it unique in the world. The relatively isolated South Pacific location and rugged landscapes still makes many New Zealanders quiet and independent, yet resourceful and self-reliant, with a famous ‘Kiwi ingenuity.’ The influence of Maori, Pacific Island, European and Asian cultures makes the arts in New Zealand colorful, unique and vibrant and definitely something to look out for! From haka to hip-hop, fashion to filmmaking, New Zealand artists are making their mark at home and around the world.
ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES
The accessibility of tourist attractions depends on the activity. Museums, theatres, etc. have good access but some of the adventure tourism activities like jet boating and bungee jumping may only be partially accessible. Operators are very helpful and willing to assist. Live music, farmer’s markets and buzzing nightlife are all a part of the culture.
Accessible Walkways, Beaches & Parks
Whether you spend time in the wilderness of National Parks or lovingly manicured private gardens, you’ll find an abundance of fascinating native plants found nowhere else on earth but New Zealand. Mount Maunganui has boardwalks that run right along the beachfront and accessible overnight accommodation is nearby. Most botanical gardens throughout NZ are accessible. On the West Coast of the South Island the trail known as Ships Creek is a mix of boardwalks and hard terrain which makes it a great little stroll through some of NZ’s natural terrain as is the famous West Cost Punekaiki Rocks.
Napier is NZ’s model community for walking and cycling so it is the ultimate accessible destination in terms of tracks and walkways which run right along the waterfront. Likewise, Kaikoura in the South Island is built on the water’s edge so visitors can easily travel into town or along the coast on the pavements on the water edge. Most destinations have pavements along the water’s edge and Accessible New Zealand knows them all as well as their levels of access.
Indulging in local food and wine is a must for many travellers. New Zealand is a food and wine lover’s paradise. New Zealand’s internationally celebrated varieties include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends). Vineyards stretch throughout every region where chefs add local twists to fine cuisine, live music is played and festivals serve up taste sensations.
Taste your way through three significant wine regions on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail (Hawkes Bay, North Island, Wairarapa and Marlborough, South Island) 80% of the country’s wine is grown here. Hawke’s Bay is the land of robust Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, in Wairarapa Pinot Noir gets star billing and Marlborough produces the best Sauvignon Blanc.
MORE TRAVEL INFO
- Lodging: The law requires every new motel/hotel to provide a certain number of units that are fully accessible. Travellers with disabilities can book a room at any of the large hotels but some of the smaller facilities with an accessible unit may not have access to their restaurants and other amenities. In New Zealand, the price difference between a 3-star and 4-star is not huge, however the quality and standard changes a lot. Some examples of their preferred accommodations would be Sky City in Auckland, The Hermitage at Mt. Cook and The Beachfront Hotel in Hokitika.
- Public Toilets: Accessible toilets can be found in most public places. Not all restaurants have an accessible restroom but a lot do, so if traveling alone call in advance to check.
- Transportation: Trains and buses may be difficult to access without assistance. Major train stations are generally accessible but some smaller ones have under or over pass approaches, which could be difficult for some disabilities.