10 interesting differences between Europe and New Zealand

What is different between Europe & New Zealand? 

Aotearoa/New Zealand… A country that is on the bucket list of many travellers from all over the world. But if you’ve never been to this side of the world, let alone New Zealand itself, you may still be in for some surprises when you get here. There are many difference between Europe & New Zealand.

As a Dutchie, I have gradually encountered several differences during my work at We Tour New Zealand. The list below is a list of 10 differences I experienced between Europe and New Zealand.

Dunedin Railway Station

Dunedin Railway Station

Public transport

In the Netherlands, you can travel throughout the country by bus, train or other means of public transport. Even in the smaller villages where only 100 people live there is often a bus stop. There is almost always an option. And the possibilities are endless within Europe as well. There is much more available than just flights from one country to another. Do you want to travel from Amsterdam to Prague for example? There are buses and flights, but you can also go by train.

In New Zealand this is different. Although public transport is more than fine in the larger cities, this is not the case outside the populated areas. There are domestic flights here between the larger cities and you don’t even need a passport for this! There are also some train journeys that take you from A to B. In addition, there are also buses. However, these only stop at the more touristy places.

Food prices

In general, prices for groceries in New Zealand are more expensive than in Europe. But not always. For example, where you can buy an avocado in New Zealand for $0.99 at the right time, in the Netherlands they are always $2.34. So, there are some exceptions, with local produce, in particular.

Rad to Aoraki Mt Cook

Road to Mt Cook

Driving distances

Driving in Europe can be quite boring. Three hours on the road might feel like six. In New Zealand, it would be the same distance, but it feels shorter. The beautiful views make you forget the time. Everywhere you are, there is something to see as many of the highways here are along the coast, through the mountains or farmland.

Far, further, furthest

It is the furthest you can get compared to western Europe (the United Kingdom and the Netherlands). Not only in distance. Also, with the time difference. In a New Zealand summer, the time difference is +13 hours.

Also, it is really easy to travel around Europe. Not only because of the availability of public transport but also because the countries are relatively close to each other. In New Zealand, no other country is close. Sydney (Australia) can be reached from Auckland after a 3-hour flight, but that’s it.

Central heating

It can get cold in the winter. Although more and more houses are working on it, most houses still have no central heating or double-glazed windows which could help improve the insulation of the house.

If it’s below 0 degrees outside and the heating is not on inside the house, it can get to be just 10 degrees. Then, you definitely need something to warm you up! What is often used in New Zealand is a fireplace or a mobile heater.

Kiwi bird

What is a kiwi?

In Europe, most people will only know one meaning of the kiwi. This is the type of fruit. In New Zealand, the word ‘kiwi’ has three meanings! New Zealanders also call themselves kiwis. In addition, the kiwi bird is a bird that only occurs here. They also always say kiwi fruit with the type of fruit. This way there can never be confusion between the 3 meanings.

A kiwi’s character 

Life in Europe may be a bit more stressful; everyone looks out for each other or has an opinion about other people or things. In New Zealand, I experienced that less. Almost everyone lives their own life and respects what others do.

Free tap water

In all the restaurants and cafes in New Zealand, you get free tap water. Sometimes you don’t even have to ask for it. In Europe this is different. Here restaurants and cafes try to sell water at all times instead of just giving it. Even if you ask for tap water, you may still get bottled water and it will be on your bill.

Hokitika Gorge

Free public toilets everywhere

Public toilets in Europe are mainly found at petrol stations and in places where quite a few people come. In addition, there is often a lady who cleans the toilets and asks money for it. For example, at the larger gas station, you pay €0.70 ($1.12). For this, you can go to the toilets, which are often cleaned properly. You can also get a €0.20 ($0.34) discount on a coffee or snacks with the receipt you receive.

In New Zealand, it is arranged differently. There are free public toilets everywhere and they don’t charge for them at gas stations either. There is also one in the smallest places such as Kokatahi (near the Hokitika Gorge and Hokitika town). This is very useful if you are on a road trip.

 Lack of cheese

There are definitely some cheese options if you go to the supermarket here. However, in Europe, and especially in the Netherlands there are cheese shops everywhere. People often say that the cheese in New Zealand can taste a little bland. And there are simply fewer options than you would find in the average supermarket in Europe, even though New-Zealand has a strong dairy industry . 

Are you surprised?

Everyone can have a different opinion. These are the things that stood out to me as a European who has never been to New Zealand. If you want to learn more about the New Zealand culture and people, tourism New Zealand offers other useful information!

Nevertheless, it is worth immersing yourself in everything Aotearoa/New Zealand has to offer. Are you interested in touring here? We Tour New Zealand offer tours throughout the whole country. Contact us and we will help you to find the perfect tour for you!