New Zealand: Small country, big landmarks

It may be a relatively small nation but there’s no doubt New Zealand has a fascination with big landmarks.

It may be a relatively small nation but there’s no doubt New Zealand has a fascination with big landmarks.

There are nearly a dozen giant icons dotted around New Zealand and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What these landmarks share is not only their size but that they represent something close to the heart, history and character of their surrounding communities.

In the bustling ski town of Ohakune, nestled at the foot of Mt Ruapehu, stands a giant carrot. When the first settlers came to Ohakune in the 1920s they set up market gardens in a climate too cold for the usual pests, but perfect for carrots. Today the region is more popular for its snow tourism, sporting the best ski fields in the North Island. However the humble carrot still plays a major role in the local economy.

A short drive down the road is the town of Taihape. A service town reliant on its surrounding agriculture and horticulture, it’s only natural that a giant gumboot (or ‘wellington’ to Northern Hemisphere visitors) stands proudly at the entrance to this small central North Island town. This close-knit community holds annual ‘gumboot throwing’ competitions where contestants battle it out to see who can throw a gumboot the farthest.

The nationally renowned soft drink, Lemon and Paeroa, had its origins in the North Island town of Paeroa. The mineral water was pumped from a deep well within the borough to Innes Schweppes Limited''s manufacturing and bottling plant in Auckland. While the factory has since closed, a large L & P bottle still stands in the town.

Surrounded by rivers and streams, on the east coast of the South Island, is the town of Gore. Known as the country music capital of New Zealand it is also renown for its fishing. There is no surprise then that Gore’s landmark is an enormous trout, displayed jumping above a bed of rocks.

In the country’s largest city of Auckland stands the Sky Tower. At 328 metres tall the tower is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, and the 12th tallest tower in the world.

Other towns around New Zealand feature equally impressive landmarks including a giant kiwifruit, a giant sheepdog, a massive salmon and a giant paua shell.