How Well Do You Know Australia and New Zealand?


By: Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: Stefan Mokrzecki / Photodisc / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Australia and New Zealand sit in the South Pacific, in an area known as Oceania. Around 10,000 miles separate Sydney from London, and even L.A. residents are 8,000 miles or so from the closest wild kangaroo. Being so far-flung from Europe and the Americas, these countries are often reduced to funny quotes, charming accents and blooming onions for people who've never sprung for a plane ticket to the Land Down Under. Many people have heard of Bondi Beach or could recognize Sydney's iconic opera house, but they probably couldn't guess the name of Australia's capital city in one try. People from the U.S. might not know whether Australia and New Zealand share a government, but they know that Steve Irwin was the Crocodile Hunter, Paul Hogan was Mr. Dundee, and if you take a trip to the Outback, they'll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you.

Yet these countries are so much more than memes and pop culture references. They're nations with rich histories — former colonies that achieved independence and feature unique cultures and seemingly endless sights and natural wonders to explore. 

And while Australia and New Zealand are often lumped together in conversation, keep in mind that you'd have to travel a whopping 1,500 miles to go from the capital of one of these countries to the other. Think you know more about these countries than most? Prove your Aussie and Kiwi IQ with this quiz!

New Zealanders are often called Kiwis. The name is inspired by a native animal, but do you know what kind?

Found in the wild only on the island nation of New Zealand, the kiwi is a flightless bird about the size of a chicken. The nation's government calls this bird endangered, with only around 68,000 left in the wild as of 2019. And, in case you were wondering, kiwis are not native to Australia.


Can you name Australia's capital city? Hint ... it's not home to an iconic bridge and opera house.

Australia's political hub and capital city is Canberra, which is located on the country's southeast coast, between Melbourne and Sydney. The neighboring nation of New Zealand maintains its capital at Wellington.


Pick the correct name for the official currency used in both Australia and New Zealand.

Both Australia and New Zealand use the dollar as their currency, though the Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar are totally different currencies and are not interchangeable. If you're ever in the area, you can use your Kiwi dollars in the Cook Islands or on Pitcairn Island, or use up those Aussie dollars on Christmas Island or Kiribati.


Which body of water separates Australia and New Zealand?

The Tasman Sea lies between New Zealand and Australia. While these two nations are often considered close neighbors, they are actually about 1,000 miles apart. That's roughly the distance from New York City to Walt Disney World in Florida.


New Zealand has around 5 million citizens. Know the population of Australia?

So much of Australia consists of the wild open bush lands. This massive island nation has just 25 million people, compared to the 330 million or so who call the United States home.


April 25th is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand. Which war inspired this important public holiday?

Aussies and Kiwis celebrate a public holiday called Anzac Day on April 25 every year. The name comes from the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, or ANZAC, which was formed during WWI. April 25 marks the day the combined forces first saw military action on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.


Which of these is NOT an official language of New Zealand?

Australia has no official language, but New Zealand has three. These include English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language. While English is by far the most widely-spoken language in both of these countries, Mandarin, Cantonese and Arabic are also surprisingly common.


Wellington might be the capital, but can you name New Zealand's largest city?

Nicknamed the City of Sails, the city of Auckland on the North Island has a million more residents than New Zealand's second-largest city. Like Sydney, Australia, it has its own prominent Harbor Bridge. Auckland is home to Sky Tower, which ranks among the tallest towers in the Southern Hemisphere.


Kangaroo vs Tasmanian devil ... which of these two Down Under natives is larger?

Both kangaroos and Tasmanian devils are native to Australia. The kangaroo is much larger, on average, and can be 6 feet or taller and weigh in excess of 200 pounds. Despite their reputation from Looney Tunes, Tasmanian devils, like the one shown here, are relatively small marsupials, weighing in at around 15 pounds or so.


Both Australia and New Zealand were once colonies of a great world power. Know which one?

While Polynesians settled in New Zealand around 700 years ago, and Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for millennia, Europeans first visited these countries in the 18th century. Both became British colonies, though each won independence in the early 1900s.


Australia is basically made up of one big island. How many large islands make up the bulk of New Zealand?

New Zealand is made up of two main islands, which are known as the North and South Islands, or Te Ika-a-Maui and Te Waipounamu in the Maori tongue. Another 600 or so tiny islands are also part of Kiwi country.


Know which month Aussies celebrate the public holiday Australia Day?

Australia Day is a huge holiday Down Under. Held each January 26, which is the heart of the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere, this holiday marks the arrival of the first European colonists at Port Jackson, New South Wales, in 1788.


People of both Australia and New Zealand love their lamingtons, but do you know what they are?

People Down Under have their own favorite dishes. While Aussies feast on a fish called barramundi and Kiwis love a shellfish called tuatua, citizens of both nations love their lamingtons. These traditional treats are small sponge cakes dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with coconut flakes. They can be homemade or bought prepackaged.


It's hard to mention Australia without talking about its iconic opera house. Do you know what year it was completed?

Made up of a series of concrete shells, Sydney's beloved opera house was completed in 1973. A landmark of both Sydney and the nation, it appears to have a monochromatic white finish from a distance, but actually features a chevron design of alternating glossy and matte stripes.


Australian rules football is hugely popular Down Under. What ball used in U.S. pro sports does the Aussie rules football resemble?

Depending on where you live, the word "football" can mean NFL, soccer or even Australian rules football. Played with a ball that is very similar to an NFL football, Aussie footy takes place on a modified cricket field and features heavy contact between players wearing none of the protective padding of an NFLer.


Planning to rent a car while touring in Oceania? What side of the road do Aussies and Kiwis drive on?

Like most other former members of the Commonwealth, including India, Hong Kong and South Africa, people in New Zealand and Australia drive on the left side of the road. It can be a big change for tourists visiting these nations, as drivers in the Americas and most of Europe and Asia drive on the right.


Can you name the coffee concoction known for its velvety texture that originated in either New Zealand or Australia, depending on who you ask?

If you can't get started in the morning without your flat white, you've got an Aussie or a Kiwi to thank. This espresso beverage made with velvety steamed milk first appeared in the '80s in Sydney ... and Auckland ... and no one has quite pinned down which of the two nations should get credit for the creation.


Didgeridoos and taonga puoro are part of traditional culture in Oceania. Know what they are?

While the European influence is strong in Oceania, both Australia and New Zealand have rich native cultures. Aboriginal Australians developed a long trumpet-like instrument known as a didgeridoo, while Maori people play various flutes and trumpets known as taonga puoro.


Christianity is a popular religion in both Australia and New Zealand. What is the second most common religion?

New Zealand is one of the least religious nations in the developed world, with almost half of all citizens reporting that they are not part of any religion. Around half of Aussies are Christians, while a third describe themselves as non-religious.


The Brits weren't the first to explore New Zealand. Do you know which group got there first ... besides the Polynesians, of course?

Exactly 150 years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the Dutch explored New Zealand in 1642. It would be another century or so before James Cook reached the area and "discovered" Australia in 1770.


The flags of Oz and New Zealand are awfully similar. What is the biggest difference between the two?

New Zealand and Australia both drew inspiration for their official flags from the Union Jack. While the flags of these two nations are virtually identical, there's one easy way to tell the difference: the Aussie flag (left) has white stars, and the stars on the New Zealand flag are red.


Can you name the tallest overall mountain peak in Australia or New Zealand?

Australia's Mount Kosciuszko is one of the Seven Summits, a name given to the tallest peak on each continent. At 7,310 feet, however, it's much smaller than New Zealand's Mount Cook, which soars 12,218 ft above the country's southern island.


As of 2019, how many times have Australia or New Zealand hosted the Olympic Games?

New Zealand has never hosted the Olympics, as of 2019. Australia has played host twice, once in Melbourne in 1956 and again in Sydney in 2000.


New Zealand broke barriers in the 1890s as the first nation to do what?

New Zealand may be small in area, but it is large in influence. In 1893, the country made headlines when it became the first nation in the world to allow females to vote. Canada followed in 1917, with Britain and the U.S. catching up to modern times over the next few years. Shown here is Kate Sheppard, an important figure in New Zealand's women's suffrage movement.


New Zealand tourism got a huge boost in the early '00s when a beloved movie series was filmed in the country. Know which one?

Peter Jackson filmed all three movies in his Lord of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand, between 1999 and 2000. You can still visit Matamata to tour Hobbiton village or check out the Land of Mordor setting at Tongariro National Park.


Which of these inventions was NOT dreamed up in Oceania?

Australia and New Zealand have been the site of many great inventions, including bungee jumping, jet packs, cochlear implants, the black box and the electric drill. Television, however, was invented in the U.S. by Philo Farnsworth.


Waitangi Day is one of New Zealand's biggest public holidays, and a great day for a beach trip. In which month is it celebrated?

On February 6, 1840, a group of Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which gave Britain sovereignty over New Zealand. Today, each February 6 is celebrated as Waitangi Day among Kiwis, inspiring beach trips and backyard barbecues.


Think you can name the body of water that divides New Zealand into two main islands?

Named for Captain James Cook, the Cook Strait splits New Zealand into two major islands. At its narrowest point, the strait is only about 14 miles wide.


Candy is pretty much universal, but do you know which candy bar was created in Adelaide, Australia?

The Violet Crumble is one of Australia's favorite candy bars. This honeycomb toffee and chocolate creation was invented in Adelaide way back in 1913, and its name was inspired by the favorite flower of inventor Abel Hoadley's wife.


Snakes on an island! Tell us about the snake situation Down Under.

If you hate all things that slither, you should be safe in New Zealand because the island is snake-free. Steer clear of Australia, however, because the country is packed with snakes, many of which are equipped to kill you without breaking a sweat.


Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, is a world-record holder. Do you know why?

Dunedin's Baldwin Street is the steepest street in the world. Located on the South Island of New Zealand, it's held the title of steepest residential street since the late '80s, but still hosts an annual running event called the Baldwin Street Gutbuster.


Which of these industries served as the basis of the New Zealand economy for centuries?

New Zealand's economy was hugely dependent on shipping dairy and meat to the U.K. and U.S. until the 1980s. An economic recession and major policy changes created the country's financial and service-based economy of today.


Which of these plants is an important symbol of New Zealand? Hint ... it's not the kiwi fruit.

The silver fern, or ponga, gets its name from the white to silver color on the underside of its leaves. It has been a military symbol for the nation, and it appears on New Zealand's coat of arms and many industry and corporate logos.


Vegemite and Marmite are hugely popular spreads Down Under. What's the main ingredient in these classic recipes?

The British import Marmite dominates in New Zealand, while Aussies prefer the homegrown alternative known as Vegemite. Both are made from brewer's yeast and give a salty, umami flavor when spread on toast or other foodstuffs. Vegemite, unlike Marmite, has added vegetables and spices.


Summarize the kangaroo situation faced by Aussies and Kiwis for us.

Australia has an estimated 50 million kangaroos ... that's twice as many kangaroos as there are people! There are no wild kangaroos in New Zealand, but the country is home to a smaller marsupial known as the wallaby.


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