Colours of the World: Every Country has a Unique Shade

Have you ever noticed how a town, a city, or even a country, seems to have a distinct hue, it’s very own shade of colour.

There’s three countries I have spent a significant amount of my life during my 31 years on this blue marble of ours. It’s only after you move away, relocate to somewhere new, that your eyes are opened to the colour, the contrast and the individuality of a town, province, or nation.

New Zealand

Lush, green, grey, gloomy and glistening, mixed with the washed out hues of the open coast. The stark contrast between the interior and the coast regions is something to behold. In the mountains and the forests, there is a deep green and brown, healthy and lush from the ever present rainfall. The higher you go, beyond the alpine, you see the whites and blues of snow and glaciers. There’s the windswept and exposed coastal areas, with the muted shades of coastal dunes and grasses. Don’t forget the meandering and rushing rivers, foaming white, green and blue over millions of rocks, smooth and jagged.


Sunburnt, red, yellow, green and bright. Endless deserts of red and brown. Salt flats as far as the eye can see. Coast line from the barren far reaches of the West Coast, to the lush palm tree lined metropolitan beaches, visited by the thousands. A place where it is as wet as it is dry, an island nation the size of a continent. Where it is Summer all year, and four seasons in one day. A place full of bright colour. The fauna and flora, vibrant, striking, loud, deadly. Endless beaches of sand that squeaks underfoot, lapped and crashed by dark green and impossibly blue.



Green, brown, grey and expanses of yellow. Forests of dense green and brown bark and tree roots. There’s something about the colour of the woods in Summer. A uniform, but striking colour of deciduous green and brown, the ground strewn with pine needles, rocks and tree roots, to be replaced by blankets of pure white, leaving on the brown trunks exposed. The vast highways that cross the nation, bordered by staggering mountain ranges of solid grey, broken up by miles of prairie of yellow and brown. A country that changes colour with the seasons, a place where seasons mean something. From bush fires to your breath hanging momentarily frozen in the air. Lodgings made of huge logs of timber, roofs at an angle in preparation for Winter.


This naming but three countries. Think of the place you live right now, or perhaps a country where you have spent some time. What are the colours and shades that you identify with when you think of these places?

It could be the bright white and blue from the island of Santorini.

The sweeping greens and jagged greys from the summit of a mountain anywhere in Switzerland.

Or maybe the palm fringed beaches of impossible white and azule blue beaches of Koh Phi Phi

Just take a moment, picture it.


I don’t know where this idea all came from, maybe it was after emerging from the forest to be greeted by log cabins and Canadian flags last week. Just the distinct colours and shapes made me think. This colour is unique, I can instantly identify with a place, a town, a country, when I see this. What else have I seen and experienced that is stored in my memory, anchored to a place in time and space?


Not my usual style of writing, but giving myself some creative licence for a moment.


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