Seriously, I thought I knew what picturesque was until I landed in NZ. The ever changing landscapes are just incredible. I’m talking snow-capped mountains, active volcanoes, icy glaciers and mirrored lakes. Not to mention all the greenery and never ending sheep (approximately 4 per person I’ll have you know). It’s even home to the hills of Hobbiton which is a brilliant day out for any LOTR fans. It really is something when you’re driving past a forest one minute and then a waterfall appears the next. You have to go and see it to believe it.
The pride New Zealand has in it’s Maori heritage and culture is really something. I went along to a cultural Maori village experience and it was fun, informative and crazy! It’s always important for me to understand the history and culture of every place I visit and it was amazing to join in with traditional dances and games and indulge in the food cooked in the famous Hangi style (in an oven underground). For those of you who want to do the same, I’d definitely recommend going to the Tamaki Moari Village in Rotarua (one of the stops on the Kiwi Bus).
I already touched on this above, but the traditional way of cooking is SO. FREAKIN’. GOOD. The meat and potatoes are all cooked in an underground oven, topped with coal and left for a few hours. I’ve never had meat like it. Also, I like to call New Zealand the land of the avocado. WIN WIN.
From the moment I stepped foot into Auckland airport, I met so many friendly people. Airport, shop and hostel staff, tour guides and adrenaline activity instructors. Everyone I came across had a real zest for life and love for their country and wanted to share it with as many people as they could. But it wasn’t just the Kiwi’s that I loved, I met more friends for life on the Kiwi Bus than in any other of the countries I visited on my year of travels. I had the time of my life with such a like minded group of people and will never forget it.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then you need to get yourself to the adventure capital of the world! Although I was too chicken to do a bungee jump, I did do the world’s largest canyon swing, a 15000ft skydive and jumped off a cliff attached only to a zip wire. Yep. New Zealand makes you do crazy things! You can also go white water rafting, luging, mountain climbing, caving and scuba diving! It’s a never ending list of stuff that you can’t help but get stuck into.
This place was hands down top of the list for fun during my trip. It’s where you get your dose of adrenaline from but it’s also smack bang next to a gorgeous lake and has over 40 bars in the central district alone – Cowboys being one of our faves. It’s home to the famous Fergburger which has queues whatever time of day you go and is the perfect place to party with other backpackers.
So there you have it. 6 reasons why New Zealand took my heart. It really is the gem of Oceania. My advice? Book onto the Kiwi Experience, you won’t regret it.
With love and a whole heap of memories,