New Zealand, here we come!

First travel guide post!

Hello everybody!

While I have been ‘feeding’ the city guide part of my blog since January, today I’m very excited to be launching my first blog post for the travel guide section.

If you followed the Facebook page the last few months, you propably saw my announcement that my boyfriend and I will be travelling to New Zealand by the end of this year, from 10 December until 14 January. Exactly 32 nights, wow, I’m so excited! We believe and know this will be one of the biggest trips of our lives (both in experience as in distance) so we’re really looking forward to it. Plus: it’s opposite of the northern hemisphere so we’ll be there during summer!

Why New Zealand?

I can imagine you’re wondering why we are willing to travel about 30 hours just to go on holiday. In fact New Zealand has always been on our wish list. It wasn’t until last year, while we were in Mosquito Coast (lovely bar in Ghent) and grabbed one of the travel guides, that we came up with the idea of actually going. You only live once, right?

Apart from that, there are quite a lot of reasons to visit this beautiful country:

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park
source: pacificislandtravel.nl

  • Nature: New Zealand’s nature is plain impressive and is known for its diversity in nature: you could go skiing in the morning and be down in time for dinner at the beach. The LOTR films also give you a good impression of what to expect of New Zealand nature.
    • Vulcanoes: there are quite a lot of volcanoes at New Zealand, especially on the Northern Island. Some of them are active as well. The most famous one is White Island, it’s a small island north from the North Island. You can visit it by boat or helicopter.
    • Glaciers: most of them are located near the main divide of the Southern Alps but there are also small ones on Mount Ruapehu in the North Island.
    • National Parks: New Zealand has 14 National Parks ready to explore by foot, car, boat or air. One of the most famous are Fiordland and Abel Tasman. Google it 😉
    • Fauna: the national symbol of New Zealand is the Kiwi, a flightless bird. The country is home to a lot of native fish, birds, lizards and frogs. Before the arrival of man (about 900 years ago), the country was mostly free of mammals. It’s also the place to be to go whale and dolphin watching.
    • Flora: because of its isolation for millions of years, New Zealand its native flora is very unique. The Pohutukawa tree e.g., has become an important part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition.
    • Apparently, the night sky is like no other. And I can’t wait to find out.
  • Wine: New Zealand is also known for its wines. It is home to what many critics consider the best Sauvignon blanc in the world. A lot of the vineyards are located in spectacular locations, be it close to a stunning shoreline or perched high among alpine peaks.
    Pohutukawa tree

    Pohutukawa tree
    source: allcountries.org

  • (Extreme) sports: from golf to cycling, to jetboating and bungy jumping  (the last two were invented there by the way!). There really isn’t a sport you can not do in NZ. Not really the active type? Then you can always go watch rugby. It’s the sporting backbone of the Kiwis so I’m guessing a rugby game is really atmospheric.
  • Culture: The country has a rich cultural history in which the Maori play a very important role. Their history stretches all the way back to Polynesia and explains the connection between them and New Zealand.

I made a small map with some of the points of interests I mentioned above:

According to many people, both tourists and inhabitants, New Zealand is one of a kind and leaves an unforgettable impression.

Our bucket list

We’re starting and ending our trip in Auckland, traveling all the way to the south and back. We’ll have a month to discover New Zealand so we will be able see and do a lot of things.

We are still fully planning our trip, but there are already a few things we would LOVE to do while we’re there:

Bungy jumping NZ

Bungy jumping in NZ
source: newzealand.com

  • Paragliding
  • Zipgliding
  • Whale and dolphin watching
  • Kayaking in Abel Tasman
  • Surfing
  • Horse riding
  • Boat trip in Fiordland

I am pretty sure the list will continue to grow… Activities in New Zealand cost quite a lot of money tough, so we’ll have to consider what we like best. But one thing is for sure: it is the place to be to have some adventure.

What’s next?

In my next posts I am going to talk about how we booked our flights and accomodations at decent prices, rent a car for just 20 euro/day, set out our route from north to south and back, etc.

So, I will keep you posted!

PS: 100% New Zealand is one of the best websites to prepare your trip!

PS2: if you ever visited New Zealand and you have some recommendations, please drop a note below!