The one and only time I have been to New Zealand was in 2008, and the experience has been permanently burned into my brain. My friend Timmy and I rented a camper van we nicknamed M’Lady and toured the South Island for about two weeks. It’s one of the few places I could live, no problem.
I remember when I was told my friends in Australia I was heading over to New Zealand. One of them said “Why? It’s about as far away from civilization as you can get.” I figured he was playing into the whole Australia vs. New Zealand thing, but once I got there I realized he was right, and I absolutely loved it.
If you enjoy the Outdoors in any capacity, New Zealand is the place for you. Camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, kayaking, and the list goes on and on, it’s all accessible and plentiful. You’re also surrounded by some of the best scenery in the world. If you’ve ever seen the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit trilogies, the backgrounds are legit New Zealand.
Outside Magazine put together some reasons to ignore traditional tourist experiences, and has some great tips. However, I like the lost because it has something for everyone. If you’re traveling with someone who might not be a big Outdoors enthusiasts there’s plenty to do in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, and other towns and villages dotting the two major islands.
It takes a long time to get there, but if you’re looking for something new, a place off the beaten path, or just to get away from the noise of the city, I highly recommend New Zealand. The exchange rate is usually good, perfect for English-speakers, and you get to learn about a new culture. I would also highly recommend learning a bit about the native Maori culture while you’re there as well.