I was lucky enough to spend last weekend in New Zealand for a wedding. It was a lightning-quick trip and it got me to re-evaluate my ideas about travelling there.
|The view from the flight into Christchurch|
I’ve now had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand three times because I fell in love with a Kiwi. I have to admit, and the traveller in me is not proud of this, that before meeting the boy, I wasn’t in a hurry to visit the Land of the Long White Cloud.
I know this may seem crazy to anyone who lives half the globe away from New Zealand – but as an Aussie, who lives just across The Ditch, I must confess I took New Zealand for granted. It wasn’t on my top five list of places to go next.
But Aotearoa, I must confess to you, I judged you too hastily. You are a magnificent country to visit and travel.
Here are my Top Five reasons why...
1. Nature untouched
New Zealand is a place where nature almost seems untouched by humans. Whether it's Milford Sound at the bottom of the South Island, Stewart Island or Matamata on the North Island, where the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was famously filmed, you won’t be disappointed. As well as hitting the big touristy places, some of the lesser-travelled areas like the picturesque farming land of South Canterbury or the hot springs of Hanmer, are well worth travelling off the main highway for.
2. Snow holidays are cheap and world-class
Whether you choose to head to tourist mecca Queenstown, on the South Island, or choose a smaller location, like Mt Hutt, you won’t be disappointed. The prices of daily lift tickets and hiring gear is a whole lot cheaper than any of the major international ski resorts. You’ll have top quality powder and you’ll have it all to yourself on the uncrowded slopes. Especially from Australia – it’s often cheaper to fly to New Zealand and spend a week skiing, rather than travelling domestically to a ski resort.
And I don't mean their national animal, I mean the people. Now I might be a little biased here and I'm not sure if its because of New Zealand’s relatively low population, (at last count, around 4 million, less than the size of Sydney or half of New York City), but everyone is pretty damn friendly and they really do appreciate tourists. Small towns along the main highways, especially in the South Island, appreciate the contribution of tourism. And the passion for their sporting teams from the All Blacks to hockey and netball is something worth witnessing first hand in a small country pub!
4. Wine, wine and more wine
I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad glass of sauvignon blanc from anywhere on New Zealand’s South Island. And it is quite possible I’ve tried almost all of them and had a few hangovers trying. The South Island’s wineries are world famous for their drops, with good reason. There’s nothing like a glass of white wine in the crisp, cool New Zealand air!
5. The exchange rate
Reality check time. Money is always a factor in deciding when and where you travel, and how much you do. Most major currencies currently have a great rate of exchange with the New Zealand dollar. The down side is New Zealand isn’t experiencing strong economic times at the moment, like so many others countries, but all the more reason to spend your tourism dollars there.
So - there’s my top 5 reasons for going to NZ. My boy says I’ll have to get started on the other 45 right away….