Like any place I visit, I always reflect on my trip after I have left and summarize my highlights. New Zealand is a country from another world as if I had landed on a different planet. It really had it all: turquoise, beaches, mountains, glaciers, culture, marine life, kiwis, and friendly folk. Although I only had three weeks in New Zealand, I saw more than I could have imagined on my Stray Bus hop-on-hop-off pass. Stray’s jam packed scheduled allowed me to see all of the main destinations on both the south and north islands, while flying in between to save time.
I would have liked to spend more time in some places (of course I felt this way, it’s New Zealand!), yet I know this glimpse of New Zealand introduced me to the country and allowed me to see the best of it. After this trip, I’ll know where I’d like to visit again and the new places to see if and when I make back it a second time. Of course there were places I missed during the fall season that I can only dream about seeing someday in the summer-the Bay of Islands and the north island tip specifically.
My trip to New Zealand surpassed my expectations even though I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew I would be hiking a lot, seeing lots of mountains, and that it would be much colder than Australia (well, it wasn’t that much colder than Melbourne actually) as I was traveling in the fall, but other than that I went without any set visualizations. It really is everything and more that people say. Seeing it for myself made me realize it truly is a bucket list destination and a must see breathtaking country. Now I understand why most people add New Zealand to their bucket list.
My five top spots in New Zealand (even though I could literally list them all) are:
1. Abel Tasman National Park– For its sea-green turquoise water, isolated beach bays, hiking coastal tracks, and marine life.
4. Queenstown– For its icon reputation: adventure capitol of the world’s southern hemisphere, Lord of the Rings filming sites, gigantic mountains, and 85 kilometre turquoise Lake Wakatipu, and outdoor playground. Oh, and did I mention bustling touristy town?
I learned very quickly after starting to tour around the islands that New Zealand is bigger than I thought; the roads are almost all windy through the mountainous regions, and there literally are white sheep dotting the entire landscape throughout New Zealand. One word: Beautiful. If you have been to New Zealand, I’d love to hear about your favorite places. If you are planning a journey to New Zealand I’d love to hear about the places you plan to see and how you plan to tackle NZ, as I did a Stray tour due to limited time.