Discovering New Zealand

The first stop on my world trip will be New Zealand! When I realized I know almost nothing about the country, I went to do some research and holy shit it looks amazing!

A short history

Because of it’s remote location, New Zealand was one of the last landmasses to be settled by humans. Only in the 13th century did Polynesians land on it’s shores. They became the Maori people. The Europeans didn’t stay away for long though. It was actually a Dutch person, Abel Tasman, who discovered New Zealand for the westerners in the 17th century. New Zealand is named after the Dutch province Zeeland (Zealand), although the Maori have a different name for it. After that follows a history of trade, colonisation and genocide. At this point only about 15% of the New Zealand populace identifies as Maori.

Foto: Tim Marshall

So, where to?

I wanted to make a list of all the things that I want to do when I’m in New Zealand, but that is almost impossible. I was all but drowning in amazing destinations and activities when I was researching. New Zealand has several amazing nature parks, a plethora of strange animals and a love for adventure. A couple of things stood out to me and I realized I hadn’t thought of how I would get from point a to point b (and c and d). What I read on the New Zealand tourism website is that there is not a great public transport connection between different locations and the best thing to do is rent a car. I don’t really want to put the cost of a rental car in my budget though, so I’ll have to try and figure something out.

New Zealand consists of two big islands, a medium one and a host of miniature islands. The places that I would really want to go are the following:

Northern Island

Hobbiton, Matamata

I’m not visiting New Zealand and skipping some of the Lord of the Rings filming locations. For the movies they build the Shire, the place where the Hobbits live, and when they were done they just left it. It looks amazing to fans and non-fans alike.

Foto: Andres Iga

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

One of the most recommended hikes in New Zealand (or at least one I keep seeing everywhere). I might have to train for it a bit though, because it’s a nine hour trek into the mountains. Sounds like fun!

Rotorua

This is a place to get to know a bit about the Maori culture and it’s also an active vulcano. I want to see what I can learn about Maori culture there and walk around on a vulcano again, because it really left an impact when I was visiting Yellowstone National park!

South Island

Whale spotting at Kaikoura

Whale spotting is high on the list of things I want to do while I’m on my journey. Apparently you can do so all year round in Kaikoura! I’m definitely going to make time for that.

Foto Iswanto Arif

Milford sound

Nothing but raving reviews of Milford sound. Apparently one of the most visited places of New Zealand and an absolutely stunning nature park.

Christchurch

One of the first things I read about Christchurch was that there is a Street art walk there. Looking for street art is one of my favorite things to do when I’m in a city, so if one advertises with it I’m going to check it out!

Foto: Casey Horner

Southern Lights in Dunedin

I didn’t know there was a southern equivalent of the Northern Lights! It would definitely go on my list, but it seems that they are most viewed during winter and I’ll be in NZ in summer, so it seems I’ll be missing out.

Stewart Island

This is the medium Island off the south coast of the southern Island. It’s supposed to be a prime star gazing spot, so I’m not skipping out on that. The only thing I need to do is figure out how to get there.

Franz Josef Glacier

You can walk on a glacier in New Zealand!? That sounds like an unforgettable experience. I don’t know if I’m capable of doing it, but that’s something I’m going to research a bit more later.

Do you have any recommendations for my stay in NZ?

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