5 reasons you MUST visit New Zealand!

New Zealand has always been high on our bucket list. Everyone we speak about this country is extremely enthusiastic. And after 3.5 weeks with a campervan driven through the country, we completely understand why!

1. Nature, so beautiful and diverse!

Wherever you are in New Zealand, when you look outside, the view is breathtaking. Never before have we been in a place where nature is as beautiful and as diverse as here. From mountains, glaciers and fjords, to lakes, active volcanoes, and caves. Most of our time we spent outside to enjoy all this. Boating between the impressive Milford Sounds, walking through Abel Tasman National Park and of course the Tongariro Crossing with its beautiful sulfur lakes. Even driving in the car on our way to the next destination, the view is phenomenal! For example, if you pass the clear blue Lake Pukaki on the way to Mount Cook. In addition, the landscape seems to be completely different every few kilometres In New Zealand you can experience all four seasons in a day.

Besides the nature, there is all this wildlife like dolphins, whales, penguins and of course kiwis. We were fortunate to see dolphins a few times and to spot a sperm whale on a helicopter flight. In addition, we saw sea lions and seals chilling on the beach. We have spotted hundreds of tiny glowworms and finally got acquainted with our favorite .. the sandfly.

Visiting New Zealand means spending a lot of time outside. We like visiting cities, but nothing beats the peace that you find here. And we are sure this outdoor life will also appeal to you. 

2. Wake up every morning in a cozy campervan!

Never thought that we would like camping so much! After 3.5 weeks of camping, we have plans to buy a camper or even better a big car and then convert it into a campervan! Who knows … Although the camping atmosphere in the Netherlands or Europe can not match that of New Zealand. New Zealand feels like the ultimate camping country.

Never camped before? Then it might be hard to imagine what’s the fun of staying in a tiny room while for the same price you can stay in a hotel. Well for us it is above all the feeling of ultimate freedom combined with a good dose of cosiness. Nothing better than deciding on the day itself where you will go that day. You can stop wherever you want, open the doors, unfold the table and have a lunch in the middle of nature. Bake pancakes on a tiny heater and just enjoy a cup of instant coffee sitting in  a folding chair. Showering under a ‘solar shower’ that is freezing cold, because, of course, you forgot to put in the sun in time. And the best thing about camping? The nice people you meet along the way. People with whom it clicks so well that you spontaneously travel together for a while. Resulting in cozy evenings with wine, card games and lots of ‘profound’ conversations!

When can we go again?

3. The most beautiful hikes in the world.

Yes, from camping to hiking … where are our matching zip pants? But yes nothing beats climbing, trudging, chatting and sometimes being silent for hours, while you have an amazing view every few meters!

In New Zealand, there are hundreds, maybe a thousand different hikes. All with clear signs, good facilities (toilets, taps, cabins where you can stay overnight) and always a Ranger in the neighborhood. Getting lost won’t happen, and there is something for everyone. Hikes range from 20 minutes to 6 days. At a DOC (Department of Conservation) or on the DOC website, you will find all the information you need.

The best known hikes: Routeburn Track, Kepler Track, Milford Track and Tongariro Crossing. Which is the best? That depends on the weather, but we found the Tongariro very impressive! One tip, the estimated duration (stated on the signs at the beginning of the route) of a hike is usually way to big. You can often just do it in half the time.

4. You can do as many adrenaline activities as you want!

Are you a real thrill seeker? New Zealand is the place to be! In Queenstown or Wanaka, activities such as Bungee jumping, rafting and skidiving will blow you up. But also in the rest of New Zealand, an adventurous activity is never far away. Okay, I have to admit, for me no skidiving or bungee jumping. However, I really enjoyed the helicopter flight above the glaciers followed by a ride by jetboot that shoots at 100 kilometers per hour over the water!

The prices for these type of activities are quite fine, but are you looking for great offers? Then take a look at BookMe. Through this website, we booked very cheap activities, just a few days in advance. In the Abel Tasman Parc we had a kayak for the whole day for only 20 euro each and when we were in Kaikoura, we flew in a tiny plane above the sea in search of whales for a less than 70 euro pp.

NZ:flight

5. Cycling between the vineyards and tasting the wines

New Zealand is a very young wine country. Most wineries are less than 30 years old. But don’t worry, in this short time there has been a large number of very nice wines! Scattered over both the South Island and the North Island are several wine regions with dozens of wineries. These are often open to the public and you can just walk in during the opening hours for a tasting and sometimes a guided tour.

One of the nicest memories of our time in New Zealand is cycling a bit tipsy through the beautiful vineyards. We did this in the Marlborough region, one of the most famous wine regions. Rented bicycles, a card at hand and here we go, from winery to winery. Buy a bottle at each house so that you can ‘taste’ again the next few days.

New Zealand wines are not imported much, the production is often too low. It was pure coincidence (and happiness!) that back in the Netherlands, we found wine from Saint Clair, our favorite winery, at our regular liquor store Ton Overmars. And now we have here in the Netherlands also little bit New Zealand!

NZ: clair vinyard


New Zealand

Click here for all my blogs on New Zealand!


Other articles about New Zealand

Travel Guide Merzouga: glamping in the Sahara!
Itinerary: The South island of New Zealand

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