If you are looking for a slow-paced nature-filled adventure head to New Zealand.
- Passport Needed: Yes
- Visa Needed: No (at the time of this posting, check the US Department of State Website for updated travel requirements.
- Before booking the trip, check for travel alerts and warnings.
- Auckland Airport (AKL)
- The currency is the New Zealand Dollar. Use a currency converter to check updated data, prior to booking a trip.
- Langauge: The official language is English. Hello= Kia Ora
New Zealand is made up of two islands; the North Island/Te Ika a Maui and the South Island/Te Waipounamu. We visited Auckland located on the North Island and took a tour into the Bush.
Note: We flew with Emirates and Emirates is an amazing airline! The service, the quality, the menu, everything was very organized. Anytime in the future when Emirates is an option, it will be the first choice!!
FYI New Zealand:
- New Zealand people are known as Kiwis (this is not derogatory).
- Kia Ora means ‘Hello’, it is taken from the Māori language.
- If you are wondering about the “All Blacks”, it’s New Zealand’s Rugby Team.
- Lord of The Rings fans will find more Lord of The Rings fans, the movie was filmed here.
- Access to some other islands is available by Ferry at reasonable costs.
- The buses felt very safe.
- Kiwis are a friendly bunch!!
- Working Holiday Visas are available to US citizens here!!
Not so important things to know:
- Internet speeds are slow.
- Eat a meat pie before you leave, apparently a New Zealand staple.
First Impression: New Zealand is for nature lovers!! And although the downtown area of Auckland was very nice the opportunity to visit beaches and the New Zealand bush was the highlight of this trip.
Hotel: We stayed in downtown Auckland and unlike the previous cities there is no subway/train/rail system. However, just outside the airport there is a bus line that has several stops in the downtown area of Auckland. Just follow the people with backpackers bags! Two tickets and less than an hour later we arrived at VR Queen Street Hotel.
VR Queen Street was nice enough but in need of some refreshing. The room size was good, the full kitchens were very useful, and the service people were very accommodating. However, some areas of the hotel are showing their age.
Auckland city is noticeably very multicultural, just take a walk down Queen Street and an abundance of nationalities are represented. This may also explain the large variety of authentic food options.
We experienced burgers, Korean, Sushi, Italian, and food we commonly find at home in the USA.
We arrived during the large Diwali celebration that took over downtown Auckland. The dancing, the Indian street food, vibrant color and passionate celebration was a great experience.
Although the culture explosion and food were impressive, visiting New Zealand was about escaping the city and finding nature. So we booked a tour with Bush and Beach.This tour company is highly recommended.
The knowledge of the tour guides and the organized itinerary was all on point.
We were introduced to our first black sand beach.
Walking a black sand beach in New Zealand was a dream. Standing by the ocean, I felt small. Standing so far away from home on the beautiful shoreline I was thankful that I was not surrounded by high rise hotels and chain restaurants and instead was pleased to be in the presence of classic natural beauty that was untouched and encompassing.
“I hope you still feel small standing by the ocean”
The flowers were in bloom.
The multiple beaches we found were serene and uncrowded.
And after visiting various cities, it was nice to spend time with nature.
Fact: New Zealand has no nasties. There are no worries to be had about heading into the New Zealand bush. NO poisonous critters and no snakes!! How is this possible???
If I had remembered, I would tell you age, genus, and species of these trees…but I don’t so I guess you’ll have to go on the tour yourself.
Included in the tour were some very interesting facts and history about the indigenous Māori people.
If New Zealand is on your radar please head to Middle Earth ASAP!