Traveling New Zealand
What we loved…
Beauty and variety of the landscape – There is a lot on offer when traveling New Zealand. It is one of the few places on earth where you can scuba dive in the morning and snowboard in the afternoon. It’s got snowcapped mountains, crystal blue oceans, rolling green hills, rushing rivers, spectacular waterfalls, endless vineyards, hidden caves, stunning sounds, impressive glaciers, etc. And it’s all in one compact country.
Adventure sports – If Red Bull were to sponsor a country, this would be the one. They have the world’s highest commercial skydive, the tallest commercially raftable waterfall, and the biggest canyon swing. The inventors of jet boats and bungee jumping are from here. You can go canyoning, caving, black water rafting, skiing. snowboarding, kayaking, ice climbing, surfing, scuba diving, sand boarding. If adrenaline is what you’re looking for, traveling New Zealand will give it to you.
Freedom of car living – New Zealand is practically made for a road trip. Sure, there are two islands, but they’ll ferry you and your car between the 2, no problem. While they’re cracking down on freedom camping (free camping in undesignated areas), it’s still the cheapest, easiest, and best way to see New Zealand. You have everything with you at all times, are never on anyone else’s schedule, and have the freedom to go anywhere your heart desires.
What we didn’t love…
Cost – No matter how hard you try, you will bleed money in New Zealand. Between the high prices of food, gas and accommodation (unless you’re sneakily freedom camping, wink-wink), and the fact that so much of the activities you won’t want to miss while traveling New Zealand costs a lot of money (like all the awesome extreme sports), there’s just no way to do it on the cheap. Even with living in a car and cooking 90% of our meals, it was one of the more expensive countries we’ve visited.
Far away and too much to do – We’re not trying to complain about there being so much to do and see in New Zealand, we’re just stating that it’s hard to it all in one trip, and it’s a long flight to get there. We spent 10 days on the north island and 20 days on the south island and didn’t even come close to seeing or doing everything we wanted. For Americans whom only get 2 weeks off at a time, we recommend picking 1 of the islands (I would start off with the south) and concentrating on that. Then, you can do the other island on your next trip.
Language barrier – It seems absurd for a native English speaker to say this, but we had a lot of communication problems while in New Zealand. Either they couldn’t understand us or we couldn’t understand them. We eventually worked it all out, and always with a good laugh, but it was frustrating at times.