So after my gapyear jaunts around America, next on my list was New Zealand and the Kiwi Experience. I can honestly say that New Zealand was the most amazing country and so much fun to travel in.
I had decided to do the Kiwi Experience – a bus which travels around New Zealand with a hop on-hop off system, allowing you to pick and choose what you want to see and how long you want to stay there. My pass (one of the many passes available to suit your needs) took me all the way up to the top of North Island, down and around to the South Island and also included a cheeky little trip to Mildford Sound.
And it was all incredible. New Zealand is a seriously beautiful country.
I started in Auckland, so spent a few days hanging around, exploring the city and of course ending it with a standard trip up the Sky Tower which offered fantastic views of the whole city. Next, it was time to aboard the Kiwi Express, and get on route to the tip of North Island – to the Bay Islands – where dolphin watching, a wet and windy walk along the beach and sand surfing (a terrifying yet slightly hysterical experience) was on the cards.
As I embarked on my trip around this beautiful country, I saw some incredible places, of which included; Hot Water Beach, Waitomo (where we went on a unique caving trip to the Glowworm caves) Rotorua (including a trip to a Maori Village equipped with traditional dancing and a delicious feast – the food was amazing. I’m actually salivating thinking about it), Taupo (where we saw a geothermal reserve, hung out in the natural hot springs and went on a walk, exploring beautiful waterfalls and taking in the vast surroundings), River Valley (where there was a huge amount of activities to do such as horse riding and white water rafting), Wellington, Franz Josef (Franz Josef was AMAZING. We took a helicopter up to the glaciers and then trekked across them. There were only a few minor incidents which slowed us down -turns out that walking through tight walls of ice can be a bit of a squeeze. And slippery. Praise to the very attractive tour guide who was on hand to pick up the people who fell. What? No, of course I didn’t fall on purpose) , Wanaka and Queenstown.
Queenstown was the perfect way to end an incredible trip where I met some amazing people and saw some beautiful places. I was especially looking forward to Queenstown as this was the place I was keen to do a bungee jump which I had been looking forward too since I started my trip. However, of course, me being me, I may have accidentally got a bit too excited on a night out, thought I’d be able to make a jump down some stairs, only to faceplant the floor and wind up in hospital. So. No bungee for me. My mum wasn’t too impressed either. Oops.
I had the best time in New Zealand and am so thankful for the people I met out there for making it a trip to remember. It is a place I would definitely recommend for anyone who wants to travel and to explore it via The Kiwi Experience bus tour is a pretty good way to go about it as well. It makes for easy transport, great locations, good access to great hostels and you meet so many different people. However, don’t do a me and think it’s a good idea to run and jump a flight of stairs. It doesn’t end well for anybody. Queenstown, you killed me. And my dreams of experiencing New Zealand’s highest bungee jump.
Once I was back in Auckland and everyone had gone their separate ways, I was starting to look forward to the next leg of my journey and excited to stay in New Zealand for a few more weeks. Luckily, with step-relatives living in Mount Maunganui, I was able to head there and spend the next week living in luxury – with a cosy bed and home cooked meals. And a lot of afternoon tea and fruit cake. Ah, bliss. Being quite a small place, there wasn’t too much to do here so I spent the majority of my time walking up and around the Mount (also sailed around at one point as well actually. Not me personally, I can’t sail to save my life ), reading and eating. Eating a lot. I also went to the cinema by myself, come to think of it. But the less said about that the better. In my defense, it was raining. And I’d had done everything else possible to do in Mount Maunganui. But whatever.
So New Zealand done and dusted, I was sad to leave but excited to continue on with my journey. Next was, Hong Kong and Thailand – more on that soon!