In 2014 I decided to spend the year traveling New Zealand. Originally from Sweden, but spending most my childhood in South Africa, I was excited by the prospect of new scenery and new adventures. I was attracted to New Zealand due to the outdoor lifestyle. I spent most of my spare time working outside in South Africa.
My parents helped look after a national park so we would always spend weekends going on hikes and treks. I researched what New Zealand had to offer and it seemed perfect! I spent one year but I could have easily spent another year or two there. With so much to do it really is a special place!
I arrived in Wellington and spend the first three months working at a Crossfit box. I’m a qualified personal trainer so I really enjoyed this (we even got to work with the New Zealand rugby team one day!) We worked with some amazing people over – the guys from Fitness Drum even came down for a week to help go through some HIIT exercises. After that I headed to Auckland and worked at a yoga studio. I worked Monday to Friday is a job I loved and spent my weekends and evening traveling and exploring the country. Often I would ask to get Friday off work as well so I could have three days to travel further afield. Rather than rambling on about my experience I thought I’d give you a list of the best things to do in New Zealand.
Best Places to Visit in New Zealand
The action capital the country, this is one of the most vibrant cities I’ve ever been in. There’s a lot of outdoor activities and sports (bungy jumpy is the most popular) to do in the area, amazing restaurants, and the best night life in New Zealand. This is so popular with tourists and the city never sleeps. New Zealand is under populated so some areas can feel quite isolated but Queensland feels like the heart of the country.
If the city life isn’t your things then I recommend checking out Hike Franz Josef Glacier – Hiking these glaciers is pretty amazing. There’s not much in this town besides the glacier hiking. Be sure to crawl through the glacier tunnels! They are amazing.
The Bay of Islands
North of Auckland, this area has some of the best opportunities for dolphin and whale watching, relaxing on the beach, swimming, boating, and eating seafood. When we went we saw whales on several occasions which was truly amazing.
Abel Tasman National Park
I would also recommend visiting Abel Tasman National Park. This national park looks like something out of a movie with its turquoise blue water, dense jungles, and warm temperatures. There are many multi-day hiking trails and beautiful sea kayaking throughout the park. The people are so friendly as well.
A trip to Wellington is also definitely worthwhile – New Zealand’s capital has great architecture, character, fantastic nightlife, restaurants, and cultural activities. It’s a great starting point and has plenty of tourist attractions to keep you entertained.
My final tip would be to get involved with some Maori culture – Maori culture is important to understanding life in this country. You find Maori symbols and words throughout the country. See a cultural show while you are there to get a better understanding of the life and history of the country’s native population. Rotorua is famous for its Maori cultural shows.
That’s all from me, hope you find this useful and book your trip to New Zealand soon!