New Zealand

New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country is made up of two main landmasses – the North Island and the South Island as well as over 700 smaller islands. 

Capital City:

Wellington

Currency:

New Zealand Dollar

Total population:

5.08 million (2020)

Language(s) spoken:

English, Maori

Cultural dos:

Clean up after yourself at all times (especially in national parks, or in nature, in general) and do not litter

Cultural don’ts:

Don’t touch another person’s head, unless invited. For Māori, the head is tapu (sacred)

Continent:

Oceania

Three foods you need to try in this country:

  • Hangi (meat and vegetables cooked slowly in an underground oven)
  • New Zealand Lamb
  • Pavlova dessert

Bonus:

  • Manuka honey (famous for its healing properties)

What the country is known for :

  • Black Caps (National Cricket Team)
  • All Blacks (National Rugby Team)
  • The Haka (Mauri Traditional War Dance)
  • Lord of the Rings filming location
  • The Southern Alps
  • Queenstown 

More About New Zealand

I moved to New Zealand in 2017 for what was supposed to be a year or two of overseas experience. But fell in love with the outdoor life-style and the chill vibes of the country and its people, and ended up staying for four years (with hopes to return). This island is what I call a nature lover’s paradise. Packed with breath taking scenery spread across its vast borders with beaches, hot water springs, desert, rivers, hills, mountains, caves, you name it. There is a beautiful natural diversity in the country which makes for lovely exploration of a variety of native birds, flora and fauna. One amazing thing about New Zealand is that it has no predators and therefore generally worry free, for my fellow hiking enthusiasts.

People from New Zealand are known as Kiwis. Not sure if this is from the indigenous bird or the fruit. Kiwis are made up of mainly the Maori and Pakeha (white Kiwis). There are over 100 iwi or tribes, each with their unique stories and legacies. One can visit the National Museum in Wellington to see the Treaty of Waitangi or visit the Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands. The Treaty of Waitangi – will give you more understanding of the New Zealand history and may give you some idea or indication perhaps some of the cultural differences of New Zealand social make-up. The Maori are known for the Haka, a war dance performed in a group before a battle commences. It has been popularised by the All Blacks who perform the Haka at the start of each rugby game. Do not mistake rugby with Australian football with a Kiwi (New Zealander) though. The Maori culture is highly promoted across the country with a Maori Language week, matariki (Maori New Year) and a karakia (formal maori greeting) by a local iwi leader, at most official meetings/ceremonies. 

New Zealand is also a massive wine producing country with a variety of wine regions on the north and south of the island. As a recommendation, Otago Pinot Noirs and Marlborough whites are some of my favourites – also definitely give NZ Rieslings a chance. They are also big on their craft beers – I am not a big beer drinker so I cannot make any recommendations on this front. If you ever get an invitation to a Kiwi BBQ at the beach, don’t say no. It can be such a fun way to spend the day with people enjoying food, drink, games and nature. Don’t be afraid to take a dip into the water for a swim, but heed any travel advice on this front. 

Also, the hiking opportunities in New Zealand are vast. I am not big on hikes (it’s a means to an end), however the views one gets from the many hills and mountains are definitely worth the sweat. The South Island is host to the Southern Alps and therefore the snow-capped mountains provide such gorgeous backdrop on road trips on the South Island. For my fellow water enthusiasts, also try visit Lake Pukaki or Lake Tekapo in the winter and enjoy the reflections of the mountains on the water. If winter sports are something you enjoy, there are multiple slopes between Queenstown and Wanaka. For those adventure seekers, a trip to Queenstown or Rotorua also offers a range of activities that will surely get the adrenaline going.

Places visited

Destination Gallery

NEWS & UPDATES

Travel Blog

Living in an ashram in India

Let me preface this post by sharing that since this experience I have become a little better at researching tours and activities that I book in advance… On my first trip to India, after a

Read More »