I don’t know about you guys, but each year winter seems to get longer and far more unbearable. We’re pretty deep into February at this point and I can see the end of winter in the not too distant future (I’m ready for it to end immediately). I got a notification from Facebook today reminding me that three years ago I was exploring New Zealand. Missing the warmth and sunshine, it prompted me to write this post about some of the highlights and experiences from that year (I feel like it’s important to note that I’m sitting in the library at school right now).
I was 21 when two friends and myself decided to pack up and move across the world to New Zealand. Looking back, I realize how big of a move this was and how scary that could be, but at the time I was so excited.
Firstly, for all of you Lord of the Rings fans, I would have to credit one of my favorite
memories to visiting the Shire. Growing up I was a pretty big fan of the movies and was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the landscapes in the films. Well, this is a real place, it exists, it is New Zealand. The Shire is the only remaining set from the movies and having the opportunity to explore it and immerse myself into that world was very nostalgic.
New Zealand is known to have some of the best beaches in the world (it’s an island so obviously there is a lot). Considering how many beautiful beaches there are you might think it would be hard for me to choose a
favorite one. A clear front runner for me is Muriwai Beach which is located on the west coast of New Zealand. This beach has the brightest blue waters, the longest sandy beaches (60km long), and rich greenery everywhere you look. There are many beautiful viewing spots to take the perfect photo too. Fun fact, notice the colony of Gannets that reside there and watch them in action diving for fish.
Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world known for its high adrenaline sports. Fitting
because Kiwis were the first people to offer commercial bungee jumping. It sits on Lake Wakatipu surrounded by picturesque mountains. Check out the view at the top of the gondola, try a bungee jump or the Shotover Jet. There is also a very active nightlife with many bars for travelers to get the full experience. There is so much going on here but be careful because a lot of these activities can be quite pricey. Do your research and choose a few that excite you the most.
I also have to mention Milford Sound which is located just a few hours away from Queenstown. I did a
day bus trip there and it was the highlight of my whole trip. It’s so surreal to see such beauty and be made to feel so small. It was a very otherworldly experience, almost makes you feel like you’re in Jurassic Park. Don’t worry though, no signs of any dinosaurs but lots of big seals.
While I was writing this I was reflecting on all of my adventures over the past couple years. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to explore some of our beautiful world. I encourage you when you can, to go and explore the amazing world we live in.
Step out of your comfort zone and get lost in the culture, food, landscapes, and history that travel can offer you. I promise in return you will learn so much about the world. But more importantly you will learn about yourself, and returning home, that changes everything.
Where are some of the places you’ve loved traveling to? Or where would you love to visit? Let me know and be sure to check back for more travel stories.