a travel guide to new ZEALAND
New Zealand is a breathtaking country full of natural wonders that smack you in the face from the moment you arrive. Always in the shadow of Australia, New Zealand is like a different world than its Aussie neighbours. Being on the other side of the world also gives New Zealand a slightly forgotten about vibe, but when you find it, it is truly eye opening.
Boasting under 5 million people, there is still plenty of space to get lost in the country. Rainforests, fjords, snow-capped peaks and scenic rivers dot New Zealand. It is the perfect blend for any budget traveller looking for an escape to the country. But don't worry, you are never too far away from a city to enjoy.
Thanks to New Zealand's small size, it isn't too difficult to get around the country. Explore the roads and get in touch with locals. Or spend much of your time enjoying the modern architecture of Auckland. New Zealand maybe on the other side of the world, but it is well worth the extra travel.
Thanks to British colonisation, New Zealand's culture has been heavily influenced by western forces. The British and other Europeans arrived in the 1800s and by the middle of the century, large waves of people were descending on the country. It isn't just the British and Europeans that have influenced New Zealand's culture, however. Maori culture was alive and well before any contact with Europeans. The culture developed by the Maori people came from Polynesians who had reached the island before 1300 AD.
Today, Maori culture has made a comeback in New Zealand. Around 14% of the population is Maori, but the country is also represented by other ethnic groups. Both English and Maori are spoken in New Zealand, but don't worry if you don't know the latter. English is the preferred way of speaking in the country.
Places to visit
Auckland is considered New Zealand's only true metropolis in the country. You will most likely arrive in Auckland and spend a few days there before setting out to explore the other cities and regions of the country. While you are there, check
out Sky Tower, it is the city's most iconic landmark. Standing at 328 metres high, you can head up to the observation deck for a perfect picture view of the city. After you finish there, be sure to head to Waitemata Harbour. At night the area is all lit up and makes Auckland a truly beautiful looking city by the sea.
Queenstown is often a favourite destination for budget travellers from abroad. Why is it so popular? Queenstown offers fun and games of the extreme variety. White water rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking and skiing are adrenaline pumping sports waiting for you to try in Queenstown. There are also plenty of relaxing hotels and restaurants if you want to spend a little more while you are visiting.
Looking for peace and quiet? Want to see what a small, laidback Kiwi town is like? May we suggest Russell? The former trading post is still well preserved and thanks to its preservation, Russell is home to some of the country's oldest buildings. Check out Russell Museum to see exhibits on the history of the Bay of Islands. Afterwards, head down to the beach for a swim in the picture perfect waters.
New Zealand's economy relies heavily on agriculture. You will find plenty of beef, chicken and lamb produced on the country's farms. In additional, the farms also produce plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. All of these items go into the recipes of New Zealand, providing a fresh and delicious cuisine.
While much of New Zealand's cuisine has been influenced by the British who colonised the island, other influences have also brought new foods to the country.
Maori culture has helped to develop the recipes and foods in New Zealand. One Maori traditional food that has continued to be a favourite is rewena, also known as Maori bread. Made from fermented potatoes, it is a food that has survived the test of time.
Due to New Zealand's close proximity to Asia, the country also had a large influence on its cuisine from countries such as China, Japan and Indonesia. Those
traditions began in the 1970s as more and more people from Asian countries moved to New Zealand.
What to see?
New Zealand is a naturally beautiful country, so finding gorgeous natural scenery won't be hard to do. But first, you have got to explore Auckland. History buffs will love the War Memorial Museum. The building that houses the museum is impressive and its Neoclassical look is striking. The museum was dedicated to Kiwis who fought in World War I, and it is home to artefacts that document New Zealand's past. There is also a Maori gallery that exhibits items that tell the story of their ancient civilisation.
Once you have explored the War Memorial Museum, head over to One Tree Hill. The symbol of the city, the hill is located in Cornwall Park. One Tree Hill is part of the remains of an old Maori fort.
Auckland has several islands just off its coast and Waiheke is its most popular. You will find cafes, restaurants and museums on the island. Once you have exhausted those venues, get down to the beach for an afternoon on the white sand.
Three hours from Auckland are the Bay Islands. The area is a favourite holiday spot for locals and international tourists. Along with great watersports, you will find an eclectic collection of animals that live there. Penguins and dolphins are just two of the extraordinary creatures that live around the Bay Islands. While you are there, it is the perfect chance to hit the sleepy little town of Russell.
Fiordland National Park is the premier spot to see wildlife and nature up close in New Zealand. Breathtaking doesn't do the national park justice as it does more than just take your breath away. Not only can you see unique natural features, but is a great spot for hiking. The vast trails allow you to enjoy a day of vigorous walking or a slow meander. After you are done walking you can jump into a kayak and paddle around the fjords. This is a must-see spot in New Zealand.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and second largest city next to Auckland. The Te Papa Museum is one of the most important attractions located in Wellington. Known as the country's national museum and art gallery, Te Papa offers an extensive look into the history of the country. After you learn about New Zealand's past, present and future, jump on the Wellington Cable Car. One of the
symbols of the city, it will take you up 120 metres to view the sprawling city. There is also the Cable Car Museum to view when you finish your ride.
Once you have exhausted all of the sites and attractions, finish off your journey to New Zealand with a trip to the beach. Ninety Mile Beach maybe the most iconic of all New Zealand beaches. Stand on the sandy shore and look out over the never ending expanse of ocean, and you will fill like you are on the final frontier. Located on the North Island and it can feel very remote when few tourists are out. Although it is actually just 55 miles long, you won't really notice as there is so much space to stretch out you will never want to leave.
New Zealand is one of the most popular countries when it comes to budget travellers. Many who come to the country love the nightlife offered by Auckland. The city has dedicated bars for budget travellers and you can find discount specials for those looking to save a few pounds on their journey.
Some of the best venues for music and drinks are located around Viaduct Harbour. Located off of Queen Street and Britomart, the area is thriving with cool bars and cafes. Queen Street is often considered the main drag when it comes to nightlife. Therefore, if you can't find what you want at Viaduct Harbour, there is a good chance you can on Queen Street.
Queenstown isn't only a hotspot for tourists looking for a little extreme sports on their journey, it is also a great city for nightlife. Searle Lane is the best place to find something to do or drink in Queenstown.
Wellington has a young, hip vibe that is completely different than Auckland. The city's relatively small size allows those out on the town to walk to many of the different bars and restaurants. Live music and dancing are always on the menu in Wellington, so don't be surprised if you find a late-night party each night of the week.