This blogpost is written to share my travel experience to New
Zealand and is by no means a comprehensive travel guide to the country. If
you're looking for a travel guide, I would highly recommend checking out
Lonely Planet. Views expressed are my own and do not represent views that
of any other entity.
2015, I embarked upon my first solo backpacking trip to New Zealand.
Having done little planning in advance, I was feeling a little anxious,
but excited for the prospect of exploring a new land that I had come to
know so much about.
I had a few
ideas on what to do, where to stay, food, transportation etc, however, my
itinerary was fairly open - ended. I guess, I wanted to stay flexible and
spontaneous and was making reservations on the fly.
My first stop
was Paihia in the North Island. Having arrived in Auckland, I took the
Intercity bus to Paihia, which is a great place to explore the bay of
Islands. I checked into a hostel and was sharing the room with three other
travelers from Germany. The highlight of my stay was the bay of Islands
sailing cruise. We sailed into the bay through several Islands and
anchored our Yacht near an Island to explore the cove. On the Island - the
sailor made us some of the freshest sandwiches for lunch. Sailor's story
is worth mentioning. Sailors family is of chilean descent from Miami, FL.
He was born when his parents were sailing across the southern Pacific
ocean. He lives a traditional life - hunting his own meat and eating
locally grown produce.
I made my way
to the South Island and spent a couple nights in a small town of
Collingwood in Golden bay. Golden bay's main attraction is the Abel Tasman
National Park. An absolutely stunning scenery of Tasman bay enroute to
Wharariki Beach. Wharariki Beach is one of the most secluded beaches in
New Zealand. It is one of a kind, wild (for the surfers) and rugged. I
stayed at Zatori Retreat in Golden bay which is run by a Family run
retreat hotel. Tracy and the staff were delightful. As soon as I arrived there,
they had prepared dinner for us. I found myself sitting at the Dinner
table eating chickpeas curry with rice and raita with a couple other solo
travelers from the Netherlands and Germany. We spent the night under the
stars, sitting outside on the Patio - getting to know each other.
destination was Queenstown, New Zealand. A touristy town filled with
cosmopolitan restaurants and cafes. Surrounded by mountains - town offers
an long list of things to do. A Short drive away from Queenstown is
Glenorchy and Paradise, one of the filming sites for the LOTR.