This post is by guest blogger Maia Fletcher who is a freelance writer from the sunny city of Gisborne, New Zealand. For Maia, a perfect escape involves a beautiful view of the beach and the soothing sound of waves as she sips a cup of tea. See more of Maia’s work on her blog.
New Zealand is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s the land of the long white cloud, home to 30 million sheep and a whole lot of native birds. There’s always plenty to do and it’s a great country to be adventurous in. Here are a few things you should know if you’re visiting for the first time. After all, New Zealand is likely to be very far away from home!
Learn some Maori words
New Zealand has a diverse, multicultural society. Maori culture is prominent in New Zealand society, and Te Reo Maori is an official language of New Zealand. To show you care about New Zealand history and Maori heritage, why not learn a few Maori words? You’ll be sure to hear a handful of them while you’re visiting, so prepare yourself.
Many places have Maori names, so it’s a good idea to have a few words up your sleeve. For example, “Kia ora” is Hello, and “Kai” is food. The Maori language is an intrinsic part of Kiwi culture, so try to impress a few locals by dropping in a Maori word here and there.
Don’t forget your hiking boots
For those adventurous types, New Zealand is the perfect place to go for a hike, so remember to pack your hiking boots! Even if hiking isn’t usually your thing, try to do at least one trail. Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the country and learn about its native flora and fauna.
There are so many trails and backcountry huts to choose from depending on your level of experience. The Tongariro Crossing is by far a popular one if you’ve got a full day to spare. The 18.5-kilometre hike is arguably one of the best in the world, and although not easy, the beautiful scenery makes it worthwhile.
Accommodation in New Zealand
No matter where you’re visiting, it’s important to look for safe, reliable and affordable places to stay. If you’re lucky enough to know people living in New Zealand, ask to stay with them. This way you know it’s safe and you might even be able to save a bit of cash!
If you’re renting somewhere to stay, make sure you do your research beforehand to ensure reliability. New Zealand is a great destination for backpacking, so why not switch from your classic hotel or motel and stay at a hostel. You’re bound to reduce accommodation costs and meet a friendly fellow traveller or two.
Be prepared for all four seasons
The climate in New Zealand is usually mild, but it’s known to have four seasons in a day. Many destinations can be sunny in the morning and pouring with rain in the afternoon, so be prepared.
The weather sometimes depends on the area you’re visiting too. For example, it can be hot in Northland and cold in the South Island. The most important thing is to pack your sunscreen because New Zealand has relatively high UV levels. Even on a cloudy day, be sure to slip, slop slap and wrap!
Have a coffee
New Zealand has an incredible coffee culture, and you’ll find coffee no matter where you are. Experience the life of a true Kiwi and order a “flat white”, which is a shot of espresso, steamed milk and just a little bit of foam. That’s right, it originated right here in New Zealand!
As with travelling in general, it’s important to be safe and prepared. There’s so much to do in New Zealand, and there’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing time. Whether you want to go on an adventure or relax at an award-winning winery, keep these helpful tips in mind. Of course, enjoy your travels and have an amazing time.
See more of Maia’s work on her blog