New Zealand: Three Favorite Things


When we come home after travelling, a lot of people ask us “How was your trip?” However, most people don’t want to hear any answer longer than “Great!” It’s disappointing to not be able to share details of a trip, but at the same time I don’t want to bore anyone. So in order to sum up our time in New Zealand, we bring you a handy list of the best things we saw/did/ate! They are in order, sort of.

Three Favourite Scenic Spots:

  1. Lake Pukaki- nothing more needs to be said
  2. Tongariro National Park- especially the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes, and Blue Lake, which can only be accessed on foot (or seen from the air by taking a scenic flight)
  3. Kaikoura- the view of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains rising above the blue sea

Three Favourite Attractions:

  1. Fox Glacier- this could also go under scenic spots, but just looking at it isn’t that interesting. Taking a guided hike and walking on it is much more interesting
  2. Marlborough wineries
  3. Auckland Museum- we thought it was better organized than Te Papa

Meat pies- yum, yum

Three Favourite Foods

  1. Hokey Pokey ice cream
  2. Meat pies
  3. NZ cheeses

Three Favourite Animals:

  1. Kiwis- no, we did not see one in the wild, as we had hoped; but we did hear them screeching in the middle of the night in Hokitika
  2. Seals- easy to spot, and they like to pose for photographers
  3. Glowworms- actually the larvae of a certain kind of fly. In Hokitika, you can see them for free, just 1km north of town. They look like constellations when they’re all lit up

I Actually Like Auckland…

So why is Auckland so interesting (at least to me)? It’s the biggest city in New Zealand, with a population of about 1.5 million people. More Pacific Islanders live in Auckland than live in the Pacific Islands. There is, of course, the Maori population (not as big as, perhaps, a few hundred years ago, but still there.) Add to this heaps of Asian students undertaking English or tertiary-level studies and you’ve got a very Asian-Pacific city. It’s also, to the rest of New Zealand, the most hated city in NZ. The way New York is the center of the universe to New Yorkers, Aucklanders (purportedly) are out of touch/ don’t care about the rest of the country. We didn’t spend enough time there to crack that nut, but I for one will stand solidly in the pro-Auckland camp. The climate’s nice, the population’s diverse, and there are heaps of events going on.

We spent today at the Auckland Musuem (who suggest a $10 donation per adult, but really force you into paying it) investigating NZ’s history. Naturally there was a very large section on Maori and Pacific Islander culture (mostly, if not exclusively pre-European contact.) The Maori section included a reconstructed marae or meetinghouse. It was stunning. Bob was enthralled and spent about 10 minutes studying the woodcarvings.

Inside of a marae, Auckland Museum