Best Reasons To Visit New Zealand

By Jonny Blair

New Zealand is hidden away from the world, floating in the Pacific Ocean where its dramatic landscape has been formed by moving tectonic plates and the country regularly gets shaken by earthquakes. This has resulted in a landscape that is rugged and unique. The mountains are sharp and tower above lakeside resorts. The Southern Alps are famous for skiing and snowboarding holidays, offering cross country terrain and big tourist resorts like Queenstown. The South island has so much to offer its visitors from Milford Sound in the south east to Abel Tasman in the north, you will have beautiful sights to explore for days on end during your trip to New Zealand.

There are great people here. Looking at the 2,000 plus posts still to be converted from my written notebook to this website, I noticed that New Zealand occupies a bigger chunk of them than I expected so condensing is required. My two visits (2007, 2010) to this disconnected country were enchanting, exhilarating, non-stop and yet over in a flash. I've written a bit about my time there before especially in the early days, but here's an easy access top 20 while I'm still young enough to remember this sort of madness.

New Zealand was the first country in Oceania that I visited, some 2 years before I even landed in Australia. On my only two visits to the more recent Zealand they have been quite lonely, thought-provoking and inspiring journeys. Both times I backpacked alone, often without purpose. It might be one of the furthest countries away from your hometown (as it was for me) but this list will hopefully convince you that it's worth investing in some flights to New Zealand. It's a country just aching to be visited by everyone. Here's my personal top 20, though a top 100 could easily have been concocted.

Get on board the Interislander Ferry, South to North Island. The best way to travel within the two islands of New Zealand for me is on the Interislander ferry between Picton and Wellington. Having spent a brave length of time working on the ferries in England, France and the Channel Islands this was another dreamlike journey.

Franz Josef Glacier Hike, South Island - The Franz Josef Glacier Day Hike was brilliant and really strange. I was on the same hike as Alex and Natali from my hostel, who also did the Glow Worm trek with me. But the most strange thing ever came after the hike - four of the other people on the hike I met again BY CHANCE on my travels.

The experience of Climbing Mount Maunganui, North Island. When working in London in 2006-2007 I worked with Steve Jones from New Zealand. It was time for a reunion in 2010 when I met up with Steve on the north east coast of the north island.

Eating a Fergburger, South Island is another top sight. I'm probably surprising most of my regular readers with this list as there are so many mainstream popular memories on here. But remember - these times were back in 2007 and 2010 when I was a younger backpacker. In those days, I was trying to save cash left, right and centre and this meant following the cheap backpacker routes most of the time. Besides, there is no food on the list yet and the Fergburger is great so why not?!

Head out to the amazing Pohutu Geysir in Rotorua in the north island. It's an experience you will never forget. For a travelling Northern Irishman I loved it.

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