New Zealand

10 “Sweet As” Experiences in New Zealand

“Sweet As” came the reaction when we told Kiwis we'd taken some time out to travel. It was an expression we'd come to hear on a regular basis during our time in New Zealand, from ordering a lamb and mint pie to tramping the great walks.

So, on that theme, here are our top 10 “sweet as” experiences in New Zealand - or in other words, what we loved about our time there.

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Shock and Admiration in Christchurch

A trekker along the Routeburn track had told us that New Zealand's second largest city would be a shock. But we didn't realize just how much.

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A Taste of the 60s

About a year ago, when we were preparing to set off on our grand adventure, a work colleague and fellow traveller (you know who you are!) pointed me in the direction of the above. It was love at first sight, and we HAD to include it in our New Zealand camping itinerary, albeit only one week (it was slightly pricier than the Jucy van!) And by the end of it, I know that R had fallen for her too!

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In Hillary's Footsteps

Well, that title's perhaps a mild exaggeration – but we were as near to tracing Edmund Hillary's footsteps as we probably ever will be (not unless we pull off that Nepal trip sometime…) ;-)

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Where Did All the Birds Go?

New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC) advertises nine “Great Walks” and we signed up for two of them. I say “signed up” as, come rain or shine, you have to book your campsite or mountain hut before you set off. And they don't come cheap.

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Why Fiordland Was "Oar"-Some

With an incredible 7m of rain falling in the South Island's Fiordland annually, on around 200 days each year, we weren't too surprised when we arrived to a very wet and misty Milford Sound. Still, given the statistics, we were just happy that we could see the iconic 1,692m Mitre Peak with its cliffs plunging down into the deep blue waters below.

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A Couple of Alpine Tramps

We know it as “hiking” or “trekking”. But in New Zealand, you go “tramping”.

After getting the trekking bug in Patagonia, we wanted to check out New Zealand's famed great outdoors. We'd already enjoyed an easy tramp in the Queen Charlotte Sounds, and now it was time for an alpine tramp in beautiful Fiordland.

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Winter Arrives Early

It was dusk when we arrived in Queenstown, and there was that Autumnal feeling in the air – the one that in Germany signals that the Christmas markets will soon be in town. It's just not the kind of weather we'd usually associate with April. While Christmas obviously wasn't around the corner, it seemed that Winter was. So much for scrapping those original travel plans to visit Central America and reach New Zealand before it got cold. Winter had decided to put in an early appearance:

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How Queen Charlotte Came to Marlborough

The first view of the Marlborough Sounds was a very welcome start to the South Island. We had hopped on the ferry in Wellington and 3 hours later were enjoying stunning views of the Sounds as we approached the small harbour town of Picton. We were charmed by the scone trolley service on the ferry, but not so charmed by a passenger who shockingly told us not to trust the Maoris – a fine thing considering the Maoris were here first. It showed us once again on our travels how the Europeans have barged into so many countries and assumed they have more privileges than the…

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Notes from the North Island

New Zealand certainly packs a punch. The country is bursting with incredible, varied scenery and a plethora of activities that leave you spoiled for choice. Everywhere you go there is a scenic lookout to pull into or a short track to explore, which makes for a much longer road trip than you originally planned.

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Adios Chile, Kia Ora New Zealand

On Friday March 13, (boy, do we pick our dates!), we left Punta Arenas in Chile and flew 1,000km West, via Santiago, to Auckland, New Zealand.

After nearly five months in South America, it was quite a change, and these were some of our first impressions:

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Six Months on the Road

As of April 3, 2015, we have been on the road exactly six months. From the US, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina, we are now in the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand.

Here are a few random statistics from our first 6 months of travel:

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