Is it worth to travel to New Zealand for only two weeks? Or isn’t four weeks the least amount of time you need to spend in the country in order to explore it for real? The latter is what many of us think. But unfortunately, most people can’t travel long term because they only have a limited amount of vacation days. My sister and guest author Julia has visited New Zealand for two weeks in March and she has very good news for us today: New Zealand is absolutely worth the trip – even if it’s just a short trip.
Written by Julia Tillmann
To be honest with you: I had an enormous advantage. When I started my 15-day holiday in New Zealand I was flying in from Australia. I did not have to go the full distance from my home country Germany. Since I am currently living in Sydney the flight to New Zealand took only three hours. Compared to at least 24 hours from Frankfurt or New York City that’s no big deal at all.
I can understand people who feel intimidated by the long flight. But it shouldn’t stop you from traveling. I would always take the stresses and strains and I will show you why you should do so as well. So I came up with 6 reasons that will make you want to pack your bags and book a short trip to New Zealand immediately.
1. New Zealand: A new land lurks around every corner
I have never seen a landscape that is comparable to that of New Zealand. You’ll feel like entering another country around every second turn. The landscape changes so fast that you will find yourself filled with wonder at a new scenery at least every 30 miles. Promised! „Insane“ probably was my most used word in that holiday, muttered at the landscape in utter amazement.
Where else can you find glaciers running into the sea from a 10.000 feet high summit? Where else can you trudge over active volcanoes in a lunar landscape and watch sheep pastorally grazing on bright green hills in the distance? Where else will you feel like you’ll meet a Hobbit in the next moment? Where else can you take a dip in a clear blue glacial lake and then continue your drive through an endless, steppe-like grass landscape that looks like it hasn’t seen any water in months?
2. Getting around and off the beaten path
No matter if you are traveling in your own rental car or campervan, by train or hitchhiking: It’s damn easy to explore New Zealand on your own and off the beaten path. You’ll have to decide what suits you best. But whichever form of transport you choose, you’ll get around fairly fast and easy.
Since the population density is extremely low in New Zealand, traffic jams are rare. We made 2500 miles in 14 days but we never felt like spending too much time in the car. Which is partly due to the breathtaking and diverse landscape – as I said, you can’t help but wonder.
Good to know: New Zealanders don’t have highways. Most streets are in fairly good condition but driving at a speed of 50 miles per hour is often equivalent to speeding.
3. Different strokes for different folks: What to do in NZ
In New Zealand, everybody gets his money worth. Whether you are an adventurer, a nature lover, an adrenaline junkie or just want to relax at a beach: You will find your perfect place in New Zealand.
By the way: It’s no problem at all if you want to experience a bit of everything. With 17.000 square miles, New Zealand is only about as big as Italy. Thus, you won’t need a lot of time to get from the beach to the mountains, from the metropolis into deep rainforest or from a bungee jumping bridge to the next skydive spot. You get it: New Zealand has a manageable size which enables you to see a lot in a few days.
4. It isn’t possible to be grumpy in a surrounding like this
I claim that people who live in a country as beautiful as New Zealand cannot be grumpy by nature. Whether you are in a city or out in the countryside: If you look lost you’ll never wait long for an openhearted Kiwi to come over and help you out. And he won’t go until he has done so.
I’m sure that there are also bold and unfriendly people – the kind you’ll meet in every touristy areas. But I was a lucky girl and I never crossed paths with them.
5. Slow down, baby!
Although New Zealand is relatively small and everything is close by, don’t expect anything to happen fast. Actually, this is the best place to slow down, relax, and take some speed out of your life.
Despite being the biggest city in the country with 1.5 million residents, even Auckland feels almost like a sleepy town. If you aren’t strolling through the Financial District, that is. This atmosphere largely depends on the city’s architecture: Small single houses with gardens dominate the overall picture.
When I say that everything happens a bit more slowly in New Zealand, this also includes traffic. There is a speed limit of 60 miles per hour on most country roads. In reality, you’ll need more than one and a half to two hours for 60 miles. Especially if you take photo stops!
6. Nature at its very best
New Zealand was isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years. It thus has a very unique flora and fauna that you won’t find anywhere else. New Zealand is nature at its very best!
In the sea and on the coast you’ll discover seals, penguins and dolphins. All kinds of whales are native to the coasts of New Zealand. You just need a little patience to come very close to some of the rarest sea dwellers.
Inland, sheep are ever-present. These shy animals look almost too kitschy on their bright green pastures, little white dots on an undulating landscape. Watching them graze almost makes you want to change your life with that of a New Zealand sheep.
The highlight is of course the Kiwi, the National Bird of New Zealand. Sadly, it is an endangered animal and can rarely be spotted in the wild – but keep your eyes open. You’ll never know what comes along your way! And you don’t want to run them over, right?
Adventure is waiting for you! Can you hear it calling?
Of course you won’t be able to see every part of New Zealand in two weeks. But that isn’t too bad. Because that way, you have a very good reason to return. There are so many adventures waiting for you at the other end of the world and so many beautiful places to be explored that you’ll want to come again and again.
Julia Tillmann has been living in Sydney for 1.5 years. She came to Australia with plans to work for a couple of months and then travel through the country full time. But then everything turned out differently. She fell in love with Sydney – just as she did with New Zealand. Nevertheless, Julia will return to her home country Germany in summer and work as teacher – at least for a couple of months… After that (stop reading now, Dad!) she’ll probably move to New Zealand forever.