Wow! That’s probably the word that’s used the most by people who visit New Zealand. It’s an outdoor and nature paradise, and we are exploring every far corner of it!
It was 2014 when we went to New Zealand for the first time. With only 6 weeks to travel both islands we could only see the highlights. This time we have been traveling around here for over 10 months already.
With our self-converted campervan, we started a journey zigzagging from North to South, ticking off every known and unknown place. It’s insane how much beauty can be found in New Zealand and to have all these amazing places to yourself is a bonus.
Why Travel Through New Zealand?
Well, this is obvious! It’s an untouched piece of earth with the most stunning landscapes. If you love adventure, then you should not miss out on a road-trip through both islands.
From active volcanoes and geysers to snowy alps and beautiful beaches, New Zealand has it all. We have had the best time over here. The Kiwi’s love the outdoors and having adventures which is why it’s so easy to find campsites and beautiful hikes all over the place.
A Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand
We arrived in New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa which allows us to work and travel for 1 year. Having this visa gives us plenty of time to explore and experience what it’s like to live here. NZ is really well organised for working holiday visas and luckily we’ve never had a problem finding a job.
The North Island of New Zealand
The first 8 months of our year in New Zealand were spent in the north island. Although everyone says that the south island is more beautiful, which we agree on, there is also so much to see in the north island.
Since we flew into Auckland we decided to first discover the most northern part of NZ, the beautiful Northland and its amazing coastlines. From there we went to the Coromandel Peninsula which is one of the most popular holiday destinations for the locals, it is truly amazing!
It was here that we also worked for three months on a famous campsite which was an incredible experience. We continued our road trip by crossing the country from east to west (which isn’t far at all) to visit Raglan – NZ’s surf capital.
After leaving the funky surf town of Raglan, we headed inland towards the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Geysers, volcanoes and natural hot springs are a must visit here. You can also experience a traditional Maori show at places like Tamaki Maori Village and Mitai Maori Village.
One of our favourite areas of the north island was Mount Ruapehu where you can find the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Mount Doom, a ski field in winter, and the most amazing view all year round! It especially looks beautiful when it’s covered in snow.
From there we went south along the east coast, passing East Cape. This part is rarely visited by tourists which makes it even more amazing! Our next stop was Hawkes Bay, which seems to have the best weather all year round. Again there is amazing nature to discover here and many amazing wineries.
Next on our north island road-trip was Wellington where we stayed for more than three months. We found work in the capital city and had a bit of spare time to visit the surrounding area like the southernmost point of the north island. Wellington is famous for its windy weather and perfect coffee!
We regularly took trips to other parts of the north island, like Mount Taranaki on the west coast. This volcano is perfectly formed and looks similar to Mount Fuji in Japan. In the end we pretty much discovered every corner of the north island. We love to find hidden treasures when we travel and we found so many here!
The South Island of New Zealand
After Wellington we took the ferry to the south island. The ferry takes you through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds with amazing views along the way. We stayed a couple of weeks in the northern part to discover all the beautiful coastlines and lakes.
In addition to the stunning sounds you can also find Abel Tasman National Park here and the Golden Bay. These areas are so nice for hiking and kayaking, especially during summer. It’s also great that Nelson boasts the most sunshine hours per year on average in the whole of New Zealand!
We ended up in Christchurch where we stayed for a while to work and housesit. Just south of Christchurch you can find the Banks Peninsula. You simply cannot miss this place when visiting the area! The beautiful hills and curvy coastline is the best recipe for amazing views!
Currently, we are traveling around again to explore the rest of the South Island. Via the famous glaciers, we are now in one of the most beautiful areas of NZ at Queenstown and Wanaka.
Even more south we will visit the beautiful Milford Sound and afterwards, we will finish the trip by heading up via the east coast to Christchurch again. But not without a visit to Mount Cook to finalise our year in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
You Never get Bored of the Endless Views
After traveling here for so long we know one thing for sure: we will never get bored of the views! It doesn’t matter for how long you visit, it will never be enough to see it all.
Because of its remote location, New Zealand is not overwhelmed by tourists, and because there are less than 5 million people living here you can easily find beautiful places that you will have all to yourself!
In our opinion, it is THE number 1 outdoor and adventure country and maybe even the most beautiful country in the whole world. If you have not made it over here yet, we really hope you will some day to explore the beauty of New Zealand!