Tucked away in the bottom corner of the world map hanging on every explorer's bedroom wall, lies the small speck labeled New Zealand.
It’s those two little islands you’ve thought about a few times, seen a heap of beautiful pictures of and made a mental note to check out some day.
But it’s far away and difficult to get to, so for now at least, it’s staying on your ‘to visit’ list.
The problem with that, is that New Zealand is just too perfect to remain halfway down your list.
So here are 7 reasons why New Zealand should be making a serious play to be your next travel obsession:
It’s a bit of a tricky time in most of the western world at the moment.
Questionable politics, upheaval and massive uncertainty are all playing a huge role in making isolation and remoteness more desirable traits than ever before.
Luckily, that’s one thing New Zealand has in bucket loads.
Out there on it’s own in the South Pacific, New Zealand is a nation that does a pretty good job of keeping itself to itself.
That makes it the perfect place to escape.
A commodity not lost on the ever growing number of tech workers applying for citizenship in the island nation.
It’s the perfect place to do exactly what you should do when traveling, but rarely actually get the chance to do. Switch off your phone and computer, and temporarily disconnect from the world.
As we’ll see later on in this article, New Zealand has plenty to keep you occupied if you do.
When it comes to positivity, kiwis will rarely let you down.
You could be having the worst day of your life and all a local is likely to say to you is ‘She’ll be right, mate!’
You’ll rarely find them stressing about much. Life’s too short for that.
The Kiwis are a far more relaxed bunch of people. They’re all about the outdoors and the work life balance - two things that are crucial to a contented and happy life and are all too often missing in other parts of the globe.
Their smaller population also helps to retain a much more tight knit community that’s long gone elsewhere in the world.
Outside of the big cities, most of the towns are still the kind of size where everyone knows everyone, and you’ll find the locals you encounter on your way around the country to be warm, welcoming and friendly as a result.
So much so in fact, that hitchhiking is unusually popular here.
I’ve even heard multiple stories of people being offered a spare room for the night by the same person who has picked them up at the side of the road.
Easy Access To Fiji
Did you know that the far north of New Zealand gets pretty damn warm in the summer months?
The subtropical environment up there is perfect for getting your beach on.
New Zealand does have its fair share of summer hot spots, and beaches in the North Island are a winner on any sunny day.
But, no matter how great they are...they’re still not Fiji, right?
Luckily New Zealand is perfectly situated to be the ideal base for your Fiji adventure.
A cheap, couple of hours on a flight will get you to out to this South Pacific slice of paradise where you can spend some time island hopping around a unique tropical archipelago.
The chain of 300 islands is a popular holiday or short break destination for New Zealanders and there are plenty of airlines operating flights back and forth. If you shop around and are flexible about your flights, you can pick up return tickets for as little as $400-$500, making access to Fiji both easy and cheap.
Think of as many different terrain types as you can.
How many did you think of?
New Zealand has them all.
Mountains, lakes, forests, rugged coastline, volcanoes, swimming and surf beaches, subtropical reefs for scuba diving, geothermal hot springs, glaciers...this relatively small island is packing a seriously diverse scenic punch.
Even in a short couple of weeks visit, New Zealand is small enough and easy enough to travel around (more on that later) that you can get your fill of just about all the diversity on offer.
That makes this little country in the South Pacific a big hitter when it comes to the effort/reward ratio, where a multitude of scenic diversity awaits anyone willing to make the small effort to fly there.
So if you’re looking for the biggest ‘scenic bang for your buck’ travel destination, make sure New Zealand is the next plane ticket you buy.
Some Of The Best Hiking In The World
New Zealand was the place that first got me hooked on hiking.
With terrain and landscapes as beautiful as that on offer, it almost feels wrong not to be out there exploring it.
Multi day hiking (or ‘tramping’ as the locals call it) is huge here.
Remember that diversity thing we talked about earlier? Well, the best way to really see everything that this place has to offer, is by foot.
The government's Department Of Conservation even maintain a big network of huts and shelters across the backcountry (you can find a big list of them all right here) where hikers and other recreational users can stay when they are out amongst it for multiple days at a time.
All of this makes it extremely easy to don the backpack and get lost for a few days, and the people who live here take that stuff seriously.
There are literally thousands of tracks to explore and nearly 1,000 backcountry huts dotted around the North and South Islands to keep you warm and dry in the process.
If you’re looking for a good place to start, this summary of the best hikes on the South Island is a pretty good place to begin.
Because only in New Zealand can you hike to a glacier one day and a natural hot spring deep in the mountains the next. Literally.
Easy To Get Around
First of all, I’ll go ahead and state the obvious here.
Everyone speaks English.
It sounds like a no brainer, but when you’re traveling somewhere for a while where you don’t speak the language, you gain a new kind of appreciation for the places that do.
Another thing that makes New Zealand so easy to get around is the simplicity of its road network.
You won’t find many motorways here.
Nor will you find any complex junctions, unnecessarily crowded 5 lane city ring-roads or really any other traffic at all outside of the small handful of main cities.
That’s a relief for those of us who have long ago sworn off city driving.
In fact, for the most part, there’s one road between most of the little towns and it’s fairly difficult to get lost or make many wrong turns (even with my famously poor navigational skills).
On top of that, if you’re in a self contained vehicle, you can park up overnight on any DOC land and camp in your car for free.
Maybe that’s why epic road trips are one of the most popular ways to see the country.
Home To The Adventure Capital Of The World
If all that breathtaking scenery hasn’t got your heart racing, New Zealand’s south island is home to the adventure capital of the world - Queenstown!
Being the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping, Queenstown is a place with a long history of adrenaline spiking activities.
And with a landscape carved out by glaciers and rivers, the surrounding terrain offers the perfect adventure playground. Not to mention a pretty remarkable backdrop for the photos of your very own moment of fear.
If you want to do something a little ‘out there’ on your next trip and really test your limits, this is the place to get out of your comfort zone and really get amongst it.
Bungee jumping, skydiving, heli skiing and backcountry snowboarding in the winter, hang gliding, zip-lining, jetboating...the list goes on and on.
Thrill seekers and boundary pushing free spiriters call Queenstown home, and the town's nightlife is almost as action packed as it’s day-life.
It’s a relatively young town, with an already well established history as a global hub for adventure travel.
And no trip to New Zealand is complete without ticking at least one extreme thing off your bucket list.