Click the dots on the map above to view pictures I have taken in these locations.
I made a trip to New Zealand for 10 days during my fall break of my semester abroad in Australia. Flights were cheap and I had heard great things about the country, so I thought “Why not?” I knew that public transportation was not the most efficient on the south island of New Zealand. Because of that, I booked a bus tour. During the tour, this seemed like a horrible option, as I felt like I was just one of many that the company was herding around. We were taken to places in the middle of nowhere with no choice of where to stay except their one option. To me, it felt suffocating and not traveling at all. However, several years later, I realize that the tour wasn’t all that bad since I still keep in contact with many people I met on the trip. I am thankful for that, but I know that I won’t be traveling on a bus tour like that again.
Other than the tour operator, New Zealand was simply incredible. The natural beauty across the whole country is phenomenal, with towering snow-capped mountains, deep blue lakes at the feet of green hills, and fjords that only Norway can compete with. Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, with many opportunities for bungee jumping, skydiving, and even riding a luge while overlooking the city, lakes, and surrounding mountains. I had never even dreamed of hiking on a glacier, but I was given the chance at Franz Josef glacier with an exhausting full-day hike. A short hike in Lake Wanaka gave some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen, showing the expanse of the lake and surrounding mountains.
All of this was on the south island alone. From what I’ve heard, the north island has different landscapes but is just as fascinating. For being such a small country, New Zealand has so much to offer the traveler who enjoys outdoor activities. The country is full of pure beauty and is worth much more time than the 10 days I was able to spend there.