What are the 3 things you can’t leave home without to travel in NZ?
- Definitely a camera! You don’t need to be good at photography to take nice pictures in New Zealand- the scenery is stunning and speaks for itself.
- Make sure you take a swimsuit to take advantage of all the natural hot springs – there are quite a few around Rotorua and Taupo. Not to mention all the stunning beaches at the Coromandel and Abel Tasman, and even the lakes if you are brave – they’re freezing!
- Lastly, you’ll want walking boots. There are so many amazing hikes (tramps as they’re called in New Zealand) with incredible scenery – my favourites were the Tongariro Crossing, the Abel Tasman Coastal track, Ben Lomond above Queenstown and the Mueller Hut track in Aoraki/ Mt. Cook National Park.
What is a handy tip for other travellers thinking about Straying NZ?
Don’t be afraid to go it alone! One thing that nearly stopped me from travelling at all was the fear of being without a friend from home, but now that I’ve travelled on my own, I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way. Travelling with Stray is a great way to meet other travellers from all around the world and I’ve made some lifelong friends who I can’t wait to see again in the future (Jamy – see you at Carnivale!). Be open and friendly to everyone and join in with everything you can and you’ll get a lot out of your trip with Stray.
What is your favourite selfie (or group selfie)/photo that you took on the bus and why?
This is one of my favourite photos from my trip; celebrating the end of the Tongariro Crossing with a well-earned beer! An 8 hour walk (interspersed with some glissading in the snow down into the crater) in the sun on an active volcano was an amazing way to spend a day. A pub quiz and ribs and chips back in the pub at National Park was the perfect way to end the day.
What was the most bizarre thing that happened to you while traveling through NZ?
One unfortunate thing about New Zealand is that you have to take your passport out with you if you are going to be drinking. On a cycle tour of the wineries in the Marlborough wine region, I managed to drop my bag containing my passport and my purse with all my money…luckily for me, it was returned to me the next day by a lovely lady! That should tell you something about how nice the Kiwi people are. Moral of the story – be really careful with your passport on nights out and don’t keep all your money in one place!
What are your personal hot spots in NZ?
The mountains! All of them (and there are lots!). Tongariro National Park has beautiful volcanoes and on clear days you can even see as far as Mount Taranaki. Then all down the spine of the South Island are the Southern Alps, which have glaciers and giant peaks like Aoraki ‘The Cloud Piercer’. It’s paradise for the mountain-obsessed.