Our time in New Zealand has come to an end, after almost three months it is time for us to say Goodbye to New Zealand for this time. We did plan to cover both islands in three months but we completely underestimated how long it would take to see everything, especially at the speed that hitchhiking takes you from A to B. Saying that, we could easily have covered both islands in 3-5 weeks, staying in one place for a night (maybe two) then moving on, like many people do. To us this isn’t really the way to experiencing a country to its fullest. We are happy with the way we saw the North Island and we plan to come back and do the South Island another time. We arrived in Auckland on the 20th of November 2016 with one rucksack each and two pre-booked nights at a hostel in the city center. Other than some good hikes and places to pitch our tent, we didn’t have any specific plans where to go or what to do. Not having a routine or any solid plans was quite stressful or us in the beginning but as the time went on, we slowly started to accept our new lifestyle of taking each day as it comes. During these three months, we have seen and explored countless amazing places and met many special people. We have climbed mountains and fought our way through dense forest, eaten far more instant noodles than is considered remotely healthy, worked as gardeners, camped in public parks and in people’s gardens and said hi to seal pups before taking a swim in either the Pacific Ocean or the Tasman Sea. It isn’t always all fun and games, though, there have been many times when we have been very hungry and tired, stressed and sometimes sad, acting as though the world has come to an end. Thankfully, we have experienced feeling on top of the world far more often. Mosquitoes and sand-flies have occasionally done their best to ruin our evenings but that has been easily outweighed by the uncountable amazing campsites located next to the sea, where we have watched many beautiful sunsets.
We made a little list of things that we found are great with this country but also things that we thought could be better…
Nature – Yes, some of the towns are nice but the only real reason to visit New Zealand is for the great outdoors and stunning nature.
Public Toilets – You never have to worry about making a number one or two in your pants if you are walking through a small town or a city. There are free public toilets everywhere and they are very well maintained.
Friendly people/Hospitality – Kiwis are very easy to get along with and are known for showing good hospitality. If you don’t believe the guide books then ask us, we know.
Easy to hitchhike – If you want to travel around a country for free then this is the place. Put your thumb up and we can guarantee from our own experience that you will get a ride within 40 mins max.
Wi-Fi – We understand that New Zealand is a long way from everywhere else, but it is a developed country and should really have faster and less restricted internet. It must go on our negative list fir that.
Small Portions – Maybe we have been spoiled back home in Sweden and England but the portions at the restaurants here are much smaller and we miss the good size portions that fill us up properly.
Public Transport – If you are not ready to walk, bike or hitchhike then you need a car. There is a real lack of public transports here and it is a problem if you come as a tourist trying to travel around.
It is with mixed feelings that we now say goodbye to New Zealand. There are many things that we will miss but at the same time there is so much more to see!