The longer the international borders have remained closed, the more the ‘explore your backyard’ campaigns have amped up. Great! Australia is fab and there is a ton to do. But have you ever peeked over the neighbour’s white picket fence and spotted a set up that’s different – and maybe nicer – than your own?
Oh hey, New Zealand, we see you!
We’ve had plenty of time to explore our backyard, now we’re ready to invite ourselves over to the neighbours.
And here’s why.
8. “Darling, the Landscaping is Delightful!”
Did New Zealand get the world’s best gardener to landscape the entire country? Have you seen the place? Magazine-worthy designer views at every turn, foliage that perfectly frames the stunning lakes, rivers, and mountains.
At home, you can admire your neighbour’s flowerbeds; in New Zealand, you get to admire lush native forests, vast valleys, and rugged mountain peaks. Our pick to experience it best is by biking the country’s hundreds of smooth, winding trails. Journey to the mountain bike meccas of Rotorua, Nelson, and Queenstown. If you’re more into a balanced experience (think cycling + food + wine + culture), hit the Ngā Haerenga (New Zealand Cycle Trail) instead.
7. “Nosey Neighbours Don’t Beat Around the Bush”
You only need to watch an episode of Desperate Housewives to know that every fancy home needs some bushes to keep the riff-raff from spying. Well, in New Zealand, it’s bush of epic proportions, with a third of the land protected conservation areas.
Hiding in the bushes to spy on your neighbour sucks. Exploring our neighbour’s bush does not! Consider New Zealand’s relaxing short walks, epic day hikes, or book one of the country’s iconic multi-day Great Walks adventures.
6. “Honey, They’ve Got a Pool!”
Maybe your neighbour has one of those pokey pools with a sad blue noodle floating in it. Not in NZ! With thousands of kilometres of coastline, turquoise-hued lakes, raging rivers, and limb-soothing natural hot pools, almost everywhere has a ‘pool’!
Chill out in a glacier lake, explore Lake Taupō by paddleboard or kayak the Abel Tasman’s blissed bays. For a more traditional water-based experience, paddle a traditional waka hourua (double-hulled canoe) in Gisborne. And don’t miss an overnight stay on the mystical Doubtful Sound in Fiordland; dolphins, seals, and penguins become your new neighbours for the night.
5. “The Zen Garden Feature!”
Every designer home has something to soothe the soul: a life-size Buddha statue, water feature, or hanging egg chair overlooking a tropical flower bed. All perfect for those moments of Zen. But New Zealand is Zen!
If it’s not the peaceful moments spent in awe of the landscape on New Zealand’s West Coast, Canterbury, or Northland, it’s the opportunity for forest bathing or relaxing at a health spa. Consider your mindfulness and meditation practices super-charged when experienced against Aotearoa’s natural beauty.
4. “Beware of the Dog”
A visit to the Australian ‘backyard’ can be risky. What’s going to try and bite (or maim) you? Over at the neighbour’s place, it’s a calmer, safer proposition. New Zealand is like one of those homes with a ‘beware of the dog’ sign on the front gate and a timid chihuahua shaking behind it.
With no snakes (like legit none), no lethally poisonous spiders, and zero things that want to bite you (besides a mossie or two), your only real danger is tripping over a 50m high kauri root on an epic hike.
3. “Compact but Bijou”
You don’t need countless acres to have a great garden, Australia. Whereas in Aussie, you can drive three hours and still be in Brisbane traffic, in New Zealand, you’ll actually have gotten somewhere.
Like from the ski to the surf on the same day! Or from brunch in trendy Ponsonby in the AM to an afternoon dolphin cruise in the Bay of Plenty.
New Zealand may be compact compared to Australia (its landmass is nearly 30 times smaller), but it’s equally diverse, making it an effortless destination to explore. We believe that there are few places in the world where you can experience mountain vistas to make you weep, along with ancient forests, volcanoes, beaches, lakes, and more in the space of one day.
2. “Staying the Night”
Is it really overstaying your welcome at your neighbour’s shindig if you fall asleep under the coats in the spare room?
In New Zealand, sneak in some extra nights at the remote, luxury glass Purepods cabins dotted around the South Island. Alternatively, count the sheep by day and the staggering Milky Way stars by night from a SkyScape pod. You’ll find them nestled in the Southern Alps, in the dark sky reserve.
1. “But What About the White Picket Fence?”
Okay, so Jacinda hasn’t quite got the date-sorted yet (though almost!), but the party invites are out with a ‘save the date’ for April 6th.
Once that’s locked and loaded, you’ll soon be welcomed on over.
Of course, a regular flight will get you to New Zealand, but consider staying in the air a little longer to really take a peek at the neighbour’s backyard. Flightseeing offers the ultimate nosey over the country’s diverse and extraordinary geography. If it’s good enough for all these Hollywood movies, it’s good enough for you!
Swoop over the famed Mount Doom (from LOTR) and the heritage-listed Tongariro National Park. Appreciate the immensity of the volcanic crater that formed Lake Taupō’s. And down South, take a chopper over Mount Cook and Franz Josef, or, from Queenstown, fly to Milford Sound or on a gourmet wine tasting picnic.
So, yes, we’re oh so ready to jump the neighbour’s fence and take some time out in their fun-filled backyard. You coming?
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