Wanderlusting: New Zealand
Our Director of eCommerce, Dana Raichman takes us on an outdoor adventure through New Zealand.
Where in the world were you?!
What time of year did you travel there?
December until March.
Where did you stay?
Since it was a backpacking trip and my husband and I traveled for 3 months, with South Korea and Fiji as additional destinations, we stayed at quite a variety of places. For our road tripping nights, we stayed at hostels and holiday parks, huts on our hiking nights, a tent and we even slept in our car some of the nights. It can be quite romantic with a bottle of wine and the right amount of stars. A lot of the smaller hostels are owned by families so it can be a very cozy and intimate experience – you meet interesting people from around the world and the owners are usually very special people. Two of our favorite places were Tamara’s lodge in Whanganui where our room had a small balcony right over the Whanganui River which was so calming and special. And the other place was Tramper’s rest which was exactly what we needed after 3 days of hiking – it had a comfortable king size bed, warm showers and a very nice host that gave us Louisa leaves from his garden for the road, which we used to make tea until the end of our trip.
Favorite food that you ate there?
Favorite food was definitely Hockey Pockey ice cream and ice cream in general!
Favorite activity that you tried or adventure that you went on?
White Water Rafting. I’m not an extreme type but our friends told us that we have to do rafting in NZ and recommended a specific company to us, which we booked. On the day of the activity, during the safety guidance, we discovered that we’re going to ‘raft’ (fall) through a 7-meter (about 23 feet) waterfall, among others. So, it was a little intense, and of course our raft capsized right after the water fall (although the guide said it almost never happens), but it was an amazing experience and I would definitely do it again!
Most memorable site that you saw?
That’s a tough one to choose! One of them is definitely Abel Tasman track, which is in the Northwest part of the south island, where you can take a hike along the coast and beach. There’s one part of it where you cross a beach that is only exposed at low tide, of course we started late and had to run to cross it in time. At one point, a giant (and unfriendly!) seal jumped out of the water right in front of us and I froze for a bit after seeing it growl at a curious hiker.
One moment I'll never forget was when...
After a very intense climb through a rather advanced trail that kept winding up a beautiful and scary mountain, with only Merino sheep around (you won’t believe the climbers they are), my husband and I arrived at a small hut and had it all for our selves where we had a romantic dinner over candlelight.
Coolest thing you learned about the country and its culture while you were there?
Kiwi (New Zealand) accent – just replace any vowel with ‘ee’, but once you figure that out, you’ll meet the nicest folks in the world (definitely nicer than New Yorkers!).
Any tips or tricks that you'd recommend other travelers keep in mind when traveling there?
Don’t bother looking for the Kiwi bird. Kea (beautiful green and very smart parrot) is the coolest creature you’ll meet!