Living the Dream... New Zealand, Here I Come!
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-11991,single-format-standard,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_grid_1300,hide_top_bar_on_mobile_header,qode-content-sidebar-responsive,transparent_content,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-10.0,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.4.5,vc_responsive

Living the Dream… New Zealand, Here I Come!

Lake Rotoaira, Photo by Comeonandorra

Living the Dream… New Zealand, Here I Come!

The countdown to living the dream of a wild journey across New Zealand is getting so fast. Soon… I’ll be on the opposite side of the world.

Tongaporutu Sunset, Photo by Chris Gin

I spent the last days browsing through the 100% Pure New Zealand website – a real information goldmine – and reading  articles from fellow travel bloggers for more inspiration.

The result is a rough itinerary which I’m likely to change underway as it almost always happens. I’m not much of a travel planner and like being driven by my instincts and a good amount of improvisation. I like to follow my inspiration as it comes.

Lake Rotoaira, Photo by Comeonandorra

So far, here’s how my ‘Living the dream’ journey looks like.

Week 1: Housesitting in Paraparaumu

After the very long trip (which, I confess, is worrying me a little) and while I’ll try to figure out where I am, which day and time it is, I’ll take care of a lovely cat named Jazz in Paraparaumu, not far from Wellington. As soon as I’ll have recovered from the trip I’ll start a bit of exploration of Wellington and the surrounding area, for a first taste of New Zealand.

Week 2: Taranaki and Lake Taupo

Old Dock on Lake Wakatipu, Photo by Trey Ratcliff


I’ve heard so much about Taranaki from my friend Mark of Marks Travel Notes that I can’t wait to discover an area that occupies such an important place in his heart.

I hope that we’ll have the chance to catch up – Mark will be there after having spent some time chasing for the solar eclipse in Australia – and maybe even enjoy a couple of days together. After all, Albeit living in Europe Mark is like a local…

Week 3: Rotorua and Coromandel

New Zealand… Shaping the dream… 

Although I’m afraid Rotorua is quite touristy, I’ve never seen a geothermal site and I’m very curious to make this new experience. After that, up to the Coromandel Peninsula but… No idea where.

Week 4: Auckland and up to Northland

Discovering Northland was a wonderful tip I received from Kate Clarke of Canuckiwikate, who was so kind as to inviting me to spend a few days at her place on 90 Mile Beach. Which is like saying that I’ve been invited to Paradise…

Week 5: More of Northland, down to Wellington and off to South Island

That’s where and when things get more confused. First because this is the week of New Year’s Eve and I have no idea of how packed the area will be and I still wasn’t able to find out a really nice place where to celebrate the arrival of 2013.

The other question mark is related to transportation. I’m likely to travel from Auckland to Wellington by train but… How will I go around in Northland? I’m a bit reluctant to the idea of hiring a car but I’m afraid at some point I’ll have no choice.

Lupin Delight, Photo by Chris Gin

Week 6: Nelson, Marlborough, Abel Tasman Park

I will kick-off 2013 in New Zealand’s South Island, which is more than I would ever have hoped for. I couldn’t tell why, but I decided to start with the North Island and then hop to South because in my imagination South Island is even more beautiful. I’ll find out soon enough if I was right…

Ligar Bay, Photo by Chris Gin

I guess it will also be time for some serious wine tasting (and hopefully a stay at some wine property), together with some good local food specialty.

Week 7: Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Franz-Joseph Glacier

I’m not sure if I want to spend much time in Christchurch (if you’re a regular reader you’ll know by now that I’m much more into nature than into cities) and I’d like to immerse myself in the mountains and the glaciers that I love so much.

Week 8: Queenstown and Fiordland

I’ve never visited Norway (a real pity, but it’s such an expensive country that I could never make up my mind and just go, regardless of the cost) thus I’m really attracted by Fiordland. From what I could see from the photos, Fiordland seems to offer enchanting landscapes.

Week 9: Southland and the Catlins

Once again, I was intrigued by the Catlins from a lovely tip I was given by… Ouch… I don’t remember. Sounds like a remote area, which is exactly what I like.

Coastal Dreams, Photo by Chris Gin

Week 10: Back to Wellington

It looks like at this point I’ll be over with my ‘Living the dream’ experience and I’ll have to head back to Wellington, getting ready for the long flight back to Europe. As I write, I almost get to laugh when I think that I haven’t set foot in New Zealand yet and I already imagine myself full of nostalgia for having to leave. Yes, I am definitely a dreamer…

# # # # #

Thinking of it once again it’s really a rough itinerary, but that’s how I like to travel anyway (it was the same last year in South Africa, where I changed hypothetical plans more often than not). Still, I’d love to get suggestions from people who traveled in New Zealand before. What am I missing? Where should I stay longer? And… Is there any place you suggest to drop?

Thank you to all friends that will help me shaping my New Zealand journey better! And remember that you can follow ‘Living the Dream’ on Twitter under the #WildAboutNZ hashtag!

More reading: Adventure, Is it All only About Adrenaline?


If you liked this story, you may want to subscribe to Wild About Travel Newsletter  for more travel inspiration

Join 2000+ Subscribers and Get Regular Updates Directly to Your Inbox
Never miss a post and spark your wanderlust! 

And if you want to see more photos, join me also on Instagram. Thank you!

Travel addict and passionate about photography, Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel back in 2009. Leveraging her strong PR background, she developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Social Media Marketing. Besides travel writing SImon holds workshops and trainings, she collaborated with tourism boards for digital marketing campaigns and participated as a speaker at several events.

More Travel Inspiration

  • BakoymaTravels
    Posted at 01:47h, 31 August Reply

    I also really love travelling with a rough itinerary. Getting to know locals and other travellers usually brings in so many good tips the itinerary changes anyway, so I keep it as a loose framework 😉

    I loved new Zealand, was there for 6 weeks in 2010 and I’m planning to go back. We started north and drove south too, didn’t regret it. Hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we did – think I’ll have a peek around your blog to find more about the trip now 😉

    • Simon Falvo
      Posted at 08:43h, 02 September Reply

      New Zealand is definitely a beautiful country, and there are some views that I’ll never forget. However, for as much as I loved the country, I’m not sure if I’d go back (although never say never…). The world is so big and there are still so many places I have to discover! 🙂

  • Nicole @ Green Global Travel
    Posted at 14:07h, 22 June Reply

    You are going to have a great time. Several years back we spent two weeks driving around the island and couldn’t recommend it more.

  • Beverley | Pack Your Passport
    Posted at 11:56h, 11 December Reply

    Hiring a car is honestly the best way to get around,especially if you’re going North. Elsewhere you should be fine though. I’m living in Auckland right now but was in Wellington for a few days the other week, it’s amazing. Hope you enjoy yourself 🙂

  • Sarah
    Posted at 00:21h, 08 December Reply

    I have just finished a month in New Zealand and visited most of the places you have mentioned, you will love it! For natural beauty you are definitely right in thinking that the South Island is the best. However, there is plenty to gawp at in the North Island too!

    Despite being touristy, I loved my time in Rotorua. I know you mentioned you didn’t want to hire a car but there are so many lovely spots in Rotorua hat aren’t touristy that can unfortunately only be reached by car! Kerosene Creek and Hanmer Springs come to mind, very beautiful spots! Christchurch was probably my least favourite place to stay, along with Auckland. I much prefer the wilderness too!

    As for somewhere to see in the Coromandel, check out Whitianga. I stayed there for a few days and there are some lovely beaches and walks around the area, as well as Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach! Although again, Hot Water Beach which a bit too crowded for me but definitely a cool experience.

    I hope you have an amazing time. I look forward to reading your blogs about it!

    • Simon
      Posted at 06:08h, 08 December Reply

      HUGE thanks for the wonderful tips, Sarah. I’ll definitely check Whitianga and after all, do not exclude hiring a car in Rotorua. And who knows? Maybe I’ll meet people on the road willing to share a car, as well as the cost and the driving 🙂

      • Sarah
        Posted at 09:17h, 08 December Reply

        Oops, just noticed that I wrote Hanmer Springs instead of Hamurana Springs, my apologies!

        You are most welcome for the tips! Always happy to help other people out. The beaches in Whitianga look incredible at sunset. I hope you like them as much as I did!

  • Heather on her travels
    Posted at 16:43h, 02 December Reply

    I’m looking forward to your tips Simon – my son might well end up studying in NZ next year and if so I think a trip out there could be on the cards

    • Simon
      Posted at 19:00h, 02 December Reply

      Studying in New Zealand… That’s interesting. And so you’ll have no excuses not to go 🙂

  • Zoë Dawes
    Posted at 17:17h, 26 November Reply

    What a magical trip this is Simon. House sitting is a great way to get acclimatised and recover from jetlag.

    Rotorua is memorable – for the sulphur smell as much as the geysers! Try a hangi Maori meal. Do visit Te Papa museum in Wellington – one of the best anywhere IMO. Abel Tasman is simply beautiful and Nelson has a thriving artist community … Oh so many fab experiences in store! Here’s my fav Top 10 on North Island.

    Sure you will love it all and especially look forward to your posts on further south on South Island … armchair travelling with you all the way1

    • Simon
      Posted at 08:43h, 27 November Reply

      Thanks for the great tips, Zoe. Especially the one regarding the Te Papa Museum in Wellington.

      I promise I’ll give you a lot of writing and photos for your Winter armchair traveling!

  • Wallace
    Posted at 15:19h, 23 November Reply

    What fun you’ll have! The fjords down south are fantastic, as well are the Bay of Islands up north

  • Christina
    Posted at 22:58h, 22 November Reply

    Well, shoot me any questions you have, I love talking about NZ as you know :D. I had the same feeling about Rotorua, but on my recent 3rd trip to the land of the long white cloud, I got to know the place a bit better and actually really enjoyed it there! Great rafting, you should try it with Kaitiaki. Great geothermal parks, like Wai-o-tapu, or a small one called Craters of the Moon (it really looks like the Moon meets Jurassic Park). Or just go to Whakarewarewa Maori village (it’s a real village, not a tourist village), there are geothermal pools all around there. If you like Lord of the Rings, defo go to Matamata (Hobbiton). The Catlins are an absolute must. Try surfing in Curio Bay! I could go on…

    • Simon
      Posted at 09:48h, 24 November Reply

      Amazing tips! Thanks you Christina. I’ll sure ask you more of them.

      Er… Surfing??? I’m just able to do that on the web. Not at my best with balance so I guess I won’t ride the waves 🙂

  • Leigh
    Posted at 16:54h, 20 November Reply

    This sounds like one heck of an itinerary. I spent 2 1/2 months traveling around NZ after university – hitch-hiking on the North Island & making friends with someone who had a car on the south island. I found the people to be exceptionally kind & generous. You will have an amazing time no doubt. No treks in your itinerary???

    • Simon
      Posted at 10:31h, 24 November Reply

      Looks like you had a blast in New Zealand, Leigh! For sure I’ll do some hiking. Didn’t mention it because I still don’t know where and when 🙂 More on it when I’ll be there!

  • Kerry
    Posted at 15:44h, 20 November Reply

    What beautiful pictures! Been 12yrs since I was there but want to go back v soon! You’ll love it…

  • Giovy
    Posted at 15:10h, 20 November Reply

    This is one of my biggest dreams.
    Maybe, one day

  • Nahed
    Posted at 10:42h, 19 November Reply

    I am sure you will enjoy your trip to New Zealand so much that you wont even want to leave :)I would suggest that you drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy,a small town but the views all through the trip is out of this world,have a safe and enjoyable trip,will wait to hear about it 🙂

  • Adam
    Posted at 23:23h, 18 November Reply

    Glad to see Lake Tekapo on your itinerary! It was far and away the most beautiful spot I found in NZ when I went back in 2006.

    Have SO MUCH FUN!

    • Simon
      Posted at 23:47h, 18 November Reply

      Oh, that’s really good to know, Adam. So i’ll definitely keep Lake Tekapo in my itinerary!

  • Patty McDonald
    Posted at 21:20h, 18 November Reply

    I traveled the South Island via bus and a little hitch hiking. I enjoyed the Fjords, the bus ride not so much, I flew back. Mt Hood was by far my favorite. Christ Church smelled of mutton.

    My sister and I rented a car on the North Island. A friend from my hometown was teaching at Palmerston North so we had a base camp at her home. Stayed at youth hostels most of the time. We were in NZ for 6 weeks and some day I hope to return.

    • Simon
      Posted at 23:46h, 18 November Reply

      Not sure I get all your points but… Thanks for the tips, Patty.

Post A Comment

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.