New Zealand trip summary

I’m finally back in Sydney after the most amazing month of my life. New Zealand is undoubtedly the most beautiful place ever… so beautiful that after a month of constant scenic stimulation, I actually got sick of taking pictures of it. So beautiful that after my tour, I spent 2 days on an island off of Auckland and it did nothing for me, aesthetically speaking.

In brief, things I did in NZ are as follows: kayaked the Bay of Islands, saw a Maori cultural show, swam in hidden hot pools in a forest, walked on white brown golden and black sand beaches, saw colorful thermal mudpools, went zorbing, got an abrasion on my eye, climbed a volcano and walked across craters, traveled between the 2 islands on a luxurious ferry without getting sick, woke up before sunrise and got sick on a dolphin swim, hiked around Mt. Cook to a glacial lake, swam in glacial lakes, toured the Cadbury chocolate factory, saw the world’s steepest street, cruised through Fiordland/Milford Sound, saw fur seals 4 times, read the Da Vinci Code, was a white water boogie boarding [sledging] champ, spent $12 on a salad the size of my fist, got eaten alive by sandflies and itched for days, hiked through rainforest beach and glacier on my 21st birthday, had my first drinks on my 21st birthday and felt drowsy, witnessed the ‘party bus’ on my birthday, stepped on a tent peg and bruised my foot, hiked and sailed at Abel Tasman NP, went caving and saw glowworms while black water rafting.

I met so many interesting people on the tour, a few of which I’ll keep in contact with, and most of whom I’ll never see again. We began the tour with about 20 people on the North Island, then lost some and gained more to become a group of 30, then finished the South Island with 10-15. They were all really nice though – so many people kept asking me how I felt after getting sick on that blasted boat, and after hurting my eye. And they were all so wonderful on my birthday, buying me drinks that I mostly refused, getting me cake and a card, and just making it a memorable day. Most of them were in their 30’s and liked to chat and drink a lot, and they were pretty chill. There were lots of Brits and Germans as well. I kept up my title as ‘the freak’ by being that girl who eats cereal without milk at any time of day, got sick on a dolphin watch, scratched her eye, never drank til her 21st bday, and goes to sleep at 10:00 every night.

I noticed a constant theme throughout this whole trip was that everything I do is ‘to the beat of my own drum’ – I do what I want, when I want, regardless of what others think or want. This could be construed as being selfish or antisocial, but as far as this trip goes, it was me being ridiculously independent and really focusing on the incredible scenery. Who wants to spend a hiking trip deep in conversation with someone when you’re surrounded by rainforest and golden sand beaches or volcanic craters? I’d much rather be quiet and soak it all in and not be distracted from it by talking.

A month straight of camping, traveling, and being around the same people constantly gets quite taxing. After 2-2.5 weeks I felt burnt out and my rate of picture taking and socializing decreased exponentially. Every single day it was beautiful scenery to take in, and I felt like it was sensory overload! Traveling is so amazing, and I absolutely loved NZ, but it would have been even better had I been traveling with friends or family. I kept wishing that certain people were there with me at certain places! Camping wasn’t that bad, it just got tedious taking down and putting up a tent every day. My tent was roomy and kept me dry, though my sleeping bag did not keep me warm at night! Food was awesome, we usually had veggie-based meals [curry, salads, bbq] for dinner each night, cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and there was a fruit box on the bus.

A few numbers to remember:
27 days on the flying kiwi trip
47 people met on the trip [29% UK, 19% US, 19% Germany]
3 nights at hostels, the rest in tents
4 days of rain total [3 of which lasted just a few hours]
8 days where there was no physical ailment bothering me [blurry contacts, scratched eye, sun blisters, motionsick, bruised foot from stepping on a tent peg, sandfly bite itch]
3 days where my alarm didn’t go off and i woke up 15-20 minutes before departure
89 sandfly bites [i didn’t actually count but this isn’t an exaggeration!]
$3100 total spent
675 pictures taken and kept [an equal # were probably deleted]
5800km covered by bus

Songs that remind me of my time in New Zealand:
James Blunt – You’re Beautiful
Robbie Williams – Advertising Space; Angels
The Killers – Mr. Brightside
Jack Johnson – When we’re together
Prodigy – Smack my bitch up
Aerosmith – I don’t wanna miss a thing
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

Favorite parts of the trip:
– Short hike around Mt. Cook to see glacial ice and the summit, the sky was a perfect deep blue
– Taking the cable car up to the botanic garden in Wellington
– My 21st bday shenanigans [glacier and party bus!]
– The beautiful water and weather of the bay of islands
– Hiking the Tongariro Crossing, being at the top near the volcano, craters, and emerald lakes
– Hiking and sailing at Abel Tasman
– The fact that near the bottom of the South Island, it wouldn’t get dark til 10pm

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