10 reasons I'm excited to revisit New Zealand

I know a lot of travelers like to check off countries and destinations like a to-do list. I've met expats who have goals of visiting 100 countries -- or even every country. [and that's totally fine, if that's what your'e into.] but I'm the kind of person who believes an amazing destination is worth revisiting.

with that in mind, I'm SUPER excited to tell you that this year I get to revisit what is probably my favorite destination to date: New Zealand! Husband and I will be going back for two weeks over his holiday break this December. to be honest, we have been plotting this trip for a long time. we knew we wanted to go back to NZ from the moment we arrived there.

rather than try to take in two islands [like last time] we are going to focus our travels in the areas between Queenstown and Tekapo. this will allow us to return to some of our favorite places on the south island, but still explore new locations we didn't have time for on the last trip. our itinerary isn't quite rock-solid yet, but in my enthusiasm I've assembled a list of 10 reasons why I'm so so so excited to go back to New Zealand...

1// the campervan experience

on our last trip to New Zealand, we initially had planned to caravan around the south island in campers. that plan got scrapped in favor of renting a car and some tents [and filling in the gaps with apartment and hotel stays.] thanks to gale force winds and torrential rain, our camping experience was memorable... but less than ideal. this time around we won't have to worry about snapped poles or lack of sleep because it sounds like there's a firehose pointed at our tent.

I'm looking forward to just driving into a campground and being set. no grappling with tarps or trying to squish sleeping bags back into their cases. no tying ropes to trees and using logs and rocks to "stake" down the tent. and no lugging baggage in and out of apartments or up and down stairs. plus, driving around in a camper van just feels like one of those things you have to do while in New Zealand.

2// hiking deeper

we aren't going to do any of the major overnight tramps or mountaineering, but my list of hikes keeps growing and growing. this time we are making fewer stops and will have more time to spend in each location. so that means we have the chance to go out and see more of each place. we hope to cross off a few hikes we missed last time, go over at least one we've already done and enjoyed, and of course explore new mountains for fantastic views.

3// the wine. duh.

I won't claim to be an expert on wine [or really even that picky] but any time I am faced with a choice, I go right for the New Zealand sauvignon blanc. specifically, from the Marlborough region. in 2015 we visited a place called The Winery in Queenstown which has over 80 NZ wines available at the push of a button. [no really, you literally swipe a card and push a button to dispense the amount of wine you'd like to try.] I wouldn't be opposed to visiting an actual vineyard. but, let's be real. I'll be happy just to sip vino from a coffee mug at our campsite picnic table.

4// exploring Mount Cook

the biggest disappointment of our last NZ trip was missing out on Mount Cook. we got to see it -- from the car and from our "perfect" campsite -- but only from a distance. we never even made it into Aoraki National Park. after a sleepless night and frantically breaking camp at 5am to avoid getting caught in a sleet storm, we were forced to change plans and leave for Queenstown early.

I think I made Husband pinky promise that if we ever went back to New Zealand, we would go back and actually see Mount Cook. so we are. hopefully the weather will cooperate this time around and we can hike the Hooker Valley Track, and maybe even make it out to see the glaciers.

5// vacation for two

this trip will be the first vacation that Husband and I have taken together, alone, since our Christmas 2015 trip to Singapore. two years! I suppose we can count the 3 days we spent in San Antonio this summer... but other than that, all our travels have been with friends and family. not to say I don't love them or we didn't enjoy our time together -- but I'm looking forward to having some time away that's just the two of us.

6// the greenest greens and bluest blues

the natural colors in New Zealand are the most vibrant I've ever seen. on our last visit, it became a running joke that anytime I would step outside I couldn't help myself but comment on how blue the sky was. or how blue the water was. I kept taking my polarized sunglasses off and on to be sure my eyes weren't being fooled. all the shades of nature in New Zealand are hyper saturated -- the green of the leaves and the yellow of the grasses and even the black volcanic rocks.

7// sweatshirts, not sweaty shirts

it's been over 90F [feeling like over 100F] every day since I returned to Taiwan. summers here can be brutally hot and humid. summer in New Zealand, however, is pleasantly sunny and in the low 70s. on our last visit it was even colder -- one day it snowed! I know Taiwan will be cooler by the time we leave [and likely grey and rainy] but I'm still looking forward to sweatshirt weather. and even fleece-and-hat weather.

8// a return to Lake T

when we pulled into our campground at Lake Tekapo in the pouring rain, I don't think any of us realized how hard we would fall in love with this place. our rental car had been broken into that morning [and then we dealt with wildfire detours on the drive from Christchurch] so the time we planned to spend here was cut too short. but "Lake T" was the New Zealand we had dreamed of and more.

we managed to squeeze in a hike up to the summit of Mount John in the half day we had to spend in the area. and oh the views! those few hours ended up being some of our favorites spent in New Zealand. so obviously, we plan to return. and this time we will spend more than one measly night on the shores of Tekapo.

9// mountain views

I love mountains. if you've read this blog for any amount of time -- you know that I love mountains. the best way I can explain it is: they just call to my heart. and what is New Zealand full of? mountains. [ok, and sheep.] I can't wait to wake up and stare at mountains with my morning coffee. to watch the sunset light their peaks orange and red. to climb them and feel like I'm on top of the world...

we can start taking bets now how many times Husband will call me Fräulein Maria.

10// did I mention the wine?

I did. but it's worth mentioning twice.

really, I could list dozens more reasons I'm excited to head back to New Zealand. friendly people, tasty food, incredible plant life, lack of language barrier... you get the idea.

would you ever return to a place you had already visited? even one as remote as New Zealand? for me, it wasn't even a question of whether it was worth the trip again. I can't wait to revisit Queenstown and Lake Tekapo, finally make it to Mount Cook, and see what Wanaka, Makarora, Glenorchy and Mount Aspiring have to offer. [if you've ever been, please let me know your recommendations for hikes, holiday parks, and eats!]

I know there are plenty other amazing places on this planet to explore. but New Zealand stole my heart in a way that I'll probably always want to go back.

linking up with Follow Your Sunshine, SilverSpoon London, Adventures of a London Kiwi and Erin Out and About for the monthly travel link up, 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...