The winter holidays are a good time to pull out the passport and take a trip to an exciting destination. But where is a question that many people struggle with. If you want to go someplace different and exciting, then New Zealand is your kind of land. Of all of the stamps that are in my passport (and I’m proud to say that there are quite a few), the one that I’m most proud of is New Zealand. If there is one country that you have to see and visit at least one time in your life, it’s the land of the Kiwis.
New Zealand is that wonderful island nation that everyone seems to forget, only to be remembered occasionally whenever The Lord of the Rings movies are brought up. And there is a reason why that country was chosen as the filming location for the films: New Zealand is a land of geographical diversities. It’s mind boggling to see how many different climates and terrains can be packed into a country that is smaller than the state of Utah! There are topical jungles, dramatic mountains, bustling cities, quaint villages, picturesque countryside, everything. And since New Zealand is so small, in a relatively short amount of time you can switch from one terrain, like a sweet tropical beach, to another, like rolling hills and pastures! You have to see it to believe it, and even then it’s so incredible it’s hard to believe your eyes.
If that doesn’t convince you that New Zealand is the place to spend your vacation, especially during the winter holidays (those cold winter holidays, I might add), then how about this: since New Zealand is south of the equator, late November through early March is its summer season. While it’s snowing at home, they’re wearing tank tops and shorts in New Zealand!
Once you get to New Zealand there are endless things to do and see. Enjoy the fun metropolis cities of Wellington and Auckland, with a similar vibe to London or New York. But don’t spend all of your time there; make sure that you get out of the cities and see the land. If you have an interest in peoples and cultures, then visit native Maori villages and historical centers. One of the best things about the Maori cultural center is that they put on native dances and the men perform their famous Haka, the ceremonial war dance that is performed before the Maoris go to battle. If you’ve never seen a Haka, you are missing something amazing!
Another opportunity to see the Haka being performed is at the All Blacks ruby matches. New Zealand boasts one of the world’s greatest ruby teams. If you like ruby, football, soccer, or sports in general, then do yourself a favor and watch the All Blacks play.
If you’re interested in agriculture and farming, then visit the sheep herding and shearing competitions in South Island (remember the movie Babe? That’s what this is) Even if you’re not completely interested in that sort of thing, as I’m not, you’ll still find it very interesting and entertaining, as I did.
And finally, if you’re going to New Zealand, and I hope that you do, you have to go to a place called Rotorua. What makes this town so great is the fact that it is a geothermal hot spot, with amazing natural hot spring baths. But besides the hot springs, there’s a little thing called Zorbing. If you don’t know what Zorbing is, then I’d have to describe it as the most fun activity you’ll ever experience in your life. Zorbing is entering a giant clear inflatable ball and rolling down a huge hill. Inside you’ll either be strapped in or the ball will be partially filled with water so that you are rolling and splashing around free inside (this is the method I most recommend). It’s like a slip-n-slide and carnival ride all “rolled” into one.
For such a small country New Zealand is full to the brim with diverse landscapes and diverse activities to do. Like I said before, if there’s one place to that you have to see and visit at least once in your life, make it New Zealand.