things we hated and loved about new zealand

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There are always plenty of things to love when travelling as well as things to like, things to be apathetic about and things to hate.

For example, living in Australia EVERY time we travel overseas, it usually involves a relatively long-flight. We HATE that…. The closest we can get to being in another country from Sydney is 3-hours away to New Zealand. But in the scheme of things it really is nothing.

New Zealand is teeming with so much goodness when it comes to travel, we don’t know why we haven’t been more often and sooner. Back in 2011, we did pay a flying visit to the North Island – what we saw was just a snippet. What we saw this time has definitely opened up our desire to go back.

The food so amazingly fresh, like this salmon dish we had right on a salmon farm. IMG_0791And to stay in a National Park and have this as our backyard (literally right outside our window). IMG_1074Is it too much to say, “we LOVE New Zealand”? But before we get to that, let’s talk about the things we hated…

What we hated

Actually, we didn’t hate much.

We hated only the sandflies. Everywhere we stopped, we felt like they would swarm towards us. They could smell our fresh “Aussie” meat.

Getting back into the car was a carefully planned operation in itself. Waving our arms around our bodies, while spinning around to ward them off before stealthy throwing opening the doors and sliding in… in the hope that we had lost them.

Nope… we failed miserably many times. Our ankles were mauled by these little pests. The bites would blister and itch like you can only imagine. We WERE going to show you pictures of our wounds but felt it was unfair to subject you to such images.

Score: Sand Flies 500 Le and David 0

What we loved

We could quite easily sum this up into ONE thing. New Zealand is beautiful… really beautiful!

We loved the scenery. It was ever changing. It was nature. It was pictereque. The fact, we could turn the corner and be graced with a gorgeous lake, mountain, valley.IMG_0228 IMG_0748 IMG_0901 IMG_0929 IMG_1050 IMG_0870

We probably don’t need to give any more reasons, but here a couple more.

We also loved the open roads. As you may have gathered, we love road trips… and we love trips where the destination is exciting but also where the journey itself with the pretty scenery flying by our windows. Open roads give such a sense of freedom! IMG_0274We loved that we could go bushwalking and not fear facing deadly snakes (or any other deadly animal for that matter) along the way. Instead, we were able to do plenty of bird-watching bird-spotting.

And most of all, we love that New Zealand is so close to us and that we can just hop on a flight and be there within 3 hours.

Have you been to New Zealand?

Tell us about your thoughts and experiences here.





59 thoughts on “things we hated and loved about new zealand

    sabretoothedchickenstour said:
    July 5, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    No not yet. But of course we plan to go. Truthfully we think of it as an easier destination for later in life. But yes, it is an amazing place as we can see by your account.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      August 10, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      New Zealand is so amazing… we would go back again now or later in life. So much to see … as with the rest of the world!

        sabretoothedchickenstour said:
        January 17, 2017 at 4:37 pm

        We always aim to go back to places. Usually we always end up going somewhere new but on this Winter Weg trip we have re-visited many places due to showing my mother/our children places they have never seen and it really has been a delight.

    marionsdelights said:
    October 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Hi! Great article, thanks for sharing 🙂 Did you guys travel in a campervan? We are planning a trip there in February and are after the good tips 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 29, 2015 at 8:02 am

      ooohh… Lucky you! Have an amazing time 🙂
      We drove around in a car and stayed at hotels/motels along the way. But we saw PLENTY of people in their camper vans…. we might give that a go next time! You must see Lake Tekapo and Hokitika Gorge, easily our two favourite things on this trip.

    Tara said:
    October 18, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Have to agree with you – there’s not much to hate about N.Z. but those sandflies were a bitch.

    After a recent ‘Highlight Tour of the North and South Islands in 12 days’, I have to say that the N.Z. culture and people were lovely – it reminded me a lot of what Australia USED to be like. You know, friendly with great customer service. Sadly, Australia have lost it.

    I can’t rave enough about the scenery. Everywhere you turned there was gobsmackingly-beautiful scenery and SO diverse! Your photos captured it so well.

    I’ll definitely have N.Z. on my short list when I finally look to settle down.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 20, 2015 at 8:58 am

      YES!! We found the people super lovely too in New Zealand. We were only talking this morning about where our next trip should be and South Island NZ popped up again already 😉

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Hope you have a great day 🙂

    rosscollinson said:
    October 16, 2015 at 3:53 am

    I loved New Zealand. I could honestly move there tomorrow but I will agree with you that the Sandflies were terrible! Although the flies at Uluru swarmed our Canadian meat even worse!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 17, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Hahahah – Canadian meat, Australian meat, ANY meat…. We remember our trip there. We were warned about it so we had fly nets for our hats – THE best investment for that trip. 😉
      We said the exact same thing about moving to NZ… if we had to choose to live somewhere else, we would opt for NZ. Definitely could easily be home away from home but at a more calm and relaxed pace!

    Turbotroll said:
    October 13, 2015 at 3:03 am

    I love NZ; I’ve been 3 times for long stays. Have yet to make it to the South Island, though…Someday…There’s just so much to see and do! And is it just me, or is the sky vibrant like nowhere else there?

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 15, 2015 at 8:19 am

      Well, you would certainly have seen more of the North Island than we have. We want to go back and see more now… Always the case after a teaser, right? 😉

        Turbotroll said:
        October 15, 2015 at 1:36 pm

        Indeed. A bit $$ though. Rotorua is definitely worth visiting, as I don’t see any pics of it there. And good ol’ Wellington! Making me miss NZ again…

    the eternal traveller said:
    October 11, 2015 at 12:08 am

    This story made me laugh because we are in Western Australia at the moment and in some places the flies are terrible. Yesterday while in Carnarvon, we read that Dirk Hartog complained about the flies in his journal in the 1600s while he was exploring this part of the coast. Nothing has changed and we have perfected the art of chasing them away while getting into the car at the same time!
    Glad to hear you enjoyed your travels in NZ. It is a gorgeous country.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 15, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Oooh wow!! Whereabouts are you now in WA??
      We were only just the other day saying that we think Broome might have to be next on our “target” list… if not, at least somewhere in the Northern part of the country!

        the eternal traveller said:
        October 15, 2015 at 10:53 am

        We are in Perth now. Broome is lovely.

          the eternal traveller said:
          October 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm

          You should check out my photos on Instagram!

            wisemonkeysabroad responded:
            October 15, 2015 at 9:33 pm

            Still have NO idea how we were not following on Instagram until today!! Anyway, your photos are AMAZING, can’t wait to see some of your posts that come out of that trip.

    badfish said:
    October 10, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I love your concept…things you loved and hated. I may have to poach the idea some day (if I can ever get around to things like this). I spent very little time in NZ, but your photos and text has made me want to return for a closer, longer look at things. What I love about living in Abu Dhabi is that MANY places are close enough to visit easily. Living in the US, it’s like OZ, you have to cross an ocean to go anywhere.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 15, 2015 at 8:22 am

      We are pleased to hear that we may have possibly inspired you to write a similar piece… At times we wished we lived somewhere closer to everything else … but it really is relative because the Earth is round… so unless we can be in the “core” … we will always be far from somewhere!

        badfish said:
        October 15, 2015 at 2:44 pm

        well, that is true

    janikaberridge said:
    October 9, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I have always wanted to go to New Zealand, and I hope to make it there someday!

    Lovely photos – the scenery is really what I’d like to take in.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 8:36 am

      When you make it to NZ, you will have plenty of scenery to choose from 🙂 Hope you get to experience it one day with your own eyes… it really is sensationally jaw-dropping.
      Thanks for your lovely words.

    LyndaS said:
    October 9, 2015 at 5:37 am

    Sadly, I have not been. Your photos are great and make me wish I was there. 🙂 Sorry to hear about the sandflies.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 7:44 am

      Thanks Lynda… the sandflies were pretty annoying but everything else definitely outweighed it for us 🙂 Hope you are well!

    Kamila Pala said:
    October 8, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    I never been there and that is reason why I really enjoyed your amazing virtual tour! 🙂 Bye. Kamila

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 7:45 am

      Hi Kamila 🙂 Glad to hear that you enjoyed the post… but you must try and get there someday, not sure our post does it true justice! Have a great weekend.

    CrazyChineseFamily said:
    October 8, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    New Zealand is on our list already from the beginning. I think my wife mainly wants to go to see Hobbiton but thats another matter 🙂
    The diverse nature there is just stunning!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

      Hey Timo, we never actually got to Hobbiton because it was the North Island but we did get to see a few spots where Lord of the Rings were filmed…. So picture perfect! You can visit when you come in Australia next year 😉

        CrazyChineseFamily said:
        October 9, 2015 at 7:52 am

        Indeed! Both my wife and I are huge lord of the rings fans (though I am the real nerd, even playing lord of the rings online, getting the white tree as a tattoo and stuff compared to my wife who is more a legolas fan…) so we are really looking forward to see some scenes some day

    Ayla said:
    October 8, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    We’ve only ever had a brief visit to New Zealand and only managed to see the North Island so would love to go back and see more. Looks stunning – I’m sure those views outweigh the annoying sand flies!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 7:50 am

      Views were enough to let the annoying sand flies slide 😉 You must come back soon… to NZ and to Australia!!

    kayrpea61 said:
    October 8, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    So love NZ. Only place I could live if I had to leave Oz. Love their dry sense of humour, even if it is sometimes at our expense 😉 The scenery is magical, the food and wines to die for. We were devastated by the damage to CHC in the two earthquakes, especially to their beautiful cathedral. Just need to work out the fault lines and stay clear of them;)

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 7:53 am

      Yes!!! We said the same thing… that we could LIVE in NZ 🙂 Hahah – dry sense of humour… YES! They were constantly teasing about us being Aussies and our rugby team (which at the time hadn’t beaten England yet)?

      We sadly never have seen Christchurch in its beauty before the earthquake but we can only imagine. NOW – it was so devastating to see what remains. Still plenty of rubble and still plenty of construction but parts, rather eerily still and quiet.

    Denise Ly said:
    October 8, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Wow, you took some fabulous photos there! I thought John’s was great but yours is right up there with the best of them.

    We went there in winter so didn’t have the sand fly issue at all – you should try it next time and book in some time to ski too.

    Did you get to see any penguins, sea lions or seals in their natural environment? Truly spectacular. We saw a leopard sea lion in action and it was awesome.

    Glad you enjoyed the trip and love your article!

    Keep traveling and writing! 🙂

    Best wishes, Denise

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 8:27 am

      Thanks Denise for your lovely message 🙂 We managed to find a little Canon camera that takes awesome pics. We love it… it does the most amazing things for us and isn’t a huge SLR to cart around. We used to travel with one of those but just gave up after a while due to the sheer added weight.

      We are not big fans of the cold so will unlikely go for skiing anytime soon, but maybe our opinion will change one day. We didn’t see any penguins but we did see dolphins playing in the ocean and we also saw a colony of sea lions/seals (from a distance so we couldn’t tell you which it was).

      Thanks again for the comment 🙂

    MELewis said:
    October 8, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Wow, and double wow. NZ was already on the bucket list, now it’s moved up to top spot! The problem for us is the long flight. I’ve always admired how much Aussies travel, given how far it is. But we will make there. One day. Great post!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 8:28 am

      Glad we were able to make NZ look so appealing to you 🙂 Hope you do get to NZ someday … seeing as it is very high on your list now 🙂

    Yvonne said:
    October 8, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Oh, those sandflies! I took a helicopter flight over some of those bubbling hot springs on the North Island, it ended all too quickly! Driving there is definitely a pleasure. The South Island is like another country, so you have plenty more to explore.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 8:30 am

      We love how different the Islands are to each other and we really do want to go back to see both some more. A helicopter flight would definitely have been worth doing over many of the places in NZ- lucky you to experience it over the bubbling hot springs 🙂

    Mabel Kwong said:
    October 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I have never been to New Zealand but it really does look very pretty. Like a pretty picture on the back of a postcard. I too like open roads – the roads go on and on and on and you dream, dream of going to a place to have lots of fun 😀 Sorry to hear about the sandflies. It sounds very unpleasant having them swarming all around you and sticking to you. But it doesn’t sound fair that David didn’t get any…

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Hahaah! Oh Mabel, David and Le were ZERO and the Sandflies were 500… in terms of scores! We were thrashed by them if this was a sport 😉
      You must get to NZ sometime – so close and so beautiful. Hope Melbourne weather is beginning to resemble summer now ….

        Mabel Kwong said:
        October 9, 2015 at 11:41 pm

        Oh, the poor two of you. Losing in an instant. But emerged eventually 😀 Yes, NZ is about a three hour and a bit flight. Not too far at all.

        It’s heating up in Melbourne. One cold day next week and warm all the other days. Hope Sydney is treating the two of you well.

    AndysWorldJourneys said:
    October 8, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    heading there in november for a short break, but north island only. cant wait!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Oooh … lovely! We enjoyed North Island… we actually want to go back again!

    Gypsy Bev said:
    October 8, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    New Zealand and Australia are on my dream list.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Gypsy Bev… you know what you got to do!! Look for some flights and get yourself down here 😉

        Gypsy Bev said:
        October 9, 2015 at 1:56 pm

        First I have to get my passport renewed. It just expired.

    Sha said:
    October 8, 2015 at 10:59 am

    NZ sounds wonderful! I love all the nature there but only wish it is more accessible for those non-drivers like me..haha…I hope to visit NZ soon! Are you still travelling? 😊

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 7:57 am

      Hey Sha! No, we are back in Sydney now 😦 Sadly…. busy doing so many other things back home already, it hasn’t even felt like we ever left! But now trying to plan the next adventure…. Are you travelling at the moment?

        Sha said:
        October 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

        Haha, it always that way when you return from a holiday..I’m not travelling…yet! Haha, have plans coming up soon…😊

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          October 15, 2015 at 8:24 am

          Oooh – where are your next adventures too?? We need inspiration… so much to choose from!!

            Sha said:
            October 15, 2015 at 11:48 am

            Haha, off to London next month! Super excited..😋

            wisemonkeysabroad responded:
            October 15, 2015 at 9:33 pm

            Awwww….. it’s been over 10 years since we were in London! Way over due for us!

    Jess Carey said:
    October 8, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Ohh those photos are STUNNING! Totally worth losing the battle with the sandflies to experience! I’ve been to Christchurch for only a few days, and would absolutely LOVE to go back and see more of the country!!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 8:03 am

      Hey Jess, thanks so much for your lovely comment. Being mauled by those sandflies were a very small price to pay for what we were able to experience. The colours of NZ are enough to make our legs weak! You MUST try and get there again one day…. You probably saw Christchurch pre-Earthquake? It would be interesting to hear your thoughts if you were to see it after.

        Jess Carey said:
        October 9, 2015 at 8:07 am

        Hehe I’m glad the trip was worth the attack then 🙂 the colours really are incredible – the blues of the water and the sky, amazing!
        I actually visited Christchurch a year an a half post-earthquake, while it was all still very raw… it was a really touching experience which I actually found a little hard to write about! It was still beautiful, though 🙂

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          October 9, 2015 at 8:35 am

          Oh we can only imagine how hard it would’ve been to visit Christchurch so soon afterwards. Even now, we can still see the destruction and our hearts melted being there. It was beautiful though 🙂

    David said:
    October 8, 2015 at 9:27 am

    It is a beautiful place – speaking of road trips I got a kick that on the south Island you still get single lane bridges on the main highway around the island and that many of the towns still have a local milk bar and no modern cafes

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      October 9, 2015 at 8:05 am

      YES… single lanes on most of the roads was a little unusual for us too but we love how it works though 🙂 That was the beauty of lots of NZ – that everyone manages, no one “toots” their horn….such a relaxed feel about it. And we really loved the local milk bar or the little farmhouse cafe… so rustic, so quaint!

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