Archive for the “New Zealand” Category

Big Improvements to this Site Coming Soon (Thanks for Your Feedback!)

Back in June, I released my annual reader survey—with a twist. To elicit more responses, I offered a free round-trip economy ticket. Boy, did I underestimate the number of people who would respond as a result! I figured that since the survey was long and required open-ended answers, not many people would complete it, but over 5,500 of you did! (That’s a lot more than the normal 500 or so who typically answer!) And the survey responses were better than […]

Budgeting in New Zealand

When I went to New Zealand, my goal was to live within a budget. After paying $15 for lunch I knew New Zealand was going to be more expensive than I had originally thought. While I work and travel and could afford $15 for lunch, I wanted to live within a budget that would be realistic for travelers who don’t work while they travel. My original budget was $80 NZD per day. How did I do with that goal while […]

New Zealand’s Backpacker Buses

One of the biggest ways travelers get across New Zealand is by backpacker bus. These buses offer a hop on/hop off service allowing travelers the flexibility to go at their own pace with the convenience of having travel and activities organized for them. New Zealand has three major hop on/hop off buses: Kiwi Experience, Magic Bus, and Stray. I tried the Kiwi Experience and Stray. Kiwi Experience The Kiwi Experience is the biggest and most popular backpacker bus in New […]

My Favorite Hostels in New Zealand

Traveling around New Zealand, I’ve made it a goal to stay at a variety of different hostels. I didn’t want to just stay at the chains like Base or Nomads. I wanted to see small operations besides just big chains. I quickly found out, though, that most of New Zealand is dominated by chains such as YHA, Base, or Nomads. And all the buses affiliate with them, making them the most convenient place to stay. Overall, I found the majority […]

Great Reasons to Visit New Zealand

New Zealand’s faraway location ensures that its natural beauty is protected from the hordes of tourists who would overwhelm this place if it was easy to get to. True, New Zealand’s greatness has been exposed to the world by movies like The Lord of the Rings, but surprisingly few people make their way down here. But with places and activities like those listed below, New Zealand is clearly worth any journey: Abel Tasman National Park Stepping into Abel Tasman is […]

Learning How to Scuba Dive

Learning to dive is something I’ve always found excuses to not learn how to do. Something always comes up. I don’t have the money, I don’t have anyone to go with, I’m too busy, I’ll learn when I get to Thailand, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. Traveling Fiji with Gary from Everything-Everywhere, I was finally pushed, prodded, and cajoled by him to go scuba diving. “If you don’t do it, I’ll make fun of you on Twitter,” […]

Trapped in Paradise

Whenever I hear the word “Fiji,” I think of those postcards you see in airports—white sand beaches, palm trees, a little boat in the ocean, and the bluest, clearest water in the world. Essentially, my idea of heaven. With Gary from Everything-Everywhere heading to Fiji, I thought there was no better time to cross off one of my travel goals. Even though I was exploring the south island of New Zealand, I decided to change course. Finishing New Zealand could […]

Waitomo’s Glow Worm Caves

Waitomo, New Zealand is famous for one thing. Every year, heaps upon heaps of travelers come here to see the famous glow worms that line the ceilings of the nearby caves. The glow worms emit a phosphorescent glow that shines from the inside of the caves like a starry night. The interesting thing about the glow worms is that they aren’t really glow worms. They’re fly larvae. And what glows? Well, that’s their waste and snot. The larvae glow to […]

Away from Home for the Holidays

Growing up, I often spent Christmas at my friend Matt’s house. In fact, it often seemed like everyone I knew spent Christmas at his house. After everyone had their family Christmas, we congregated there to celebrate together as friends. Even after college, my friends and I still managed to spend Christmas at Matt’s house, holding onto that one tradition even as our lives grew apart. I haven’t been home for the holidays in four years. I get asked a lot […]

Trying to Fish in Taupo

I’ve only been fishing once in my life. It was during an extended stay on the island of Ko Lipe. A few of us had rented a boat to explore the nearby national park and islands. For lunch, our Thai captain went out to catch fish. I was one of the few who went with him, each of us allowed a chance to catch something. Fishing in Thailand is done the old-fashioned way: a hook attached to a line thrown […]