I’ve been pretty lucky over the last few years. I’ve been to many places and done and seen some pretty amazing things. But there’s some experiences that do stand out above the rest. It’s hard to narrow it down to just ten but since I have to do so (well I don’t have to, but I’m making myself do it) then I’d say that it would probably be these, so in no particular order:
Surfing was something I had always wanted to try, but I had just never got around to it. When I was on the East Coast of Australia, however, it finally seemed my time had come to give it a try. After all, you should always get down with the locals- in this case, the Aussie surfer dudes.
There are so many places in the world that I want to go to and I’m pretty sure that there’s not enough time for me to see them all. That said, sometimes I just want to go back to somewhere I’ve already been to. I mean, if it’s good- why wouldn’t you? Vasudha Aggarwal from Travel Defined and Monika Moreva from Two and a Half Bloggers (two fellow travel bloggers who I seriously recommend you check out if you haven’t already) nominated me for this post. Basically, this is an idea by “Booked.net – Top Destinations to Go There” which involves bloggers picking the top five places they would love to go back to. I also have to link back to the original Booked.net post and nominate five people to carry it on. Seems like a great idea to me so lets go:
As far as I’m concerned, you just can’t beat a good burger. Throw in a gherkin, some cheese and a nice pile of chips and I’m a happy chappy. Since I live in England, it is unsurprising that I’ve found most of my favourite burgers here but the winning spot has to go to New Zealand.
New Zealand is an amazing place to visit. The scenery is like something from Lord of the Rings. In fact, the scenery can be exactly that from Lord of the Rings. The country itself is a bit of a contradiction. You can either spend your days hiking through the mountains and staying sleepy towns, or you can keep your adrenaline pumping by throwing yourself off a variety of different high-up objects. It’s one extreme or the other. Each town I visited in New Zealand always seemed to have one or two must-dos, so with that in mind I thought I would put together my guide to New Zealand, what to do and where.
Sadly, my travel buddy and I had to pick up our pace as our flights were looming. We therefore had to leave our bus and hop on another one to get to Queenstown. During the journey, we stopped off at a lake and grabbed a coffee before going for a wonder. That night’s stop was at Wanaka, which didn’t have much going on apart from a cinema. After a tasty but unfulfilling dinner of nachos and salad, we went off to see Iron Man 2. The screen room was filled with random sofas, armchairs and even a VW Beetle. The projectionist had a slip through the film and the image went but really that just added to the experience. Midway through the film there was an interval. You could tell when it was approaching as you could start to smell the freshly baked cookies wafting through the door.
The Kiwi Bus had taken us to Waitomo, a village which contained very little. Basically, we had stopped off to see some caves. We had $35 taken from us and were then told that we weren’t allowed to take photos. Thankfully, the caves turned out to be pretty amazing, with lots of stalagmites and stalactites (I think I know which way round they go). We then all got onto a little boat and sailed in the dark to see all the glowworms stuck on the ceiling, which lit up the space like hundreds of little stars. You don’t see that everyday.
After an early night, we had an early morning, catching the bus at 7.30am. Our first stop was some old gold mines and we walked through the pitch black tunnels and over the rickety bridges before heading off. Next was the town of Hobbiton- not the place where Frodo lived but an actual town. We had a picture with a Lord of the Rings statue and grabbed a Meatball Sub for lunch and then we were on the way to our final destination of the day: Rotorua.
I’m someone who has rarely strayed from the beaten track; in fact I take credit for beating it further. Sure I’ve diverted from time to time, it can be fun and it’s nice to see somewhere that hasn’t been touched by tourism and where you can meet some actual locals. I would actually like to stray more often. However, I also think the beaten track is beaten for a reason. It’s like if you were trying to choose a film, you’d go to see the one that lots of people have been to and that has been given rave reviews.
After a 13 hour flight from San Francisco, my travel buddy and I landed in New Zealand. After trying to come to terms with the fact that we had set off on Monday and arrived on Wednesday, skipping out Tuesday, we found our shuttle into Auckland which took us to the Nomads Hostel.