There is no place in the world like New Zealand. I’m convinced of it. If you haven’t put New Zealand on your bucket list, then you need to. This incredible country truly has something for everyone. I can’t wait to go back and explore more. I’d even move to New Zealand in a heartbeat if given the chance.
My husband and I spent days discussing where to go for our honeymoon. As a couple who loves to travel, it was very difficult to decide on our “perfect” trip when the whole world seemed to be calling us with open arms. I want to go everywhere in the world. And I will. I refuse to do anything less. However, our honey moon we really wanted to be special.
We decided to go to Australia. We read up on Australia and the Great Barrier Reef and all the other amazing things that Australia has to offer. However, as we researched Australia more, we realized that many of the pictures and hikes that excited us the most were actually mislabeled! The true place that many of these pictures came from was New Zealand. So we changed our plans, and what we found was the most amazing experience anyone could ask for.
Don’t get me wrong, no trip is perfect. We drove 2500km in around 2 weeks and spent much of our time in the car getting from place to place, but what we saw made it so worth it.
It’s Picture Perfect
The New Zealand landscape provides everything a photographer is looking for. There are fjords, waterfalls everywhere, geysers, mountains, valleys, oceans, crystal clear lakes. It doesn’t matter which way you turn, New Zealand has something worth taking a picture of. Places like Fiordland National Park and Milford sound were even described by Rudyard Kipling as the “8th Wonder of the World.”
If you enjoy dark sky photography, the lack of light pollution in the isolated islands makes for the perfect astrophotography location. Likewise, if you enjoy taking epic pictures of wildlife, Kaikoura, New Zealand boasts one of the best locations in the world to see whales. In fact, multiple species of whales migrate through the Kaikoura area every single year.
New Zealand was the Filming Location for Lord of the Rings
It is literally the land of the hobbits. J.R Tolkien is smiling from his grave over the fact that Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand. From the intense forests to the Tongariro Mountains (Aka Mount Doom), the two islands that make up New Zealand have everything. Including the actual Shire that you can go and visit for an awesome tour!
Lord of the Rings was filmed all over the country which means that quite often, you will find yourself on a filming site without even knowing it! Make sure to ask your guides on all of your tours about Lord of the Rings, they will let you know some really awesome locations to go see and facts about the filming process.
New Zealand is beautiful even on the worst of days.
This gorge we visited in the freezing rain and wind. The wind was so intense that as we attempted to fly our drone, I almost crashed it directly into a tree which would have caused it to fall into this gorge of drone death. However, even in the wind, the fog, the rain, the cold, the fear of losing the drone, it still managed to blow our minds with its filterless beauty.
Who needs filters when the water looks like this NATURALLY? Have you ever seen such a pretty blue??
It has The ONLY “Dark Sky” Reserve in the Southern Hemisphere
Last, but not least, actually, not even last. There are SO many reasons to visit New Zealand, but the post would be long and obnoxious so this is just the last one for today: New Zealand is perfect because it has the only Dark Sky Reserve in the Southern Hemisphere.
What is a “Dark Sky” reserve? These reserves are essentially national parks that control light pollution. This particular one does not allow light pollution within 30 square miles, which creates the PERFECT star-gazing location. I mean, I say I’m pretty good at nature photography, but I had never tried my hand at astrophotography.
When my husband and I stayed the night in this dark sky reserve, this picture (unedited by the way), came out of it! It was so easy to get an amazing picture like this when the stars were so visible. The sky was like nothing I had ever seen. It felt like it was just me, Eric, and the universe. Add some wine and a hot tub with that and it was the most amazing experience and definitely one for the record books.
The Hiking is Amazing
One of the most appealing aspects of New Zealand for Eric and I was the fact that the hiking was just incredible. The hikes range from quick day hikes to massive treks. We were able to amazing hikes like Roy’s Peak on the South Island and Hooker Valley by Mount Cook.
The best part about hiking in New Zealand is that there is a hike for everybody. Because of the diverse landscape, you can hike on the beach, in the mountains, and even over volcanoes!
Read More: The Best Day Hikes in New Zealand