Black sand beaches with wolfe dog
I’ve now been home for three months and it’s taken all this time to find the words I need to write about New Zealand. Travellers are very passionate about New Zealand and I want to do my corner of the country justice. Although I leave for long term backpacking trips on a regular basis, I always appreciate the time I have here. When I walk through the international terminal at Auckland airport, I’m welcomed by the audio of native birds, and I know I’m home.
A slightly different welcome at Wellington airport
People love hearing that I'm from New Zealand. Everyone has a story or a plan when it comes to Aotearoa. They always ask which region I'm from; ready to tell me they loved it when they visited but when they hear Taranaki they’re quiet, because even though they've travelled all over the country backpackers rarely venture into Taranaki.
For those unfamiliar with New Zealand
Backpackers don’t make it to Taranaki, the usual route bypasses us between Taupo and Wellington or they're in the Bay of Plenty and they continue down the east coast.
It's unfortunate because we have oodles to offer here on the flipper of the fish.
Driving around Taranaki is fun. If you can, rent a car and circumnavigate the mountain. Flying the car over the tops of hills and plunging down the other side is bound to make your stomach drop. Highways sometimes merge into twisty single lane roads – so keep your wits about you.
Taranaki is full of blink and you miss ‘em, one horse towns and the horse just died.
We have world class festivals like Womad and Americana and adventure activities to sate the appetite of any adventure junkie with snowboarding, hiking, biking and secret surf spots. For the rest of us, a slow paced lifestyle of fishing, coffee culture, black sand beaches, art and strolls in Pukekura park and the 12km coastal walkway.
We are taking some time out this year. Jack is studying, we’ve just signed a lease on a small house and we’re settling nicely into new jobs (or for me, my old and favourite one). For now it suits us, it’s nice to see all our old friends, have a routine and a home to go to. There’s no travel burnout. We’re no longer stumbling through someone else’s language.
It's also fun to have wolfe around again
There are also many things about long term travel that I will miss too, like going somewhere new every day, lying in hammocks to my heart’s content and eating exotic food in restaurants for every meal and paying just a couple of dollars a pop.
However, if we have to settle down somewhere then I’m glad it’s New Zealand – where a lifestyle of adventure in-between working hours is easy. Every time I come home I’m reminded of what a beautiful home country we have.
There are some lessons from travel we are bringing with us. We no longer buy things we don’t need – a house full of clutter is the last thing we want. We live cheaply and saving money – even with Jack working part time in between classes. That money will likely go towards future travel plans – so fear not! There’s still more travel in the works perhaps as soon as later this year.
As for travel in New Zealand I’d like to see the South Island more in depth this Christmas, spend some time paua fishing and climb that beautiful mountain you can see in the photo. I think if I declare my intentions on this site to climb Mt Taranaki then I’ll be more likely to go through with it, it’s something I’ve talked about and not done for the last two years.
Should you find yourself in my neck of the woods feel free to message me and we’ll grab a flat white.