Visited New Zealand during May 2016 for the first time. I decided on going from Queensland to Wellington, and finally to Auckland. Of course, the recommended route is the other way around, that is from Auckland to Queensland. I should have gone with the recommended route, however, that’s only after the fact. Queensland was absolutely lovely. Wellington was so, so. Auckland was my least liked of all places. There is really no culture or say architecture in comparisons to say Europe including the UK. In terms of social interaction even Germany tops is more social. In terms of modernization such as a speedy internet connection even nations considered less developed have faster internet connection. The whole adrenaline rush thing that they sell, well I think it’s a whole tourist trap thing, I mean you could bungee jump or go skydiving almost anywhere beautiful or not and it’s still an adrenaline rush. Bottom line is if you go to New Zealand go there for the nature. And the nature in New Zealand is beautiful, and unique. Also, you might like the temperate climate in much of New Zealand.
New Zealand biggest positives – is more kickback, loose, has got amazing nature, and pleasant weather.
Mostly a kickback life-style, even if you work in the corporate arena. Even if you work in Auckland or Wellington it will not be the same as working in corporate or professional arena in US, Canada, or Germany. Some locals in NZ will say “Oh, yeah, I worked in Auckland and Wellington and I got tired of the hustle and bustle, and so now I am in Queensland etc..” Make no mistake about it, if you are pretty much from any other part of this continent, professional or blue collar, corporate or not, this totally does not qualify as a hustle and bustle. And you don’t have to go that far – just look across to Sydney. I wouldn’t at call it chill as in California, and exciting as in New York City or London etc. It has its own laid back atmosphere.
NZ Biggest Negatives – Lack of culture (except for ancient Maori), architecture old or new, modernization , lack of social interaction
If you go there for culture or architecture, then don’t! If you go there for socialization, then they are tad better than the Swedes of Stockholm, and the Danes of Copenhagen. This is bewildering because they are English decent, speak English, and you will have a much better time conversing with people from UK or Ireland. Heck, even the people from Sydney are more conversent. In my experience, I found, especially in Auckland, that social interaction was segregated (yes, I said segregated people!). The other thing I found was that local people did not know or lacked social interaction skills. This was true of both genders, and especially women. The other thing I experienced is that many times women would be afraid, and especially when they were wearing spandex pants or skirts (not even minis). And I wasn’t even checking them out! I wish I had a hidden rolling cam with audio on this trip. Very Bizarre! Also, on the times when local people, including those innocent Maori, were a bit social, they didn’t have much to talk about, and as if they were in their own world maybe even a blank world, not necessarily a peaceful blank world. Very strange. If you are looking to come to New Zealand for some type of intelligent or non-intelligent entertaining conversation on almost any topic I suggest, in general, that you are better visiting someplace else.
Food-The food was the best in Auckland, it has a wide variety of foods, restaurants, bars, cafes, fuel area shops all over with good quality food, and the prices are more reasonable. Wellington, near the cuba-street area has a wide variety of foods, restaurants, and bars. Not as many cafes though. The prices are a bit higher. Queenstown, in the main town area, you have restaurants, and much fast food – however the food tastes different here, and not as good. The light beer, and craft beer in all of New Zealand is pretty damn good, and better than most of the garbage in the US except for some no brand craft beers on tap.
Industrialize this-While New Zealand has beautiful nature all over, the main cities have lots and lots of cars. The number of cars is probably growing as well, and so is the construction of new buildings all over New Zealand. The pollution is going up.
Food: Caribe Latin Kitchen, the Empanada Kitchen (their different sauces are amazingly good), Skyline QueensTown Bar – amazing view, and I got a super friendly bartender – who was on a Holiday Visa from the good ol USA! Definitely try out the Mickey D’s on Frankton Road (Queenstown, Frankton) – I was missing a Mickey D’s, and they actually gave me coffee in true china – check out the pics dude!
Activity: So many here, please google it J. Hike up to Skyline Queenstown, and Queenstown Hill. Make sure to check the weather to book either the Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound Tour. I went on the Doubtful Sound and it poured and still tried to enjoy it. I went in the fall. Check the stats too – I think it rains like 200 or more days out of the year in the Doubtful Sound. If you are lucky it will not be raining (snow might be better actually), however, didn’t get to see any animals L
Regardless, it was fun J. Really it was fun J . If you go in spring or summer, definitely go kayaking, and other water sports all over New Zealand and not just Queensland. Make sure to visit or even live in Arrow town. If you are here for a bit longer absolutely take on of the great walks or hikes in the southern-western part (Milford track, etc..)
Food: CubaStreet has lots of restaurants, bars, clubs, and one or two cafes. Monterey Café – kind of interesting food and beers
Activities: Museum of New Zealand Te PapaTongarewa, Wellington Botanic Garden, next to less interesting cable car museum, hike up to Victoria. Hiking in all of New Zealand is excellent, sometimes you are hiking just by being in any city or any place as it’s all very nicely hilly J There are also few other museums and galleries, just not very impressive.
Other: One of the nicest, and lovely things to hear and say is “Thank you bus driver” when getting off the bus. Only happened in Wellington regularly and not elsewhere in New Zealand. In NYC some of us (though not many of us) say “Thanks” or “Thanks, have a good day”, “Thanks a lot”, “Thanks and have a good night” , etc.. to the bus drivers. Very rarely in much of EU, though I will say Merci, Merci beaucou, Danke, Danke Shuen, Gracias, Muchas Gracias, Graciee even if I get odd looks from others.
Food – lots and lots of different good quality restaurants, fast food, boutique or specialty food places at reasonable prices all over. I like the cafes and restaurants on Ponsonby Rd between Karangahape Road, and College Hill and near Dunedin Town Hall. Have breakfast at Marys, its absolutely lovel, and sit by the large “window” area to get a view of passers by and a view of Leys Institute Ponsonby Library & Hall. While you make your way to Marys, make sure to check out the old Ponsonby Post Office building.
Activities: Auckland Ware Memorial Museum – the best museum in New Zealand, and even better than the one in Wellington. Excellent exhibition on the top floors. Kind of pricey, however, worth it. Nearby the Auckland War MM there is a beautiful botanical green house, please visit it – it’s that good! Auckland Art Gallery is so-so, and not that impressive, the outside architecture is much more impressive and worth the intake.
Make sure to visit the islands such as Rangitoto, Waiheke, Rotoroa, etc. The ferries are very expensive even if the ferry is as short as the ones to and from Davenport. Its worth it, and I recommend either a day trip (some islands can only be visited as a day trip) or a one night stay. Absolutely, make certain of the second last and last ferry back, even if the counter person is not fully helpful for whatever reason. This isn’t like taking the 24 hour, free ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island. Transport in all of NZ costs a good deal of money, and I think it’s more money than in London (except for cabs).
Hike up to Mount Eden. It’s wonderful. Don’t drive there, walk from Auckland city area to Mount Eden, believe it or not, people actually smile up in the town near Mount Eden, and will acknowledge our mutual amicable existence. I walked the from Karangaphe Rd, Symonds St, to Mount Eden Rd finally to Mount Eden.