This post is part of my Blog4NZ series. Blog4NZ, running March 21-23, is an initiative by travel bloggers to share memories, photos and stories from New Zealand in order to bring awareness to the fact that, despite the Feb. 22 Christchurch earthquake, the country is still very much open for business.
It's no secret that I love New Zealand. Like, really, really love New Zealand.
If I had the money, I think I would probably pack up my bags and move there tomorrow, that's how much I love New Zealand.
And, while I sometimes feel like nobody else could possibly feel as strongly as I do about this country, I know that I'm not alone in my adoration.
New Zealand is appealing to many people, and travelers who visit and get to know Aotearoa and its people often find that their hearts get left behind somewhere between its shorelines.
I know what I love about New Zealand — its friendly people, its laid-back attitude, its varied and beautiful landscapes, its culture, its history… basically everything. It doesn't matter how many times I visit — I always find myself wanting to travel to New Zealand again and again.
And I also know that removing New Zealand from your travel itinerary due to the Christchurch earthquake is only going to hurt this country that I love.
New Zealand NEEDS us.
But don't just take my word for it.
Collected here are reasons given by a variety of travelers, bloggers, and New Zealand-lovers from around the world about why THEY love NZ, and why they think you should consider visiting right now:
From Michael ofGo, See, Write:
My favorite memory about traveling in New Zealand is… I love almost everything about New Zealand, but the people are my fondest memory. While there are a huge variety of natural wonders there that I adore (Fjordland, Northland, the hiking trails, black water rafting, scuba diving, etc.), I keep going back to memories of the nicest people I've meet anywhere. One way that everyone should try to experience the overwhelming warmth of the people is do a little hitchhiking in New Zealand. Best place in the world for it!
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… Because it remains one of the greatest and more spectacular countries in the world. More importantly, no doubt they need your tourist dollars and tax dollars from going there. Head over and spread the good word about this wonderful country. I wish I was on my way there right now.
From Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic:
My favorite memory about traveling in New Zealand is… bungee jumping off the bridge of the world's first bungee jump. I am scared of heights, so this was petrifying. Actually, they had to give me a bit of a nudge because after two attempts I just couldn't bring myself to fall!
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… it's a travelers dream destination: beautiful landscape, amazing food, strong indigenous community, adventure activities. I spent a month there and love it so much I wanted to move there.
From Richard Tulloch of Richard Tulloch's Life on the Road:
My favourite memory about traveling in New Zealand is… tramping in the Te Urewera National Park. The lovely Lake Waikaremoana was formed by an earthquake (see, they do have their uses!) and is surrounded by forest unlike any other anywhere in the world.
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… I was there last week, in Christchurch too, and can assure you it is open for business and still the most beautiful country on earth. Sorry Switzerland, you're number 2. And when they're not on a rugby field, the Kiwis are very friendly people who will welcome you warmly.
From Linda Fairbairn of Journey Jottings:
My favorite memory about traveling in New Zealand is… the awe-inspiring variety of landscape.
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… When you can see the fjords of Norway, the Alps of Switzerland, the geysers of Iceland and the lowlands of Scotland without having to deal with Europe's manic traffic culture, or fight for a viewing spot against the hustle and bustle of Europe's 250 million plus annual tourists and… all in a fraction of the space… It's picture perfect.
From Rebecca of Travels at 88mph:
My favorite memory about traveling in New Zealand is… The awesome people and the beautiful scenery. Everyone is so glad you made it to their little piece of paradise that they'll go out of their way to help you with anything you may need. And around every corner is a scene more beautiful then the last!
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… Besides the fact that the main tourism season is over and the country is sure to be empty, it's that you never know what is not going to be there tomorrow. Why put anything off to tomorrow when it can be accomplished today?
I guess this can go for anything, but to make it New Zealand related, it's that the damage from the earthquake is extremely limited to a small area and even my favorite town Akaroa (which is on the outskirts of Christchurch) is open for business. So if you can't make it to Christchurch, just go there. Actually, just go there anyway.
From Paul Corbett of My Postcard From:
My favorite memory about traveling in New Zealand is… New Zealand is not just about the places you visit, it's also about the journeys that get you there.
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… Driving alongside snow-capped mountains and through the Homer Tunnel enroute to Milford Sound; soaking up the view on the top deck of the Interislander ferry sailing between the islands; and walking the winding path down to the secluded beach of Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel. All these snippets of the journey add to the great memories you'll have of New Zealand.
From Raewyn, co-owner and operator of Red Carpet Tours:
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… New Zealand is a safe place to visit and one of the world's best kept secrets. Clean and green, with a huge diversity of scenery, friendly people, excellent fresh food, quality accommodation and transport that gets you ‘there and back again'. We have amazing mountains to climb, safe beaches and beautiful lakes to enjoy, wonderful native forests, lush countryside, bustling cities, and sleepy towns. Something for everyone, far away from the hurly burly of the rest of the world, and determinedly nuclear free. (Snakes and predator free, too!)
Mother Nature can be harsh. But the wonderful attitude of the people here will ensure Christchurch recovers and rebuilds. The locals refer to New Zealand as “Godzone” (God's own country) because we know how fortunate we are to live here. Come and see for yourself. You will be glad you did and we'd be pleased to share this secret with you.
From Craig of Indie Travel Podcast:
My favorite memory about traveling in New Zealand is… waking up for sunrise on the banks of Lake Waikaremoana. We had a tent break down, so there were three of us jammed in a two-person tent. The fresh air and glorious colours were stunning, and such a wonderful start to a new day of adventures.
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… it's great. Right now, there's a very long end-of-summer that's toasty warm. I'm heading down to the beach this afternoon! In a few months, the skiing season begins, so places like Queenstown are going to be taking off with some of the Southern Hemisphere's best skiing and snowboarding.
From Laurence of Finding the Universe:
My favourite memory about travelling in New Zealand is… Well, I'm still in New Zealand, but my latest awesome memory is making it to the top of Mount Taranaki, a totally incredible hike up the side of 2500 metre volcano. Photos and more from that walk right here.
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… The sun is shining, the people are smiling and the world cup is coming!
From Denise Limoge:
My favorite memory about traveling in New Zealand is… difficult to choose. I guess just traveling in NZ is my favorite memory about traveling in NZ. Going from place to place by car, by plane, by boat and even by foot and being able to see the amazing and ever-changing countryside was such a great part of traveling in New Zealand. Then reaching a destination and being able to experience its culture and life…. and not to mention meeting so many amazing kiwi natives and fellow travelers from all over the world. The overall experience was unforgettable.
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… for me, traveling to NZ was a life changing and amazing experience. I loved everything about the time I spent there and, although in the grand scheme of things I only spent a few short months there, it somehow still feels like home. I would encourage others to travel to NZ because it really is unlike any other place I have ever been. Its beauty is breathtaking and in my opinion everyone could use a moment of complete and utter awe in their lives!
From Echo Skyhorse:
My favorite memory about traveling to New Zealand is… just how vast and varied its natural beauty is. It has absolutely everything you could ever want in a vacation, and I did/saw most of it! The beaches, the lakes, the sweeping landscapes, the majestic mountains, the forests rich with life and mystery, the twisting and braided rivers — I could go on and on! One moment I was watching someone bungee jumping. The next I was marveling at the beauty of the Remarkables mountain range. The memories I hold close to my heart from my travels in New Zealand leave me wanting to go back, and waking up from vivid dreams of being back there.
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… with the state of the world and the tragedies occuring seemingly all over the globe, sometimes you need to step away from it all and remember that there is hope. There is beauty left in this world. There is peace and tranquility, mystery, awe and wonder. It's the best place I can think of in order to rejuvinate the spirit and lift the soul.
From Jamie Clauss:
My favorite memory about traveling in New Zealand is… the couple of days we spent in Akaroa. Not only was Akaroa the most quaint and endearing little town, but it was full of very special experiences. It's one of New Zealand's best-kept secrets, and the place where we were able to experience (and encounter) the most wildlife. Like in many places in New Zealand, we were able to see NZ fur seals, but we also saw the smallest penguin in the world (the White Flippered Blue Penguin), the world's smallest and most rare dolphin (Hector Dolphin), and plenty of amazing birds, including the Albatross. in fact, we were able to actually swim with the Hector Dolphins, which was truly a breathtaking experience.
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… New Zealand has the most bang for your buck, not only in the literal sense, but because minimal effort and time can still get you far. New Zealand has so much beauty and adventure to offer. No matter how much time or money you have, you can always see and experience something wonderful. It's many of the most wonderful things that the world has to offer, wrapped up in an accessible, clean, and VERY friendly little country. Why take years' worth of vacations full of travel time to see a handful of beautiful scenes or have exciting experiences when you could do and see SO MUCH MORE in just a week or two in New Zealand?
From Annie of Wayward Traveller:
My favorite memory about traveling in New Zealand is… Well to be honest that would have to be the bungy jump I did in Queenstown. Of course there is so much more to New Zealand than its love of adventure sports, however, this was a big moment for me. I had already decided against it, something that I generally don't do, and on a whim decided that I could run with the boys and go off the deep end, literally. My first taste of real adrenaline was jumping 143 m over the Shotover River in New Zealand on Easter Sunday 2009.
I would encourage others to travel to New Zealand right now because… it is beautiful no matter what corner of the country you are in and although I only have limited experience, I know that it has so much more to offer. I knew a lot of Kiwis while I was abroad and they truly are care-free people just out to live their lives. Imagine not only traveling in one of the most naturally stunning places in the world, but among some of the worlds most friendly people.
Have YOU been to New Zealand? If so, tell me why you would encourage people to travel there now!
Please note: All photos in this post were taken by me in New Zealand. To see more from this album, head over to Flickr.
And, if you liked this post, I would love if you would tweet it with the #blog4NZ tag, stumble it, and share it on Facebook to help promote this awesome blogging effort!