New Zealand

Here are all the posts I've published about New Zealand. As NZ is my specialty, the posts are arranged based on city/region.


The Ultimate New Zealand Bucket List
6 Ways to Save Money While Traveling in New Zealand
Packing for a Trip to New Zealand
New Zealand Smackdown: North Island vs. South Island
15 Things You Might Not Know About New Zealand
5 Middle-Earth Locations You Can Visit in Real Life
Lupin-Spotting in New Zealand
DOs and DON'Ts for a New Zealand Road Trip
Postcards From New Zealand
Things I Love (and Hate) About New Zealand
My 5 Favorite Views in New Zealand
Top Things to Eat, Drink in NZ
5 Roads Less Traveled in New Zealand
Exploring Middle-Earth with Red Carpet Tours


An Expedition to Northland


A Day Trip to Waiheke Island
Adventure in the Sky in Auckland (Doing the SkyWalk and SkyJump)
Hakas, Rucks and Scrums, Oh My! Attending a NZ Rugby Match
Visiting Hobbiton (Yes, This Place is REAL!)
Hunting for Trolls in Piopio
Hobbits For a Day: A Journey to the Shire — Part 1
Hobbits For a Day: A Journey to the Shire — Part 2


Discovering the Coromandel Peninsula


Rotorua: Smelly, But Awesome (Things to do in Rotorua)
Let’s Go Zorbing!
Top 5 Things to do in Taupo

Wellington Region

My Favorite Spots in Wellington
Wellington on a Budget
In Search of Seals in Wellington
Conservation on Kapiti Island
A Colorful Kapiti Sunset
Cultures Converging at Rangiatea Church
Photo Essay: Castlepoint
Walking the Paths of the Dead

Marlborough Region

Hiking New Zealand’s Queen Charlotte Track


Fantasy Meets Reality on a Mountaintop in NZ (A helicopter tour)


Dolphin Encounter: Swimming With Wild Dolphins in Kaikoura
Up Close and Personal With New Zealand Fur Seals
4 Reasons You Should Visit Kaikoura

Christchurch/Canterbury Region

Christchurch — A ‘Munted’ City
Christchurch — A Fresh Start
Akaroa, Je T’aime
Going Wild For Wildlife on an Akaroa Harbor Cruise
Hiking to Edoras
Riding the Rails in NZ — The TranzAlpine
Hiking the Hooker Valley Track at Mount Cook

West Coast

What the Hell is There to do in Greymouth, Anyway?
Adventure on New Zealand’s Franz Josef Glacier
Striking it Rich — Gold Panning in Ross

Dunedin/the South

Dunedin: A Weekend Itinerary
Climbing the Steepest Street in the World (Baldwin St.)
NZ Drives: Southern Scenic Route


6 Reasons You Shouldn't Skip Wanaka
Hiking the Rocky Mountain Track
The Best Way to Visit Milford Sound: From Wanaka!

Queenstown Region

Queenstown is King — A Guide to NZ’s Most Popular City
Which Bungee is Best in Queenstown?
The Scariest Thing I Have Ever Done (Bungy jumping the Nevis)
The Shotover Jet — A Thrilling Jetboat Ride
The Maori Legend of Lake Wakatipu
Photo Essay: Queenstown to Christchurch


Milford Sound: Eighth Wonder of the World?
Doubtful Sound: Milford Sound’s Underrated Little Brother




  • Oh my goodness I have hit the jackpot! I am moving to NZ soon so I am VERY happy to see all of these posts! Thanks for putting them together 🙂

  • Francesca says:

    This is amaaaazing! My other half is a Kiwi and we’re (finally) hitting the South Island in August, but he’s totally clueless about what to do. Our homework for the next week: read every single post.
    Francesca recently posted..Hostel Hacks: On dorm room sex

    • Amanda says:

      That should keep you busy! 😉 I’ve written about nearly every cool thing I’ve done in New Zealand, so I definitely hope this gives you some inspiration!

  • Beth L says:

    I have really been enjoying your blog! It’s amazing!! My husband and I will be spending February 2016 in New Zealand and your blog has me even more excited. I just used Airbnb to book a place in Wellington. I do have a question for you. We need to catch a one way flight from Wellington to Christchurch. Air New Zealand flight is $140 and JetStar is $57.97. A big difference. I have never heard of JetStar. They don’t have good reviews. Have you ever flown with them?
    We live in cloudy Ohio by the way. Gahanna, a suburb of Columbus.

    • Amanda says:

      I’ve never flown JetStar, though I have heard of them (mostly not-good things!). The Air New Zealand flight should include your checked baggage; you’ll have to pay for it on JetStar. I’ve also heard that JetStar can be reeeeeaaallllyyy strict on their carry-on baggage limits.

  • Sher says:

    Hello there! Thank you for the great posts! I am planning to travel alone to travel alone in Nov and im considering to head to NZ. This is going to be my first solo trip and I can’t drive. I felt more assured that I could rely on the bus transport because the general feedback i got was I wouldn’t be able to access to some places even by bus.

    • Amanda says:

      Hey Sher! You can definitely get around New Zealand by bus. Sure, there are *some* places you can’t get without a car. But if it’s your first trip to New Zealand, you probably will want to see all the major sites/cities anyway – and you can definitely get to those by bus. 🙂

  • Tim S says:

    Hi, I stumbled across your blog site from another traveller’s blog. A great name and idea 🙂 I’m a fellow NZ addict and plan to travel back their next year. It’s been over 10 years since my one and only last trip. I’ll bookmark and be back again to help with my planning. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Deb says:

    Hi Amanda. I’m really enjoying your travel blog. I’m an older traveller from Australia & I’m busy travelling around as much as possible. I’m going to the US for the first time in a few months & I’m very excited. We Aussies struggle with tipping since we are not used to it. We only tip for exceptional service & just round up taxi fares as Aussies are paid reasonable hourly rates so really the “tip” is factored into the cost of the meal or haircut or whatever. Something that I really want to know is how to pay for meals & leave the tip at restaurants. We are usually either given the bill at the table & then go to pay at the register or just go to the register & tell the person where we were sitting. My understanding is that in US restaurants the bill is brought to the table then you hand over the cash or card. Our banks always tell us for security reasons to always watch the card (so it’s not skimmed) & our cards have PIN numbers. Do your cards have PIN numbers? Is it safe to hand over the card? Do you leave the cash tip on the table & then walk out? Couldn’t the money be stolen? I’m an introvert like you & get very anxious about these things. Thanks for your great blog & in anticipation of your reply.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Deb! These are all very good questions, and as someone who has worked as a server in the US in the past, I appreciate you asking! In the US, servers are not paid minimum wage – when I was serving, I made $2.85 an hour and relied on tips for the rest of my wage. So that’s why it’s so important to tip in America!

      The general rule is to tip 15%-20% of your total bill. The bill will indeed be brought to your table at a sit-down restaurant. SOME places are finally accepting chip cards now, however most do not – meaning they’ll take your card away from the table to scan it and then bring it back along with the receipt for you to sign. 99% of the time this is totally safe.

      And yes, if you’re tipping cash, you can just leave it on the table if your server doesn’t come back (if you pay with a credit card, they often won’t come back to the table after they drop off your receipt to sign). This is also safe – I never had anyone steal a tip off a table when I was serving. 🙂

  • LIM SEE HONG says:

    Hi Amanda,
    My wife and I have been reading alot about your travel blogs especially on New Zealand cos we will be taking a one month self drive tour beginning 1st Nov 2016. Your blogs have provided valuable tips and guides on our upcoming trip. I don’t seem to read about how you do your monetary transactions there and I am unsure whether I should bring cash or just swipe my credit card or open an account that provides me a debit card. Can you advise me on this please? Thank you very much.

    • Amanda says:

      I’m glad you’ve find my posts helpful! So, when I travel, I always have a debit card that lets me take out cash at foreign ATMs (I don’t like carrying tons of cash), as well as one or two credit cards. Most places in NZ will accept major credit cards, though some smaller shops and restaurants will probably only accept cash. If you’re able to get a debit card, I would go that route!

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