As the New Year approaches, I can’t help but wonder what I will do with my life next year. As an expat, I never know when my expiry date is. But with leases ending, friends moving away, and the New Zealand winter inevitably approaching once again, I am feeling the pressure to decide where I want my life to go.
Whenever I consider this my mind starts to frantically whirl around, searching for the answer. Blank.
I have no clue what I am doing, but not knowing has woken me up to the reality that my time in New Zealand is precious; any day now I could up and leave. Yet there’s still a heap of things I want to do here.
So for the past week, I have spent my spare time compiling a list of things I absolutely cannot miss while living here. If I am being honest, the list is endless, because there is just so much to do in New Zealand. But I’ve managed to narrow down the top ten places I want to go. Now that I’ve made this list, I’ve already begun finding free weekends and booking annual leave to make 2019 as dreamy and adventurous as possible.
Electric Avenue Festival; Christchurch
With an endless list of summer festivals (Rhythm and Alps/Vines, St. Jeromes Laneway Festival, Splore, Homegrown), it’s hard to choose which ones to organise a weekend for. But when I saw an advertisement for Electric Avenue festival in Christchurch pop up in my news feed, I couldn’t resist the temptation to party in the beautiful gardens of Hagley Park. When I visited Christchurch last year, I fell in love with its quirky vibe and couldn’t help but see the comparison between my beloved Adelaide, the city of churches. Excitedly, I booked my festival ticket this week and, as luck would have it, a sale on flights came up for that weekend. With everything now booked, I cannot wait.
Climb Roy’s Peak
When I visited Wanaka last year I didn’t have time to climb to Roy’s Peak (its a 16km hike) and I have longed to do it ever since. Wanaka itself is stunning, so to see it from the top of a mountain, taking in the beautiful backdrop of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring, is the dream. Fortunately I’ll be stopping in Wanaka on my South Island road trip at the end of the month and, almost two years later, I’ll finally get to climb it.
Climb The Pinnacles At Sunrise
On the Coromandel Peninsula lies the Pinnacles walk, also known as the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail. It is a one day hike which can be spread over two days by staying in the Pinnacles Hut. Often people choose to stay in the hut, waking up early to reach the summit for sunrise. There are definitely a few scary areas of the climb, but after conquering the Crouching Lion Hike in Hawaii I feel ready to tackle it next year.
The Abel Tasman Coast Track (Nelson)
One of New Zealand’s most popular walks, this tramp takes 3-5 days and features stunning golden sand beaches as you walk along the top of South Island’s coast. Having booked five days off work in February, I’m keen to chill out in the huts and take a dip in the ocean after a day of walking.
Visit historic Dunedin
I remember reading about tourist’s love for Dunedin when researching my first holiday to New Zealand. Yet after two holidays and living in New Zealand for one year, I still haven’t visited the historic town. So as soon as a sale comes up, I’ll be booking flights to this little town on the Otago Harbour to spend a weekend checking out some trails and its famous architecture.
Lake Waikeremoana great walk
This is one of New Zealand’s official ‘great walks’. Basically, you just walk around a huge lake, but it is said to be stunning. My kiwi ex-boyfriend, who has travelled all over New Zealand, declared it his favourite place in the country. So trusting his instinct, I’m hoping to experience it over Easter.
Hawke’s Bay wine tour
What better way to spend a weekend than sampling some New Zealand wine from the famous Hawke’s Bay region? As wine lovers, my friends and I are planning to book a bach in Napier and spend the weekend drinking too much Pinot Gris.
Road trip through Northland Region
While I’m not a huge fan of Auckland, there’s definitely some amazing places in the Northland region, just north of the city. Some of the things I am hoping to see are the Waipoua Forest, home to the oldest Kauri tree, 90-mile beach, Cape Reinga, Bay of islands region, the beautiful town of Paihia, and the Waitangi treaty grounds.
Climb Mt. Taranaki
Both of my flatmates are from Taranaki and have summited the mountain many times. Though challenging, they’ve shared stories of camping up there (you’re not supposed to) and even bringing a couch to sit on at the top! If someone can carry a couch up a mountain then I recon I can make it to the top.
Queen Charlotte Track
Another of New Zealand’s beautiful tramping destinations, the trail encompasses walking for 3-5 days through the Marlborough sounds, staying in the huts along the way. There are also water taxis available if you don’t feel like carrying all of your tramping gear. Winning.