It’s been a year and a half since we left New Zealand, but after coming back to sell our van “Philipa” and travel around the northern part of the south island for the past month (with a rental this time), the things I missed most about this beautiful country seem to have stayed exactly the same as I once remembered.
A finale and part 3 to our kiwi experience of living and coming back to New Zealand has left me needing to mention and highlight a few more special things that make this amazing country a place I will always feel the need to re-visit over and over again for as many times as money and time-off will allow me to do so.
Here’s 10 (or as the Kiwi’s say “TIN”) more things I’ve learned and love about NZ:
- Takeaways: If it’s one meal I think I could eat everyday in NZ, it’s Fish n’ Chips. You start to notice more and more of these typically tiny and delicious smelling food joints if you drive around the country enough. In addition, the price is most favorable when you can get a few fish, chips, maybe some pineapple rings or other deep fried treats for under $20 bucks.
- Mons Royale: A merino wool clothing company based out of Wanaka, NZ that has taken off in the sports industry here, and also a sweet as fashion statement within the NZ culture. I won’t lie, I love Mons.. not so much the price, however I’ve still splurged and purchased a few Mons goods for both the ski and bike season. I’ve also seen it popping-up in some Canadian outdoor shops now!
- Kumara: A root vegetable that I wish we grew in Canada. Resembling closest to yams and/or sweet potatoes, this kiwi veg comes in an orange and purple variety. My favorite and most recommended way to prepare and cook it is in the form of chips (aka fries). I typically get a crave to grate some Edam cheese on-top in a fashion similar to a poutine.
- Tramping: As much as we’ve made it a priority to explore NZ on our snowboards and mountain bikes, the hiking or as the kiwi’s would say tramping in this country is by far some of the most incredible and hardest trails I’ve ever walked on. The Department of Conservation (DOC) has also made an amazing effort towards building 9 (soon to be 10) “Great Walks” between the both islands in order to highlight each region, and ranging anywhere from 20-80 km in length, generally taking only a few or up to 5-6 days to complete. They’ve even made a few exceptions for bikes on a few of these tracks now during the off-season.
- Cup of Tea: Being one of the countries part of the commonwealth, Kiwi’s enjoy their cup of tea. It always felt to us while being in NZ a country where the British roots where strongest compared to Canada and Australia. We’ve seen this social activity of drinking tea as a general greeting gesture or sometimes even meaning breaky, lunch or dinnertime.
- Manuka: Taken from the nectar of Manuka trees, this honey is used to sweeten your tea or coffee, in baking, in addition medicinally. However, the price tag for even just 100mL of this honey can make or break your wallet sometimes ranging in the hundreds. I’ve never spent more than $10 bucks buying the cheapest grocery store brands, however it definitely has a different tang to it and truly medical taste! Luckily, I’ve been able to find it in grocery stores back home.
- Per person: Whether you’re planning a hut trip, camping at a paid site, rent (which is calculated on a weekly basis here), and pretty much anything related to rentals or tourist activities.. this country does it by the person.
- Community clean-up: There’s plenty of folk in NZ that live in some amazing yet remote areas of the country. It makes you wonder how a house or neighbourhood was started-up there. Regardless of the location where some kiwi’s live, they take care of their land. We’ve seen time and time again communities and local volunteers cleaning-up road-sides and vegetation overgrowth onto sealed or unsealed roads, tramping tracks, rebuilding and/or maintaining huts, and especially MTB trails around the country.
- 100% New Zealand: If it’s one thing I’ve noticed stamped literally all over buildings, advertisements, products etc., it’s 100% New Zealand. At first I just knew about the tourist company 100% Pure New Zealand. Kiwi’s are super keen to highlight and mention their small and bigger corporations like Mitre 10, Pak n’ Save, Hunting & Fishing being 100% operated and owned by NZ. Kiwi’s are proud of what they own and if they have to slap a big label on-top to showcase it, they most definitely do!
- Pies: If its one thing I recommend you grab and eat straight away after getting off the plane, its a kiwi pie! Just like Takeaways, the Pies in NZ are definitely a delicious and addicting savory treat. Baked varieties such as; Mince&Cheese, Egg&Bacon, Vegetarian, Butter Chicken, Steak&Cheese, Lamb&Mint, Broccoli&Cheese.. the types of pies you find here are endless. Every kiwi has their favorite place to get a pie or recommend a place with the best pies to you, which I’ve kept a record of from both islands. No pie is made alike, or tastes exactly the same, but like a cup of tea its a special go-to treat that makes you feel connected to the Kiwi culture.. and hungry enough sometimes for second one 🙂
When we arrived to NZ the first time, the only thing I thought I would find a bit different from Canada was their accent, driving on the left side of the road, electrical plugs, the seasons, and that the brakes on mountains bikes were opposite.. but in the end I learned more than I imagined about this beautiful and exotic wild country. New Zealand is a country I definitely recommend to anyone with the travel bug or love for the outdoors to come and explore. No region or city is the same, and you have to take the time to see both islands. Every kiwi we met and became friends with were always friendly and welcoming, which says a lot about the general public here.. they’re nice as!
Thank-you NZ for being that second home to us and a country we’re we felt safe and welcomed to travel, work and come back again to visit. Whakahari!
Posted by Marisa