After venturing out into the big wide world this year, I’ve come back to kiwi land with a rather large appreciation for home. There is a lot to learn from experiencing other countries and cultures, but it’s true when people say “There’s no place like home”. The following list explains the reasons why New Zealand is honestly the best place on Earth.
#1 No matter where you go, you’ll always be close to the ocean
Something I never considered is that some countries are in fact landlocked, meaning some people have never swum in the ocean or walked on the beach. The amount of coastline we kiwis have to enjoy is immensely large and of course beautiful! We are so blessed to have a large variety of different types of beaches too. From the black sand in Piha to the rugged coastline on the west coast of the south island to the golden sand in the Able Tasman area. Being away from the ocean for more than a few weeks left me feeling a little claustrophobic. I’ll never take for granted going for a swim in the salty sea water or watching the sunset on the beach.
#2 Having four seasons
Spring, summer, autumn and winter. We have the Earth’s tilt to thank for these beautiful seasons. But not all countries have the same seasons as we do… Gasp! It was only until I travelled close to the equator that I realised winter doesn’t exist in some parts of the world. Indonesia, for example, has the dry and the wet season, where the sun shines brightly for six months and then it rains a whole lot for the rest of the year. Some will never get to see the changing of the leaves from green to orange, the fresh blossoms and daffodils of Spring, or snow on the mountains.
#3 The variety of foods
Spending two weeks on a secluded island in Indonesia left me craving a salad and some veggies (and maybe some McDonalds.) Some cultures have amazing traditional food dishes that are created with the produce they have around them and honestly taste incredible, but nothing can really compare to having a bit of variety. The variety we have in New Zealand is absolutely astonishing compared with that of rice, egg and fish that the native Indonesian people eat. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing but after two weeks of eating rice and spicy noodles, you’ll probably feel a little bit homesick or like a full-time uni student.
#4 The kiwi people
How good is it to come home to New Zealand where everyone is so inviting and accepting of other cultures. Spending time in Paris made me feel a little bit like an outsider. The Parisian culture is very upper class and the locals love their fashion, cheese and mannerisms. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this but it did leave me feeling like an outcast. Some cultures can be a lot more ‘straight up’ when it comes to telling you what they think and it can come across as pretty rude. I’m proud to be a kiwi and know that most of us are pretty accepting of other cultures, are kind to tourists that don’t speak English and we’ll always help someone out when they're lost. This isn’t always the case in other countries.
#5 Our beautiful mountains
There are only a few countries in the world with mountain ranges as beautiful as ours. The Southern Alps of New Zealand capped with snow just takes my breath away. If you’ve ever ventured to Wanaka and Queenstown you’ll completely understand how magnificent these giant gods are. Not to mention the added bonus of being able to ski and snowboard in winter. There is definitely a reason why so many tourists travel thousands of kilometres to see the mighty Aoraki, Mt Cook.
#6 The native birds and animals
What I love about being immersed in NZ nature is that nothing can really hurt you or kill you. Being able to venture into the forest or go on a camping trip without the threat of being eaten by a wild animal or getting dengue fever definitely brings some peace of mind. You might encounter some sheep but at least you won’t be attacked by a mountain lion. The New Zealand native birds are also beyond comparison to anything else. Even the sound of birds outside your window that you may not notice during your day to day schedule is something that just doesn’t exist in other countries.
Oh, how I love Eftpos. Before leaving the country I got a travel card and assumed that New Zealand was a little behind on the Eftpos front but we certainly aren’t compared with Europe. Most places in Spain, France and Portugal will only accept cash or an Eftpos transaction over ten euros. Which is pretty annoying when you’re on a budget and you don’t want to spend more than $15. Constantly visiting an ATM to get cash out can be very expensive. Even in Australia, this ‘minimum spend’ thing is incredibly annoying if your someone who misplaces cash as soon as you get it.