You are reading an honest New Zealand travel blog.

Lucky for you, I like to keep it real and tell you how it is.

Whether you are in the throes of moving to New Zealand or are about to visit this beautiful country, then you are on the right page.

In other posts, I cover the cost to live in New Zealand, and what it is like to raise kids in New Zealand – so if you are thinking of making the move to New Zealand and emigrating down under you might want to check those posts out.

But for now, to keep you on the straight and narrow I have 20 perfectly honest (maybe a bit too honest) truths to share with you about New Zealand.

All of them positive (some of them a bit munted) And yes. That is a real New Zealand slang word.

This post may contain affiliate links. They cost you nothing but we make a small commission. If you would like me to explain it further, please visit our disclaimer page.


Alpacas in New Zealand.

A New Zealand travel blog. Are you ready to know some truths?


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Living in New Zealand


We (my family and I) have been living in New Zealand home has taken a bit of getting used to.

Like anywhere else in the world, the land of the long white cloud is by no means a perfect country, and, as you would expect, living in New Zealand has its pros and cons, (one of those cons being that spending Christmas day in New Zealand means you can’t see the telly screen unless you close the curtains).


Telly aside, there are far more positives than negatives. New Zealand food is one of them!




Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, came to Aotearoa (which is the original Māori name for NZ meaning ‘land of the long white cloud’) more than 1000 years ago from their mythical Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki.

The Māori history, language and traditions are both beautiful and fascinating and are central to New Zealand’s identity.


Māori Culture 


Māori Carving in front of a New Zealand flag.


Māori culture plays a role in daily life in New Zealand and the Māori language, known as Te reo Māori, shortened to te Reo (meaning, ‘the language’) is taught in New Zealand schools and names many of New Zealand’s major cities and landmarks.

To learn more about the Māori culture, check out this post.


A view of a mountain in New Zealand at sunset.


New Zealand is one of the worlds most unique travel destinations and is a country that, no matter what time of year you visit, you will return home feeling one step closer to having discovered perfection.

Or at the very least you might meet a hobbit.

Want to know what New Zealand is really like?

Know this…



A New Zealand Travel Blog: 20 Things That May Surprise You


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Living In New Zealand


1: Know That Right From The Start, New Zealand is Different


  • Know that New Zealand is the best place on earth. Every corner you turn there is something that will take your breath away, from bubbling hot waterfalls (see the video I made further down the post)  at the side of the road to hillsides that look like bars of Toblerones.


  • Know that in New Zealand the sun moves across the sky in the opposite direction to the Northen Hemisphere.


  • Although the sun still rises in the East, it goes from right to left and not left to right. Along with having Christmas on the beach, it takes some getting used to. Plus, the moon is upside down.


New Zealand travel blog. The sunsets are incredible

The sun moves in the opposite direction to the Northern Hemisphere. It takes some getting used to.



2: Know That New Zealanders Are A Nation of Dog Lovers.


  • I have a dog and I have kids. Walk anywhere with both in New Zealand and watch how people clamber over the kids to stroke and fuss over your dog. And run away from your kids. Just kidding.


  • New Zealander’s will want to know everything about your dog. Its name, make, what it like to eat for its dinner and what’s its favourite colour.


  • Dogs. New Zealanders love them. If you are emigrating to New Zealand with your pooch then you are in luck.


A travel blog about how New Zealanders love dogs

New Zealander’s LOVE dogs. Now that’s something I bet you didn’t know!



3: Know that New Zealand Wine is Gorgeous.


  • I won’t lie. New Zealand wine played a huge part in our decision about whether or not we should emigrate to New Zealand or to Canada. What can I say? I’m a wine lover.


  • Sorry Canada, I love your wilderness and all that, but your red wine doesn’t come close to New Zealand. That’s why we chose to live in Taranaki over Vancouver.



4: Know that New Zealand is Full of Positivity.


  • We emigrated do to New Zealand ten years ago and have never come across anything but encouragement for everything we have chosen to do. 


  • Absolutely everything. No matter how unconventional or weird.

‘I’m taking both my kids out of school to homeschool them. Even though I’m not a teacher and I prefer dogs to children’.

Yeah! Go for it! That will be so cool for the kids eh?

‘We are going to leave New Zealand, start a travel blog and travel the world with our kids for a year. Even though we are old enough know better’

‘Cool! Send us loads of pictures and let us know how the travel blog goes!’


New Zealand people are warm and welcoming, in fact, New Zealand was voted as being the friendliest place on earth.


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5: Know that New Zealanders Say ‘Ey’. A lot.


  • If you are going to visit New Zealand then you had better brush up on your kiwi slang. There’s lots of it but here’s just one example:


  • Eh? Eh is a word that you will hear all of the time in New Zealand. It’s their way of affirming that what they have just said to be true. For example “That woman in the house on the hill has started a travel blog, ay?”


  • “I think it’s going to rain, ay?” Get the picture?


  • Good.



6: Know that New Zealand is Probably The Most Modest Country on Earth.


  • And so are New Zealand’s people. The only other country where I have witnessed the same modesty is in Japan.


  • When I tell any New Zealander that we emigrated to NZ from the Uk they say ‘why would do want to do that?’


  • I want to shake them and ask, ‘why wouldn’t I want to leave the Uk to come and live in a country that I can only describe as paradise?’


  • But they just don’t see it, and that’s both beautiful and sad.


A New Zealand travel blog

You don’t need “stuff’ to be happy. You just need a view like this…



7: Know that You Must Never Complain About The Weather in New Zealand


  • Not if you’re a Brit anyway. We already hold the title of the whinging pom. We don’t want to encourage it. 



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8: Know that  When Talking to a Kiwi Farmer About The Weather it’s Best to Just Shut Up And Listen


  • Especially when they are discussing the wind. They won’t just say ‘its windy’, or ‘there is a bit of a breeze coming through’, no.


  • Instead, you will be treated to such flamboyant wind language as ‘there’s a Sow-Westerly, gonna come through the back’ or ‘It’s a Nor-Nor-Easterly, she’s biting a bute’


  • You won’t have a clue what they are talking about (unless you have brushed up on your kiwi slang words) so just nod your head and smile. I tend to hold a wet finger up in the air if I’m not sure whether or not to hang my washing out.


  • And don’t bother asking a New Zealand farmer when is the best time to visit New Zealand – they’ll say summer because there is plenty of grass for the cows or winter because there’s plenty of rain for the cows. 



A New Zealand Travel blog about things you need to know about New Zealand

You won’t have a clue what ANY farmer is talking about in New Zealand but it’s always about cows. Just nod your head and smile.



And then there’s the washing…


9: Know that Some People in New Zealand Don’t Believe in Tumble Driers.


  • Not when there’s a perfectly good rotary washing line sitting in the garden thank you very much.


  • If you tell a kiwi that you tumble dry your clothes you might as well say I just killed my Mother.



10: Know that Some Kiwi Homes Are Bloody Freezing.


  • Kiwi’s don’t believe in central heating. They are in denial of it. If you happen to complain of suffering from hypothermia while watching television at a kiwi house you will be told to put another jersey on and man up.


  • In saying this they love their open fires and their wood burners, so their houses always smell of delicious wood smoke in the winter.
  • Being warm in your own house is one of the things that you will (probably) miss if you move to New Zealand.



11: Know that New Zealand is Safe – BUT


  • New Zealand ranks second place (after Finland) for being the safest country in the world and this feels evident the moment you step off the plane.


  • However, nowhere is perfect so please take care in the busier cities of New Zealand such as Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.


  • If you need to see a doctor while in New Zealand this is very easy to do and the health practitioners are friendly and professional. As a tourist to New Zealand, you will be charged for these services; approx  NZ $80 for a doctors consultation.


  • Make sure that you have the best New Zealand travel insurance there is. We have travelled all over the world and the only insurance policy I would recommend using is this one. In the past twelve months we have made three claims with them and every time they have come up trumps. They really are brilliant.



Family at some free hot springs in New Zealand

Where else in the world can you spend the day bathing in hot pools in the forest?



12: Know that Kiwi’s LOVE Sport (especially anything on the water)

  • If you live in New Zealand and don’t love sport with an absolute passion, then you might as well say ‘I’m a jelly blob with no brain’.Competition is everything to the New Zealanders. They live and breathe sport.


  • If you are like me and don’t like spending your free time watching men in black shirts slapping their thighs, then you have to pretend that you do.


  • It’s not hard.


  • Just casually drop into the conversation that ‘the lads are having a good season this year’ and all will be well.



13: Know that the sun in New Zealand is harsh


  • The relentless heat of India. The drenching humidity of Thailand, the scorching sun of Vietnam. All of them are nothing compared to what the sun in New Zealand does to you.


  • New Zealand sun is brutal. It will burn you before looking at you. Seriously, wear sunscreen otherwise you’ll be done for. 



14: Know that there are sandflies


  • If I could have one gripe about New Zealand it would be about the sandflies.


  • These nasty little black ‘dots’ are about as big as a grain of sand but have the bite of an annoyed tiger. 


  • The good news is that they are easily repelled and they don’t carry any nasty disease (just a very itchy reminder!)


  • Don’t mess about. This stuff is the best insect repellent on the market and the only one I would recommend for New Zealand bugs.  Rub it in (especially around your ankles) and you will never be bothered by sandflies again.



15: Know that New Zealand is THE Most Beautiful Place On Earth.


  • That even though I have lived in New Zealand for almost ten years, I still feel as though I am on holiday every single day.



Here’s That Little Video I Promised You Of The Free Hot Pools In Taupo, New Zealand




16: Know that it’s perfectly ok to Visit the Supermarket in Slippers.


  • Or bare feet. Or in your pyjamas. Kiwis don’t give a toss what you are wearing (especially in Taranaki), and it is wonderful.



17: Know that Some New Zealanders Are a Corse Bunch of Buggers


  • Kiwi’s have their own special slang words and they do tend to love indulging in a bit of bad language. If you are a well-bred English Rose such as I, then you might find this rather unsettling. Put your hands over your ears and say ‘lah, lah, lah’. This helps.



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A Few More Know This About New Zealand


Know that avocados are as cheap as chips in New Zealand. And nearly everyone who has a bit of space has a lemon tree in their garden.

Know that kiwis call crisps ‘chips’ and chips (as in, french fries) hot chips. So, just to be clear, that’s chips and hot chips. Keep up, please.

New Zealand has been described more than once as being boring.

Know this. New Zealand is not boring. It is far from boring. It has ninety mile-long beaches, gorgeous natural hot springs that you can soak in for free and snow-capped volcanoes.


New Zealand. Taranaki

The ever-present Mt Taranaki flanked by New Zealand hills. Is it any wonder the locals call this region Taradise?



Next, you could read…

What you will miss if you move to New Zealand (especially if you’re from the US…)


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Some Final Thoughts For This New Zealand Travel Blog


New Zealand has forests so dense that you could walk for weeks and never see a soul.

It has a world-leading cafe culture and theatre that knocks the socks off most of the things that I’ve seen on Broadway or the West End.

New Zealand is raw. Raw and beautiful. Intriguing and edgy rich with traditions and stories that stretch back over a thousand years.

Aotearoa is a place like no other.


Maori Carving above water in New Zealand

Tikanga, or Māori customs, are a very important part of daily life in New Zealand.

Manaakitanga which means the process of showing respect, generosity and care for others is something that all Kiwis pride themselves on. New Zealanders welcome guests to their beautiful country and will provide great hospitality. They ask in return you respect, honour and cherish their beautiful land.


New Zealand is Now Home


New Zealand is my home and this is what inspired me to write a travel blog on this beautiful country. If you make it down this way be sure to look me up and I’ll answer any questions that I can help you with.

Enjoy New Zealand and remember, if you know someone who would like this post as much as you did then please share it!


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