This journal was written as a physical diary by me during my gap year. I am typing this up to share my gap year experience. At the beginning of travels I was 22. I travelled with a friend (Kieren) and anybody else involved will be introduced during the journal. For more details, check here.

To travel through New Zealand, we booked a Kiwi Experience bus pass for the North and South Islands. This is a flexible bus pass so you can spend longer in places you want to, they have recommended hostels, and there are plenty of activities that they offer. We decided to travel New Zealand for 1 month.

Check out the previous instalment here.

17th March 2018

We got the bus from Tekapo and made our first stop in Geraldine. There was a nice farmer’s market on so we had a little look around and bought some apple shortcake.

We finally arrived in Christchurch at 2pm (we were late because of road works) and checked into the YMCA (after singing the song, of course).

Kieren and I had a walk around the city – it is very strange here because it’s almost a ghost town. There was a bad earthquake in 2011 and they’re still rebuilding. Almost everywhere is like a construction site. The strangest place is the cathedral. They haven’t rebuilt it so it’s boarded up and there are fences all around it. The entire front where the clock tower used to be is gone.

Christchurch Cathedral after the earthquake

As it is St Patrick’s Day, we headed to an Irish bar. I had a Bailey’s, of course. There was a fun Irish band on and the atmosphere was pretty good.

18th March 2018

Pretty chilled day today – Kieren and I went for a coffee then to a really cool independent cinema called Alice Cinema. We saw Shape of Water, which is a very strange film.

19th March 2018

We wandered around the Botanical Gardens and found the rose garden, which is really pretty!

Christchurch Botanical Gardens

20th March 2018

Today is our last day in New Zealand! We checked out of the YMCA and went for brunch at The Lemon Café – I got eggs benedict with smoked salmon, avocado, ciabatta and hash browns. All my favourite breakfast foods on one plate!

We got the bus to the airport for our flight back to Sydney, which took 3 hours 20 mins. The flight was great because we got free food and drinks the entire way! I wasn’t expecting that because it was literally the cheapest flight available.

(a) Christchurch to Sydney Flight ticket. (b) Huka Falls was one of my NZ highlights.

When we arrived in Sydney we got the train to Central and checked into Wake Up. This is the same hostel that we stayed in when we first arrived in Sydney back in October. We dropped our bags and went for a walk around Darling Harbour.

New Zealand

Amazing country – stunning scenery, Maori culture and lots to do!

Favourite place in the North Island = Bay of Islands

Favourite place in the South Island = Queenstown

Favourite Kiwi Experience bus driver = Dylan

Great people we met on our Kiwi Experience trip

  • Anneloes
  • Charley
  • Charlie
  • David
  • Kat
  • Kendra
  • San
  • Will
  • Arjun
  • Garen

(a) My highlights of New Zealand. (b) Kiwi Experience Bus Pass. (c) Kiwi Experience Map.

New Zealand Fact File

  • Common NZ saying = “Sweet as”
  • Food is v. expensive e.g. 1 bell pepper = $3
  • New Zealander’s are very proud of their Maori culture
  • The money has birds including kiwis and penguins, or Maori symbols on
  • They hate possums, weasels and stouts because they’re eating Kiwi bvirds – they’re trying to get rid of them by 2050
  • NZ has a population of ~4 million and about 1/3 live in Auckland
  • There are 30 million sheep
  • L&P (lemon and paeroa) = famous fizzy drink

(a) New Zealand fact file. (b) Quad biking in Franz Josef. (c) Hobbiton. (d) Sea kayaking in Cathedral Cove.

Check out the next instalment here (available 9am GMT 26th April).