My family lived in New Zealand for 4.5 years and the thing that I loved the most about New Zealand was definitely the scenery. From the day we landed until the day we left, there was not one single day that went by without me feeling in great awe of that beautiful country.
We used to drive a lot when we lived there – we lived out in the country and so had to drive for work, school and shopping (and of course to go to the beach!). I can honestly say that there is no drive that I took where I got bored. It’s just that beautiful. Probably the most striking feature is the rolling and sometimes rugged green hills. There are no words to describe the depth or intensity of the green – it is just unlike any other green that we have in North America.
Another incredible feature of New Zealand are the beaches. We lived in the sunny Bay of Plenty where you will find nearly endless kilometers of beautiful, white-sand beaches, various hues of blue and green ocean and places with rugged cliffs. Whenever we felt like finding a deserted strip of beach, we could easily find it. There were stretches of beach (near the towns and cities) that would be crowded in the height of summer time, but there was always empty beach available too for those who like their privacy. The sand was generally white, but also varied from a more coarse and light brown color, to stretches of beach with fine, white powdered-sugar sand.
Besides the rolling hills, blue ocean and sandy beaches, the mountains of New Zealand are also spectacular. While some of the mountains on the North Island are on the smaller side, it makes them great for exploring. One of my favorite places in New Zealand was atop Mount Maunganui – a climb that took only about 40 minutes from the base. Atop Mount Maunganui, you could look out towards the rolling hills, or the little town of Moutn Maunganui, and the white sand beaches of “The Mount”, as well as out over the Tauranga Harbor. Just imagine climbing to the summit of a mountain, and being able to see the varied and stunning views for 360 degrees. That was a place to just relax or meditate and appreciate the beautiful planet that we live on.
If you appreciate natural beauty, New Zealand is definitely a place to add to your vacation wish list. You won’t be disappointed!