How to Experience New Zealand When You Can’t Travel to New Zealand
Whether you’re waiting until you can get the time off work or it’s the midst of a global pandemic, you might want to be able to experience New Zealand without actually being in New Zealand… Well, just because you can’t hop on a plane right now doesn’t mean you have to miss out. You can still plan a trip to New Zealand or at least start getting pumped about an upcoming trip with these 10 ways to experience New Zealand from home!
1. Watch New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year
Unshamefully, we’ll start this list with a bit of self-promotion. The team at NZ Pocket Guide spent 365 days doing 365 activities, filming it all of the adventures and posting them on YouTube! All regions and almost all types of activities that you can possibly do in New Zealand are covered in these videos, so jump into the action in the comfort of your couch with New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year! Watch it either on the NZ Pocket Guide YouTube Channel or right here on our NZ Pocket Guide Vlog.
2. Cook Some New Zealand Food
Experience the tastes of New Zealand without actually being in New Zealand by sprucing up some traditional New Zealand recipes. We’re thinking the famous “Kiwi Onion Dip”, which is essentially a can of reduced cream with onion soup powder in it, or Southland Cheese Rolls, Sweet Potato Fries or, if you’re a good baker, a Pavlova! Check out the 5 Traditional New Zealand Recipes for some ideas and recipes.
3. Read a Book About New Zealand
Transport your mind to the mountains of New Zealand with one of the books about New Zealand. One of our favourites is Woman in the Wilderness by Miriam Lancewood about a Dutch expat who spends years living in the New Zealand wilderness, as well as walks the famous Te Araroa Trail. Other books you might want to dive into include An Olive Grove at the Edge of the World by Jared Gulian and New Boots in New Zealand by Gillian Orrell.
4. Connect with Some Kiwis
Learn about the land of Aotearoa and what the Kiwi life is really like by speaking to a New Zealander! Ok, so it’s easy to connect with pretty much anyone these days – all you need to do is jump onto a couple of New Zealand Facebook Groups or the New Zealand Subreddit and you’re off. However, we find it more fun to be introduced to a Kiwi by a mutual friend, as we are all six or fewer social connections away from each other according to the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory. Ask your mates or family if they know anyone in New Zealand and start connecting!
5. Watch The Lord of the Rings
Whether you’re a Hobbit enthusiast or simply want to enjoy some New Zealand scenery, The Lord of the Rings movies are a good way to go. More than 150 real-world locations in New Zealand were used for key scenes in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, many of which you can actually visit once you get to New Zealand! So get familiar with Mordor, Hobbiton and Rivendell so that you can visit those places once you’re in “Real Middle-earth”. Check out the 23 Lord of the Rings Locations You Can’t Miss in New Zealand to start exploring locations.
6. Learn Some Words in Te Reo Maori
Te reo Maori is one of the official languages of New Zealand and the language of the indigenous Maori culture. Not only are some phrases, like “Kia ora” and “Kapai!” used in everyday conversations in New Zealand, but learning a bit of te reo Maori will also help you pronounce the place names in New Zealand. Start with some of the basics in a Traveller’s Guide to the Maori Language: te reo Maori.
7. Listen to the Sounds of New Zealand Birds During Your Home Yoga Session
To the yogis out there, a good way to immerse in the sounds of New Zealand is by playing some sounds of the New Zealand birds during your home-yoga session. Birds like the tui and bellbird have wonderful melodic calls that will put you in the right zen for your workout. Some bird sounds you might want to avoid are kiwi birds (they don’t sound as cute as they look) and the cackling kakariki! By the way, check out some more birds in the 10 Amazing Birds in New Zealand to Watch Out For.
8. Play a New Zealand Board Game
Forget about Netflix, everyone knows that the ultimate stay-at-home entertainment is a board game! Of which you can find some fantastic New Zealand board games, such as the mind-teasing Te Kuiti or memory board game for kids The Amazing Moa Hunt! Or if you have a few card games you like, why not get a set of playing cards that teaches you Kiwi slang? Or if you prefer jigsaw puzzles, New Zealand has many stunning landscapes that make for a pretty marvellous jigsaw puzzle, like this one of Lake Matheson.
9. Watch the BBC’s “New Zealand Mythical Islands”
Educate yourself on New Zealand’s natural wonders with a documentary, like the BBC’s New Zealand: Earth’s Mythical Islands. Learn about some of the islands’ wildest area and resilient pioneers in this enchanting documentary that will stay with you into your dreams. It’s landscape porn at it’s finest.
10. Plan Your Trip to New Zealand on NZ Pocket Guide
Starting this article where we began with a little shameless self-promotion, plan your trip to New Zealand on NZ Pocket Guide! There’s no such thing as being “too prepared” and after browsing the thousands of articles of New Zealand’s largest travel guide, you’ll be more than ready to explore this far-flung nation in the South Pacific. Start with our New Zealand Travel Advice: How to Plan a Trip to New Zealand which will take you down the riveting rabbit hole of New Zealand trip-planning!