Disclosure: This is not a cooking review. It is also not about politics.
There is a lot going on in New Zealand at the moment, and most of it is pretty dark. Every day I wake up and I read about something that makes me feel a little bit sad. I love our country, and it’s times like these that make it easy to forget what our wee plot at the end of the earth has going for it. So I wanted to share with you just a few of my favourite things about this place we call home. Because despite the current state of affairs, New Zealand is still pretty great.
- Did you know there is a place at the bottom of the West Coast that cooks whitebait patties on a BBQ just off the side of the road? They are super delicious.
- On Stewart Island, you can see kiwi birds on the beach. ON THE BEACH. Maybe because their eyesight is so poor, they don’t actually know where they are… but still, it’s quite amazing, and hilarious.
- Aoraki Mount Cook and the Mackenzie Basin is home to the largest UNESCO International Dark Sky Reserve in the world. It basically means it’s really dark there and the stars are really bright. It’s also a huge deal; there are only nine of these in the entire world and only three have gold status. So New Zealand’s has the biggest of them all and it is darker and more starry than at least six of them. Take that everyone else!
- Next to the Waitomo Cave, there is another called the Ruakuri Cave. Stand at the top of the spiral walkway at the entrance and have a friend descend down into the drum. You can whisper secrets into the wall and your friend at the other end will hear you. It’s witchcraft.
- You can travel around with the mailman in the Marlborough Sounds while he does his delivery rounds. ON A BOAT.
- You can swim with baby seals in the Abel Tasman National Park. Jump in the water and they think you are useless and they’ll come and play with you. Seriously. They are more curious than dolphins. Don’t do this on your own though, that’s madness – there are people you can pay who can take you out safely.
- Auckland is more interesting than you think. A short walk up Mt Eden can give you a glimpse into pre-European times – you can see where Maori tribes set up their homes, where they fought and where they cooked and stored their food. Learning!
- Shoc Chocolate is pretty well known (at least in Wellington), and most locals know if you go to their little store in Greytown, they have a little cabinet on the counter with a sample of every chocolate flavour they sell. You can try as much of it as you like.
- At the tip of the North Island at Cape Reinga, you can literally see where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. It’s spectacular and should be witnessed at least once in your lifetime.
Sure, there is a lot of bad stuff going on. But don’t forget about all the good stuff we have too. There are kiwi birds foraging for food on beaches for goodness sake. I love New Zealand.
You can share what you love about New Zealand too – #NZisGreat
Cover image from Evan Forester