The best way to travel around New Zealand (NZ) is undoubtedly by embarking on a road trip. But an even better way to discover NZ is by traveling around the country slowly at your own relaxed pace, moving from place to place and taking in the scenery, activities and lifestyle that New Zealand offers.
Slow Travel Benefits:
The slow travel phenomenon is not new in New Zealand. People have been nomadic around here since before the Europeans arrived. Now, with the help of a working holiday visa, digital nomads and those looking for temporary employment can work their way around New Zealand at their own pace.
The benefits of traveling around New Zealand slowly are plentiful. An extended period spent in one place allows you time to properly unpack, live like a local, make friends and get the most out of the location without having to rush around. Slow travel is also easier and more respectful towards the environment that surrounds you and it can even be kinder on your wallet in the long term! You really do get the chance to learn a lot more about the local culture, and we at Going NZ have been embracing this!
Why Slow Travel in New Zealand?
To experience the true beauty of New Zealand, some manically sight-see around the two islands in two weeks, or attempt to squeeze in as many sights as possible within a city. This is exhausting and truly isn’t that much fun. It can be quite stressful and you often end up missing out on something! New Zealand deserves the slow travel approach!
For digital nomads like ourselves, it is essential to ensure we get our day to day tasks completed. As such, a sense of routine is a must and our slow travel approach to NZ has allowed us to achieve this. It has, however, taken us many years to get into the slow travel mindset. We once spent one month sleeping in the back of our car, traveling the whole North & the South Island, whizzing from one place to the next and really not ticking many things off our NZ bucket list. Often Isaac asks, where was that place again? I’m sure this is because of the speed we moved around. We needed to slow down – it was exhausting!
But this time round for us, it’s about the journey and the discovery that slow travel leads us to. We have slowed down to make sense of what is around us. We have found ourselves being able to enjoy what NZ has to offer us in a whole new light and we aren’t getting burnt out in the process.
How to Slow Travel in New Zealand?
To establish this mindset and to take the time to explore each new destination thoroughly does require a bit of advanced planning. Here is how we are accomplishing this in New Zealand…
House sitting has become our budget friendly, short-term accommodation option. Sure, you could spend hours trawling through Trade Me for a short term fully furnished rental and be disappointed when your application doesn’t shine through from the ten or twenty other applicants the estate agent received. Or you could sign up to Kiwi House Sitters and House Sitters, create a lovely genuine profile and apply for house sit’s that are available within all the regions around NZ. The concept of house sitting in NZ works very well due to the kind, generous and trustworthy nature of the Kiwi’s (the people… not the birds!). It also is a ‘win-win’ situation for both parties involved: the homeowners receive the peace of mind that their pets and homes are being well looked after and you get to save money while not having to pay for rent!
Kiwi House Sitters have a hassle free sign up process with a $65 membership fee a year. House Sitter’s membership is $49 for properties within Auckland and FREE for those outside of Auckland. Our experience thus far has been insightful – we have met so many people from different walks of life and fell in love with one too many cats!
House sitting ensures we can both continue with our digital nomadic lifestyle whilst exploring NZ at a pace that is now comfortable for us at this stage in our lives.
As a backup, should house sitting fail, we always have a tent in our car. And once we’ve made friends in an area, we’re often offered a place to rest our head with new friends.
Depending on the length of time you are spending in New Zealand, a reliable set of wheels is required. Either hiring a car (good for those who are staying a few months) or even better purchasing a car when you first arrive is a must. You will more than likely arrive into Auckland/ Thereforem our top tip would be to check out Ellerslie Car Fair. This is NZ’s biggest second-hand car fair, happening every Sunday from 10AM. They even have $140 pre-purchase inspections available for those who are looking for peace of mind, to make sure you are not purchasing a pile of crap! This fair will give you a lot of leads on what types of cars there are available in NZ, as well as what to expect for your budget before possibly turning to Trade Me or the classified ads in the local papers.
If you do end up hiring a car, do ensure you are fully insured, covering your ass for those unexpected turn of events.
On another note, we always take our bikes with us. They are super handy for getting around and you often see more than if you drove around, and you also save money on parking and fuel!
Now that you have the basics covered, let the destination take you on a journey you won’t be forgetting in a hurry!
Dawn is a Cornish globe trotter and a storyteller with itchy feet. She is the brains behind Going NZ. Her journey within NZ started in late 2014 when she moved there permanently with her pome-kiwi partner. She now travels slowly around New Zealand, falling in love with a new slice of NZ every day. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.