Couple Trip Kiwi-Style: Exploring Aotearoa New Zealand

We had all these months, Jacob and I, just to get ready and excited for our long long trip down under. More than half a year ago, we were already excited about spending New Year’s Eve airborne on our way to Aotearoa New Zealand. Wohoo! 🙂

It was Jacob’s fourth trip to New Zealand, last but not least inspired by all those travel tales from “our Elena Paschinger”. His eyes would shine every time he was talking about his big love New Zealand. It was only logical that I should become curious indeed over time! And now, finally, the hour had come. We were off on our way together!


Prep work. So how do you pack for thirty-one days at the other side of the world?

First of all, we laid out everything we (thought we would) need on our beds. Jacob looks at me and boasts about only taking what is really necessary. His backpack ready, he is back at the wardrobe now, thinking over this and that. I smile at him, saying, “Darling, if it fits your backpack, then take it.” You see: Our couple trip has already started!

Das richtige Packen will gelernt sein - vor allem zu zweit! "Meinen Rucksack geb' i nimma her!" / Foto: Anna Zell

Packing together can be tricky – or a relief! “Don’t you stuff my backpack!” / Photo: Anna Zell


Auf nach Neuseeland - mit fünf Stunden Stopover in Dubai. / Foto: Anna Zell

On our way to New Zealand, with a five-hour stopover in Dubai. / Photo: Anna Zell


Angekommen in Waiotapo, können wir unser Glück ob der Sommersonne und der schönen Landschaft kaum fassen! / Foto: Anna Zell

Having arrived in a place called Waiotapo, we cannot believe how lucky we are with the summer sunshine and the gorgeous landscapes surrounding us! / Photo: Anna Zell


Foreign tongues & foaming coffee

After our arrival in the land of the Kiwis, I cannot help looking at the beauty of all those foreign name signs. How does it sound when a real Maori pronounces them? All the while, I am tempted to try for myself: Aotearoa. Rotorua. Whanganui. Beautiful! I am entering a completely new world here.

By the way: If you, like me, love coffee, then you will love what you see here. Many times over, Jacob has told me about New Zealand’s famous Latte Art. And it is true: Everywhere we look, we find cute little cafés offering many warm, welcoming and personal touches. How good it is, therefore, that we both are real gourmet travellers! We cannot help but stop at all those cute little places, sharing a delightful piece of New Zealand Carrot Cake. Finally, we agree on sharing one slice between us, as all those calories may not even be walked off during the two long-distance hikes we have planned for on our trip. 😉

Latte Art in Neuseeland: Pausen zum Genießen! / Foto: Anna Zell

Latte Art in New Zealand: Gourmet Travel Breaks! / Photo: Anna Zell


Aktiv gelingt es uns, die Carrot-Cake-Kalorien auch wieder loszuwerden - zum Beispiel beim Bergsteigen auf den berühmten Mount Ruapehu im Zentrum der Nordinsel. / Foto: Anna Zell

Hiking up Mount Ruapehu, we are able to rid ourselves of all those calories again and enjoy a most fascinating landscape. / Photo: Anna Zell


Everything is upside down … Down under is where we are!

I am standing inside a Kiwi hostel in front of a world map trying to find us. If you, like me, are used to finding Europe in the centre of a map, then you have to look twice around here. Australia and New Zealand are at the “heart of the universe” here, Europe flung out at the far end of the map. So it is with many things: Swans are black here, not white. The national bird does not even fly. And the land is overpopulated by … sheep. Far more sheep than people, that is.

Einsames Schaf in Neuseeland: Wohl eines der klassischsten Landschaftsbilder überhaupt! ;) / Foto: Anna Zell

One single, lonesome sheep in New Zealand – ain’t it cute! 😉 / Photo: Anna Zell


Sogar Pinguine leben hier! / Foto: Anna Zell

Even penguins live here! We do drive with caution. / Photo: Anna Zell


Active volcanoes, temperate rain forests, wild rivers and a beautiful coastline

Even though we decided to focus “only” on the south of the North Island as well as the north of the South Island during our happy trip together, I can count more highlights than fingers on my hand today. How I loved to meet the people of this place.

Just to tell you: We really did climb up an active volcano, for instance! For four days, the Whanganui river carried us through the New Zealand forest landscape. I took to calling the countless sheep dotted around the landscape “lice”. The ever changing play of clouds upon sunshine made for stunning scenery. Seals let us come close to watching their young. We were impressed with the multitude of different bird species. Hiking the Queen Charlotte Track gave way to many spectacular views of the Marlborough Sounds, the fjords in the northern part of New Zealand’s South Island.

Auf zur Kanu-Expedition auf dem Whanganui River - was für ein Abenteuer für Jacob & mich! / Foto: Anna Zell

Off we go canoeing down the Whanganui river – what an adventure for Jacob & me! / Photo: Anna Zell


Romantik Pur! / Foto: Anna Zell

Beautiful romance in Anakiwa. / Photo: Anna Zell


The most beautiful night we spent was watching dolphins during a full moon in French Pass, New Zealand. Moments of pure magic!

New Zealand wins you over if you open your heart, and your senses to it. The clocks run different here, although there is a strong European influence. The land moves you, shapes you, goes right through you. How lovely to be sharing all of this with somebody who understands.


Pros & Cons of travelling as a couple

Bed space is limited, but there is somebody to hold at night. It is a relief if rain and wind work against you, to still have someone with the spirit to put up the tent for the night. Being silent together, taking in the landscape, smiling, is so much more beautiful than on your own. Feeling and sharing each other’s enthusiasm is amazing. Even if the other half is more set on watching light houses than wine estates, there can be compromise: Wine estates in the morning, light houses in the afternoon. Easy, right?

Meine Weingüter lieb' ich mir! Hier sind wir im Marlborough ganz im Norden von Neuseelands Südinsel unterwegs. / Foto: Anna Zell

I really love visiting New Zealand’s countless New World Wine Estates, such as Marlborough here . / Photo: Anna Zell


Wunderschön: Der Leuchtturm am Castlepoint in der Nähe des Wairarapa Weinbaugebietes in Neuseeland. / Foto: Anna Zell

Castlepoint Lighthouse close to Wairarapa wine region in New Zealand. / Photo: Anna Zell


Mit der Interislander-Fähre geht es von der Nord- auf die Südinsel. / Foto: Anna Zell

The big Interislander ferry links New Zealand’s islands by travelling back and forth along Cook Strait. / Photo: Anna Zell


Eine meiner schönsten Erinnerungen: Die morgendliche Wanderung am Farewell Spit in Golden Bay. / Foto: Anna Zell

One of my most beautiful travel memories: Walking across Farewell Spit in Golden Bay, South Island New Zealand. / Photo: Anna Zell


Alone, together or as a group, and maybe all of those travel styles, Aotearoa New Zealand is always worth the trip. So let’s go!

Meanwhile, let me spoil you to more stunning travel photography on Flickr. Enjoy watching, daydreaming, and perhaps planning your next trip!

Thank you so much, dear Anna Zell, for this sweet and intimate travel account of exploring Aotearoa New Zealand as a couple. Want to know more about the “Land Of The Long White Cloud”? Check out my series of personal travel articles in “The Year Of My Life: Travelling Aotearoa New Zealand”.

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