Oliver made his first visit to New Zealand in May. We asked him for his first impressions of the destination.
Was New Zealand how you expected it to be from what you’d seen and heard about it? Or different? Well it was certainly as beautiful as anticipated! In some ways I’d maybe expected it to be a little like Australia – now I like OZ – but was pleasantly surprised at how distinct from its bigger neighbour it is and in some ways very much like home – the Kiwi sense of humour is very British!
It’s a long, long flight from the UK! How did you cope with the jet lag? I’m very lucky in that I can sleep pretty well on a flight, despite that a swim on arrival in the rooftop pool at the Heritage Auckland was the perfect tonic! Plenty of fresh air on a trip over to Waiheke Island and early night meant I was good to go the next day!
For anyone who hasn’t been to NZ yet. What will surprise them the most when they do go? After seeing thousands of pictures of New Zealand I knew it would be a stunningly beautiful country, and it truly is. The biggest surprise being the people! Kiwi’s are as friendly as their country is beautiful! Bar none Kiwi’s proved to be the most welcoming people I’ve ever come across!
Is it expensive? In many ways it was just like being at home, there are opportunities to push the boat out but equally there are plenty of eating options which are very reasonable, especially as the Pound is still pretty strong against the Kiwi Dollar. The quality of food and wine felt like you were getting good value for money!
What kind of traveller will NZ appeal to? Anyone and everyone! New Zealand has such diversity in a relatively small area it offers something for all! Beautiful scenery, great food and drink, adrenaline activities, history and wildlife. Combine this with the fact it is super easy to travel around and you have yourself a real winner!
You’re well-travelled (how many countries?). Where does NZ rank in your experience? 23 so far and before this trip Tanzania and safari in the Serengeti had provided the biggest wow, but now New Zealand has to be number 1! It offers the complete package of stunning landscapes, fantastic wildlife, great food and drink and amazing people!
When you think back on your trip. What is the one moment that summed up the New Zealand experience for you? A cruise out onto beautiful Lake Taupo on a luxury motor yacht, great food, wine and company to enjoy along the way to see some amazing Maori rock carvings, then catching my first ever fish (most likely the biggest to come out of the lake ever!!) off the back of the boat before cruising back to shore as the sunset! The best of New Zealand in the space of a couple of hours!