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Help! I’ve only got 7 days to see New Zealand!

Today’s blog comes from Fiona Bryce, a Travel Expert in our Edinburgh George street store

It’s not every day you get offered a trip to New Zealand, so I was pretty darn excited when I got the news that I’d be trotting off to see our Commonwealth chums. Then I thought about it a bit more and realised I’d only actually have 7 days on the ground. I was a wee bit disappointed –  there was obviously no way I’d get to see much. All those experiences I talk about to people heading off to do their working holiday visas, there was no chance I’d even be able to cram half of them in.

The long road to Mt Tongariro

Help! I’ve only got 7 days to see New Zealand

You want us to do what?

When our itinerary pinged through I excitedly opened it to see just what they thought we’d have time to do. They were obviously delusional: surf lessons, jet boating, sky diving, bungee jumping, rafting, mountain biking, hiking, 2 Maori cultural experiences and a spot of conservation at Blue Duck Station…. Ha! Like that’s all going to happen.

More than a bit sceptical that what was on paper was actually feasible we arrived early morning and were picked up and scooted off by our driver for the week, Spoon. As we drove off from the airport I was convinced I’d been flying in circles for the last day and I was in fact still in Scotland. The beautiful mountain scenery definitely reminded me of home but the sun so that was my first clue I wasn’t in Kansas (Edinburgh) any more.

At least I could still stand…

After a swift shower and a (relatively) early night in the town of Raglan I almost got swept to my death attempting to surf. I managed to stand on my board (just) following this trauma and after gracefully exiting the water I watched everyone else continue on merrily.

Surf camp was just the beginning and we scooted from place to place spending time with two Maori families between adrenalin activities. Our first visit was an overnight in a Marea where we were treated to some ‘taps aff’ when the boys in our group learned the Haka while the ladies had a wee shot at Poi.

Way better than a surf board

The Scottish Way

The following day after a spot of mountain biking (which was far more my bag than wading back in forth in the water) we headed to our next stop. This is one of the gems on the route and gave us a real insight into the issues faced by the Maori culture but also their determination and positivity that can make a positive difference in their communities. I also learned to make deep fried bread here (being Scottish I’m sure you can understand my delight)! We had a ball and got to see what day to day life is like for people in New Zealand which made the trip pretty magical.

Mmmmm fried bread with dinner

Geeking out

After learning about how important eels are (hint, pretty important) at Lake Aniwhenua things didn’t slow down. We got to hiked in one of the most stunning landscapes I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t in our favour and we couldn’t do the Tongariro Crossing but we were able to hike around the base of the mountain. The group got its geek on as we trekked past Mount Doom and Gollum’s pool for a Lord of the Rings fix.

Our final stop was at Blue Duck Station with fierce eco warriors that champion sustainable farming and want to rid the land of introduced pests so the native flora and fauna can thrive. We got to sponsor a rat trap, jet boat down their amazing river anf scoot about on ATVs! They’re my kinda peeps so I have to say it was a sweet finish to an amazing week.

Jet boating

The moral of my ramblings? You can do a lot more than you imagine in 1 week in NZ. It may just have been a drop in the ocean but the guys at Stray Bus made sure we didn’t miss a trick in the time we had. I can’t wait to get back over there.

If you’re craving a slice of New Zealand check out these multi-stop routes and build it into your multi-stop adventure!
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