Around 4.5 million people live in New Zealand. To put that into perspective, in the UK around 8.5 million people live in London alone. Which means New Zealand has a lot of empty, open space and, even more importantly, that open space is really quite beautiful.
A simple equation tells us that not many-people + beautiful open space = perfect hiking opportunities. Throw the fact that Kiwi land is peppered with breathtaking lakes, out of this world mountains and some wonderful coastlines, and there’s really no reason why you’d want to explore any other way than on foot.
Follow the yellow brick road to New Zealand's best hikes | Image by chris.murphy
Lakes so blue you’d think they’d been photoshopped if you hadn’t seen them with your own eyes, mighty ancient glaciers, rolling green hills, snow capped mountains and rugged beaches where you can spot whales and dolphins playing between the waves.
If you like a bit of breathtaking beauty thrown in with your travel experiences then this could be your little slice of heaven. Here are our favourite ways to really get the very best from your time.
Watch the whales in the ocean off Kaikoura.
Today’s blog is by Tor White, Global Creative Director STA Travel, music lover & adventurer.
Between you and I, we are all always half in the office and half way out exploring the world
Ever walked down the street and heard a vague riff that took you straight back to a road trip with your mates? Or missed your stop because a tune on your iPod had you daydreaming about your last snowboarding adventure? It’s the same with us.
Music and travel are inextricably linked – they both take you away. Music is one of the first things that helps you to travel beyond your bedroom walls. And then when you’re old enough for your first backpack, it’s those unforgettable tunes that tie you to the places you visited and the friends and strangers you met.
Less rain than Scotland (probably), warmer that Norway and greener than Greenland; as “norths” go, the north of Thailand is pretty brilliant.
Getting there is pretty simple as the Bangkok – Chang Mai train is not only fast, efficient and cheap, it’s also a Southeast Asian travel rite of passage. Choose first class and a private air-conditioned sleeper compartment. Go second to sit or sleep, or go third and enjoy the fact that you’ve saved a a bit of doh and you sit up for hours on a flight anyway, right?
Travel overnight to make the most of your time, but travel by day to soak in the scenery. Bordering Laos and Myanmar, Northern Thailand is slightly cooler in temperature than the hot south and rivers and rice fields meet rolling shades of green that cover hillsides throughout this ancient and luscious land. It’s a romantic notion sitting on a train, watching the scenery go by and reading a book or contemplating life, but the time is yours, the scenery free so enjoy yourself with all you see.
Today’s blog comes from James Greenslade who, after abandoning STA Travel headquarters, has returned to his native Australia to pine for the awful summers and “friendly” locals of the UK. He still writes a bit though.
Lesser known than their Thai neighbours to the east, the Andaman Islands offer visitors destinations just as beautiful, and even quieter. Sitting in the Bay of Bengal – and actually geographically closer to Thailand than India which they are administratively attached to - only a dozen or so of the 300 islands in the archipelago are open to visitors.
But what gems they are. Think pristine beaches, jungles, clear waters and, possibly best of all, hardly any people…