Experience the real New Zealand - where your stories are waiting to unfold. A place where gorgeous landscapes and friendly locals come together to welcome travellers to create unforgettable moments – from personal discoveries, to leaps of faith, and unexpected friendships. 

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The Coromandel
Dig your own pool, The Coromandel

Choped a pool. Got into hot water

We visited Hot Water Beach on our recent family trip to New Zealand. When we arrived, it was already low tide – perfect to make our own DIY hot pools. We were about to start digging when we found an abandoned pool which we immediately choped with our bags. As my wife and I relaxed in the hot geothermal water, my two boys started building sandcastles. Suddenly, an elderly couple approached us. Apparently, the pool wasn’t abandoned at all. They had dug the hole and gone for a dip in the sea. They pointed their belongings just beside the pool, which we hadn’t noticed. Embarrassed, I apologised profusely and started to gather the family. But the elderly couple simply smiled and said we should stay, especially since the kids were already enjoying themselves. The old lady then suggested that we enlarge the pool to have more space. What a great idea! The boys soon grew attached to the elderly couple, who regaled us with local stories, their favourite hotspots to visit and even shared some hot chocolate from their thermos. Who knew when we choped a hot pool, we’d get in hot water – with a couple of new friends.

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Sing like no one's watching, Fiordland

Milford Sound? Best KTV booth ever

My husband and I love singing mushy duets everywhere we go. Yes, we’re that kind of couple. When we visited Queenstown, we jumped on a cruise to tour Milford Sound. And boy was it a superb choice! There was plenty of room for us to spread out and drink up the beautiful scenery. In fact, at one point, my husband and I were the only people on the top deck. That’s when he hurriedly pushed me to the bow of the boat and got me to hold my hands out, Titanic-style. With no one around, we decided to unleash our inner Celine Dion – “NEAAAR, FAAAAR, WHERE-EVER YOU AREEEE!” Guess what? The fjords started singing back. The lush, steep slopes echoed our every note and soon, we were surrounded by a hundred of our voices. All of a sudden, we heard deep, raspy voices joining in the chorus. We turned around to see two of the staff belting out the lyrics with tea and biscuits in hand for us. We all laughed! My husband and I joked that they only gave us teatime snacks to keep us quiet, but they swore it was for everyone. We were stunned by the warmth of the staff, but mostly amused at our our magical lovers' duet.

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Watch them while they're hot, Rotorua

Hot and eggy like my kaya set

When my fiancée and I travelled to New Zealand, she really wanted to see the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – known for its colourful springs and steaming mud pools. I wasn’t too enthusiastic... She had planned to go at 9:00 am to catch the famous geyser erupt but we had a late night the evening before. I went anyway since it was our last day in Rotorua. It was only a 30-minute drive out of town. Just when we arrived, a friendly local told us to hurry down to the Lady Knox geyser; she was due to blow any minute now. We made a dash down and were greeted by the sight of a magnificent eruption. A blast of hot water 20 metres up in the air! It was quite a sight. We spent the rest of our time walking around, completely amazed at Lake Ngakoro, which turned an iridescent green when the sunlight hit, as well as The Devil’s Bath, a bottomless crater filled with bright acid green. My personal favourite was The Champagne Pool, lined with a luminescent orange and bubbling sulphurous gas. I couldn’t help but associate the smell and heat to my regular morning kaya toast. All in all, I was glad my fiancée dragged me out of bed to see this truly wonder-filled land. As we prepared to leave Wai-O-Tapu, I could feel my tummy rumbling. I realised in our haste to get there, we hadn’t even had breakfast!

Step into the Thermal Wonderland

Diving into fluffy tutu kueh, Queenstown

I was diving into fluffy tutu kueh

Embracing the wind in my hair, coasting past mountains and feeling like I was at the top of the world. Nothing could compare to this. Queenstown had been amazing. And to celebrate my quarter life crisis, my friends and I got on a plane that took us a thousand metres up in the air. And the view was STUNNING. You could see miles of rocky terrain, capped with pristine white and encased in lakes of the deepest blue. I was so entranced by the breath-taking view that the next thing I knew, I heard the instructor behind me yell, “You good mate? You got this! Ready? JUMP!” Immediately, my body felt completely weightless, my ears were ringing and my eyes watered. There was a gush of cold and I realised I was diving among clouds of fluffy tutu kueh! In that moment, I felt completely alive. I whooped and shouted, and my instructor joined in. I definitely ended my birthday celebration on a high (pun intended).

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