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10 Things Kiwis Do Better

things that are better in new zealand

Sometimes I realize when I am talking about New Zealand, I sound EXACTLY like a teenager girl in love.

Well, let’s be honest here, I pretty much am. Swoon!

Never growing up and enthusiastic for everything, I will forever be young and in love with something, and right now it’s New Zealand. Yes, I say it a lot but, I’m SURE this is the one.

Gushing pretty much constantly about the Land of the Long White Cloud, I feel like I am preaching to anyone I meet online and in person about how awesome this random little country in the southern hemisphere is. Because, well, it really is awesome.

things that are better in new zealand

I am almost effortlessly happy living here because everything I’ve wished for in a home is here. New Zealand just does some many things, for lack of a better word, better, than the rest of the planet.

Granted, I would be lying if I said New Zealand was perfect. There are some things that they DON’T do better, like prices, lack of accessibility to the rest of the world and of course, 21st century internet which for me is almost a dealbreaker.

That being said, you must know that New Zealand has plenty of other spectacular qualities that cause me to overlook the fact that it has the WORST INTERNET IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.

So after a lot of deliberation and serious thinking, I’ve whittled down the list to 10 things that the kiwis just do better.

things that are better in new zealand

1. Epic landscapes

There are beautiful places, there are “jaw-droppingly beautiful” places, and then there’s New Zealand.

Alone in its own category, there are few places in the world that can compare with New Zealand’s diverse, wild and untamed beauty. It might be a cliche to say that everywhere here is a postcard, but it’s true. From thundering waterfalls in the Milford Sound, to the rigid volcanoes around Tongariro, the crystal clear waters of the Abel Tasman to the snowcapped mountains of the Southern Alps, New Zealand never fails visually to disappoint. Ever.

Cough, cough, unless you’re in Auckland.

things that are better in new zealand

Milford Sound

things that are better in new zealand

Tongariro Crossing

This of course means that once you get used to kiwi views, your perception of natural beauty around the world gets warped. Hardcore.

Oh that 10 foot waterfall you hiked 3 hours in the woods to get to back home? That’s something you don’t even stop on the side of the road for here in New Zealand.

I’ve gotten to the point when I’m roadtripping around New Zealand, and I turn a corner and BOOM snowcapped glacier in front of a field of flowers, I’m just like, “seriously, New Zealand?”

Oh and it gets even BETTER when the sun goes down because there is so little light pollution in this part of the world. In fact, around Tekapo in the South Island is a star reserve, and quite possibly the best place to see the stars.

Is there such a thing as too pretty?

things that are better in new zealand

Just another view driving around New Zealand

things that are better in new zealand

Lake Tekapo

2. Social progress

If being pants-shitingly beautiful is not enough, then New Zealand is frequently voted the best country in the world to live.

In fact, according to the recent Social Progress Index this year, New Zealand was just chosen as the number one country in terms of livability with the US lagging behind at number 16. Ooof.

From being completely nuclear free to being the first country to give the women the right to vote, I repeat, New Zealand was the FIRST country in the ENTIRE world to allow women the vote, being socially progressive and forward-thinking is almost inherent in the kiwi identity.

Nope, they don’t have to fight tooth and nail for healthcare or better gun control because they are light years ahead of the rest of us back home. And after being here for 6 months I can safely vouch that New Zealand really is a wonderful place to live.

things that are better in new zealand

Abel Tasman

things that are better in new zealand

3. Name things

If I were more emotionally mature, this wouldn’t make the list, but let’s be honest here. I have the mental age of a 13 year old boy, and nothing quite cracks me up on a long road trip than some of the EPIC place names in New Zealand.

Why name a town Springfield when you could name it Waipu? Now go ahead and say it outloud. Why. Poo.

Or name a place Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, the longest place name in the world. Roughly translated, as I understand it means something along the lines of “The summit where Tamatea, the man with knobby knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one,” which in fact, makes me love it EVEN more!

things that are better in new zealand


Or how about every time I’m driving around the North Island and pass through the town of Bulls. Or the first time I drove by the Whakapapa ski field. In Māori, “wh” is pronounced as an “f” which makes all the words that begin with “Whaka” all the more exciting to pronounce.

Really I could go on and on but I’ve probably already offended more people than I meant. Sorry!

things that are better in new zealand


4. Friendliness

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, kiwis are ACTUALLY the friendliest people in the entire world. Like go out of their way, make sure you’re alright, help you without being asked with a smile on their face all the time.

From the guys who helped me break into my car after I locked the keys inside for an hour at a gas station in Rotorua to the guys who serve me coffee wherever I go in New Zealand to the person I asked for directions everywhere, I am constantly amazed by the consistent kindness of kiwis.

They are also more open and welcoming to foreigners (who make an effort) here than in so many other countries I’ve been to.

It’s like they don’t know how to be mean or rude. And if anything, I am grateful because I feel like I am becoming a much nicer and friendlier version of myself since I moved here.

things that are better in new zealand

Hobbiton near Matamata

5. Coffee and brunch

I’ve already waxed poetic about the amazing coffee culture and brunch scene to be found in New Zealand, but it bears repeating because it’s STILL awesome.

There is some really amazing coffee to be had here. But it comes at a price – usually $4 a cup. YIKES.

The amazing coffee culture is usually paired with an equally awesome cafe scene, quirky, fun, minimalist, hip, you name it, you can find it here, usually without wifi.

It’s no coincidence that my favorite cafes also have the best brunches. Bacon eggs benedict, crumbly hot scones and clotted cream or turkish eggs, brunch rarely disappoints in this part of the world.

things that are better in new zealand

6. Being Hardcore

No two ways about it, kiwis are made of sterner stuff than the rest of us. If there was a zombie apocalypse tomorrow, I would make sure I’m on team New Zealand.

Whether it’s because of being raised on remote islands at the edge of the world or the fact that the survivor frontier mentality is still going strong, for some reason kiwis are just plain tough.

From the fact that it’s a cold weather climate yet central heating has yet to be invented and double glazing is a luxury (just go put on your ski parka…inside) to the let’s just go off to some remote mountain range for the weekend (because why not) to jumping off bridges into alpine rivers on the side of the road, New Zealand redefines outdoorsy and adventurous.

things that are better in new zealand

Kawarau Bridge Bungee near Queenstown, the first commercial bungee in the world

After all, New Zealand is the country that invented bungee jumping and gave birth to Edmund Hillary.

Forget these trendy Tough Mudder races, New Zealand has it’s own version called the Coast to Coast on the South Island – 140km cycle, 36km run OVER the Southern Alps, and then kayak 67kms.

And don’t get me started on the mountain biking. H.A.R.D.C.O.R.E.

Kelly McGarry is a kiwi, and he’s a beast!

7. Chill

And for being a country that produces so legends, everyone is remarkably chill, nice and unpretentious, makes for a nice change from America and so many other countries.

Back home everything is so fast-paced, frantic and competitive, I didn’t even realize how stressful and grating that is on one’s psyche until I left. That is not the life I want.

I want to live, not have my life revolve around a job. I don’t want to feel like I have to compare myself and my work with other people’s.

I also want to live in a place that’s “easy” and not a hassle, which is definitely the case for New Zealand. My god, compared with living in Spain it’s a piece of cake here. Living in a place where everyone just goes with the flow and is so laid back and chill does wonders for your health.

things that are better in new zealand

Franz Josef Glacier

8. Safety and trust 

A few weeks ago two foreign girls hitchhiking in New Zealand were attacked and survived.

It has been all over the news ever since because this NEVER happens here. Ever. New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world, ranked number 3 by the Global Peace Index. I am constantly amazing and skeptical of how safe and trustworthy it is here.

Just the fact that hitchhiking is so common here should be some indication of its safeness. I see hitchhikers in Wanaka every day. I mean hell, this wouldn’t have even made the news back home.

things that are better in new zealand


New Zealand is one of those last countries where you can leave your house unlocked and your keys in your car and not blink an eye.

It also helps that there are virtually no dangerous animals or anything either. I love that I can go off in the woods or walk alone at night and not worry about getting eaten by a bear or mountain lion. I mean, there aren’t even snakes here!

I remember the first time I bought gas in New Zealand and I was astonished that didn’t have to pay first. The pumps don’t have credit card machines like back home, and you just go inside and pay when you’re finished! Haven’t had that in living memory back home!

Same goes for fruit and veggie stands on the side of the road, all manned by the honor system.

things that are better in new zealand

things that are better in new zealand

Inferno Crater, Rotorua

9. Rugby 

I feel obligated to include rugby on the list since New Zealand currently has the best rugby team in the world, the All Blacks.

Of course they only thing I know about rugby is that they wear pretty short shorts and all the players are universally hot, so I’m not exactly an authority on the subject.

If I had to guess, I would say their success probably has something to do with the fact that the All Blacks perform the Māori Haka – a traditional war challenge of sorts – before all their games. It is mesmerizing. And if you’re really lucky (ladies), they do it in the rain with their shirts off.

You’re welcome.

things that are better in new zealand


10. Sheep

Is it weird that I love all the sheep in New Zealand?

Sometimes I even honk at them if I’m really bored on long road trips, you know, just to keep things exciting.

In the land of 4 million people and 40 million sheep, you are bound to come across these bizarre fluffy white creatures at some point or another.

And if there is one sheep in all the land that does it better than anyone, it was Shrek the Sheep.

A merino sheep near Wanaka, Shrek hid in caves and avoided capture and shearing for 6 years until he was caught. I mean my god, look at him!

You really just can’t top that.

things that are better in new zealand


Have you ever been to New Zealand or lived abroad? What are your thoughts? Have you ever been to a country and thought to yourself that they were doing something right, or even better, than what you were used to back home?

148 Responses to 10 Things Kiwis Do Better

  1. brizza April 18, 2014 at 12:37 am #

    it looks great out there … hurry up with my visa lol .just to see the nature there is a bonus ..all i see in london is stress and robots he he

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      hahah hurry up and get here!

  2. Rachel of Hippie in Heels April 18, 2014 at 12:58 am #

    Such a funny post, I’m in love with that sheep. I hang with kiwis on the regular and can agree they are the nicest and most laid back people I’ve met. I want to go to NZ so bad! Have you seen the show Top of the Lake? Did I already ask you this lol- it’s INSANE and takes place in NZ… scarily I know some kiwis like that too…

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      No! I need to check it out!

  3. Valerie April 18, 2014 at 1:06 am #

    Love this! New Zealand has been my dream trip for a long time and I am enjoying reading about your adventures and seeing your pictures on a daily basis (it’s become as important as coffee). Seeing it through your eyes lets me know that picking New Zealand as a dream spot is the right choice for me. Keep the pictures coming…

    • brizza April 18, 2014 at 1:14 am #

      go for it valerie .life is too short .and you dont no whats round the corner ..

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      Awesome! Don’t you worry, there are plenty more pictures where these came from!

  4. Kate M April 18, 2014 at 1:13 am #

    NZ, how are you so Perfect??! Seriously, just making the rest of the world look back.
    I adored New Zealand when I was there for a lot of the same reasons you mentioned – the chill atmosphere, the friendliness, the security. I made a serious attempt to go to grad school there, just because it would be such a nice way to have a legit reason to move there, but there just wasn’t a program like I was looking for, so I’m in London instead (sorry London!). That being said, just about everywhere I have lived abroad has had things that are soooo much better than the States (where I’m ‘from’), as well as a handful of things that are so, so much… not better. 😛 I think it’s just the way it goes when you live somewhere for a while. That honeymoon phase wears off sooner and later and the downsides start to surface, but there will always be those things that are the absolute best too. For me, I think the Philippines does humour and chilling with friends perfectly, Congo will always be, hands down, the best place for long (and I mean LONG) conversations, London, the jury’s still out (sorry again, London! You’re great, really!))… but I still would move to NZ in a heartbeat, given the chance. 🙂 I can do without great internet and adore sheep with every fibre of my being.
    Lovely photos, by the way, and what a fun post!
    Cheers, Kate

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Thank you! I hope you get the chance to come back soon 🙂

    • Michael June 2, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

      We actually have better internet than Australia currently.. Dunedin has the best internet in the southern hemisphere… with 1 Gigabytes per second download speeds.

      • Liz June 5, 2015 at 6:08 am #

        yeah that’s very new BTW and I don’t live in Dunedin…

    • Michael June 2, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

  5. EuroTripTips April 18, 2014 at 1:18 am #

    I’ve lived abroad in France and in the UK, and the only things they did better is castles, cheeses and booze. They don’t have nothing on NZ, from what I can see here!

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

      Nope, they don’t! I really love euro history and castles but I don’t even miss them when I am here!

    • Dana Renton February 20, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

      Haha I’m from New Zealand, I’ve been to one Castle before, and no kidding, it was filled with toys, it’s like a toy museum thing, it’s awesome

  6. Sarah Dunn April 18, 2014 at 2:00 am #

    So I officially want to move to New Zealand now… That’s what I’m looking for out of life and they definitely have Anglican churches. How long will you be there? I need to start planning a post-graduation trip!

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

      You would really love it here! I’m here at least til August but hopefully for a few more years, I don’t want to leave!

  7. Anna April 18, 2014 at 2:54 am #

    …Aaaaand that’s why I’m marrying a kiwi. Ok that’s obviously not the only reason but yes, yes and yes to all of those things! Love this post.

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      haha does he have any brothers?

  8. Julie @ A Life Exotic April 18, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    I don’t think you can spend any time in New Zealand without coming away with the opinion that it’s the best place in the world… even moreso if you live there! Once you go Kiwi you never go back 🙂 I think the best town name I came across when I lived there was Rototuna – never failed to crack me up when I saw the signs!

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm #


  9. Trevor Huxham April 18, 2014 at 6:10 am #

    Lovely everyday expat life post, Liz! I loved this look into what NZ is really like 🙂

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      thanks Trevor!

  10. Charli April 18, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    This is such a fab post!! Having been in New Zealand for the last 18 months I can related to every single one of these. The Kiwi people are so friendly and it’s just superb to see so many people with the confidence to hitch hike even in the most rural of locations… and that sheep, well, how awesome is he!!!

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      Shrek the Sheep is my favorite Kiwi RIP

  11. Natalie April 18, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Awesome post. How you got the list down to only 10 I will never know. But they are pretty darn good.

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      Hahah I don’t know either!

  12. Karisa April 18, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    I’m not sure which photo I like the most: the super fuzzy sheep or the shirtless rugby players! ha!

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      Agreed, I can’t chose either 😛

  13. DJ Yabis | Dream Euro Trip April 18, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Awesome. The mention of sheep kinda makes me think me of Murakami’s Wild Sheep Chase and I’m sure New Zealand will be a perfect setting for that. Although the story is set in Japan. 😀

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm #


  14. Amanda April 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    We seriously ARE twins, because I responded to NZ the same way! Living there definitely changed me; it’s a place I can totally imagine living long-term someday. You know, once they work on that Internet…

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      I have high hopes that it will all soon change 🙂

  15. EffyX April 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Hey, I have been in NZ just over 2 months now. I really liked this blog post, and can relate to how you’ve described this lovely country. I am struggling with the prices and the internet issue as well.
    Enjoy your travels!

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      glad to hear I’m not the only one hehe

  16. Jory April 18, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

    Great list! Makes me want to go even more.
    #1 I encountered in Iceland, some places just redefine your level of “Wow”.

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      I agree, Iceland would probably be #2 for me 🙂

  17. Erika April 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    Ah, this post gave me a few really great chuckles… and I feel like I learned some fun stuff, too! Love your style of writing and your point of view. New Zealand already is a place that I wanted to visit, but your posts make me want to go even more. And the sheep is RIDICULOUS. I love that story! Haha!

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      I have a photo of Shrek saved on my phone and I look at it when I need to smile. Works every time!

  18. Steve April 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    You have sold New Zealand as a place to visit. Best start saving my pennies. By the way Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu is the opening line to a song called ‘Lone Ranger’ by Quantum Jump. You be able to find it on iTunes or Spotify.

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

      Woah awesome, I had no idea!

  19. Ani Mendez April 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    ¡Qué maravilla! se ve super interesante. Creo que si me mudo a Nueva Zelanda, definitivamente me convertiría en naturista-vegana-escaladora.
    Qué bueno que leo tu blog.

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

      Me alegro q te guste mi blog 🙂

  20. Rachel April 19, 2014 at 1:10 am #


    I’m officially moving to NZ on July 6. How do you feel about Christchurch as a first home destination?

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

      Christchurch is rough right now but has potential, give a try and see if you like it!

      • Rachel May 1, 2014 at 4:42 am #

        For someone moving to NZ that loves the outdoors, where would you recommend living? I’d love to live in a city with the benefits of the beauty that Christchurch has on the South Island!

        • Liz May 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

          hmm pretty much anywhere on the south island is close to the outdoors, christchurch is a great option, but also Dunedin and NElson too

  21. Rachel April 19, 2014 at 1:11 am #


    I’m officially moving to NZ on July 6. How do you feel about Christchurch as a first home destination?

    I for sure want to move to the South Island – or at least I think 🙂

  22. Andi April 19, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    Can’t wait to visit one day, those landscapes are incredible!

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

      they’re amazing!

  23. Renee April 19, 2014 at 3:15 am #

    This was a fun post! You’ve sold me on NZ, too. The landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful, and to hear that the Kiwi people themselves are so friendly and helpful just makes it all the more alluring. I hope that never changes. Love Shrek the Sheep’s independent spirit, and that is quite the name for a town. Almost as long as the island itself. Gotta love that!

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

      You gotta visit!

  24. Sam April 19, 2014 at 5:45 am #

    So. Much. Fun! I’ve always had a great amount of respect for New Zealand for being the first country to give women the right to vote; usually that shit happens in Europe first! I’ve seen the honour system for fruits and vegetables by the side of the road in rural parts of the UK and Austria…but never where you can pay by card, so that gave me a chuckle!

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

      It’s like the epitome of kiwi trust hehe

  25. Sarah April 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    Being a kiwi, I am always filled with pride when I hear that travellers come to our shores and love it like you do. I would say one thing tho (not to be picky) but it’s Sir Edmund Hillary .. the man is a true blue legend and is on our $5 note so really does deserve his proper title 🙂

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

      From what I’ve read about him, I feel like he wouldn’t mind haha. In fact most of the locals around here call him “Ed” Hillary!

  26. Ants April 19, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    I know it was a tongue in cheek dig at Auckland, but its a brilliant place and should be fully experienced before making a conclusion on it.

    I lived for my first 30 years in Wellington and had the same attitude, but then moved up here a couple of years ago and discovered its an incredible place, especially if you love exploring/scenery.

    Its also such a big place that you can just get in the car and drive and be out in the middle of nowhere discovering an amazing cafe/vineyard/restaurant hidden in the hills or farmland somewhere that you swear no-one else must know about.

    Also, the climate is brilliant compared to the rest of NZ (apart from Northland) – its like you’re in a different country – no wind, no cold and long summers that last for months and months, not weeks. It has slightly less rainfall than Wellington but, gets it in big dumps that clear up quickly as opposed to Wellington’s miserable drizzly days that can last for weeks.

    Favorite places of mine to visit are the beautiful Clevedon Valley and its oyster farm and farmers markets/agriculture shows, Waiheke Island and its incredible beaches, vineyards and restaurants, the beaches and little beach-towns of the North Shore, the Matakana district and its stunningly beautiful countryside/town/vineyards/coastline, One Tree Hill/Cornwall park in central Auckland or one of the many regional parks dotted around the place like Hunua Falls. Theres also 55 different active volcanoes in Auckland, a lot of them being ones you can walk up, which is cool if you like that sort of thing.

    There are quite a few grimy suburbs in Auckland which aren’t that nice to be in, but the bad rap it gets from the rest of the country, you find, is usually people who have never actually experienced what Auckland has to offer.

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      Great tips about Auckland, I was just being cheeky haha.

    • Dana Renton February 20, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

      I’m sure Aucklands a great place, but I guess it gets most of the bad rap since it’s so big and crowded, and that’s why most New Zealanders wouldn’t like it, as they’d be used to being in a small place were you know everyone. I have to say the main reason I’ve never liked Auckland is because I really don’t like crowds, and prefer smaller places, as I’m used to Hamilton, were it take like 30 minutes to get from one side to the other.

  27. Jen Seligmann April 19, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    New Zealand really does have it right in so many ways. From the short time I have spent there I realised this too. I’ve lost count of the amount of cities I have visited and thought, “if only we had public transport this good in Sydney”. Other than that I feel pretty lucky to live where I live!

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

      Yeah I don’t know if NZ has good public transport, I can’t imagine living here without a car!

  28. Bren April 19, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    It’s always nice to see your country through the eyes of a foreigner. Growing up in NZ it seems there’s so much I’ve taken for granted – normally once I get home I can’t wait to leave again! Sometimes we just need someone to remind us how lucky we are 🙂

    • Liz April 19, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

      I feel the same way about the states sometimes 🙂

  29. Bren April 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    I love your take on the German hitchhiker story, even I agree that’s been blown totally out of proportion, it’s been all over the news for days now! But, quite some years ago a girl got a bunny rabbit for her birthday and it ran away, which, believe it or not, was FRONT PAGE NEWS! And she was even on the news again when they found it. We really don’t have too much important stuff going on down here 😀

  30. Andy April 20, 2014 at 2:24 am #

    I’m sold, but then I take a quick look at the housing prices in Auckland, and then I’m scared off. Is it true the cost of housing in Auckland is as high or higher than cities like San Francisco and NYC? And aren’t the salaries in NZ lower? Are housing costs any better in other towns such as Wellington, Hamilton, or Dunedin?

    • Liz April 20, 2014 at 10:20 am #

      the cost of living is definitely high here, especially in Auckland but the salaries are also higher. Minimum wage is around $14/hr. housing is still expensive in Wellington but outside those two cities it starts to drop considerably

    • Squiddy September 6, 2015 at 3:24 am #

      Yes, house prices here in Auckland are high and prices of things are expensive because of the small population and the 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST). However, doctor visits and prescriptions are subsidised and other medical services like blood tests, hospital medical treatment, surgery and things like diabetes eye photography are free. I also get 4 weeks of paid annual leave as well as 11 paid public holidays. Since I get paid an hourly rate, if I work on a public holiday I get paid time and a half as well as getting a day’s leave in lieu. I’m allowed to cash in 1 week of holiday leave a year if I want to. My annual leave also gets accrued and if I leave my job with some unused annual leave, I get it paid out to me. I’m entitled to 5 days of paid sick leave a year and I can use this sick leave not only for me but also if family or someone who depends on me to look after them gets sick. I’m entitled to up to 3 days paid bereavement leave a year. New Zealand also has a comprehensive social welfare system including the unemployment benefit. If you live and work here I think these things help to mitigate the high cost of goods.

      Unlike in North America, GST is included in the price of all retail items so you don’t have to calculate it in your head to work out the total amount you have to pay when you get to the till. Finally, tipping is not compulsory or expected so you don’t have to fork out extra to tip your server or barman or hairdresser or taxi driver.

  31. Mark April 20, 2014 at 3:35 am #

    As a Kiwi, I’m glad you think my country is “pants-shitingly beautiful”. I was surprised how well we did in that social progression study. I never really thought of NZ as being that progressive.

    I never really thought of brunch as being a big deal until I stumbled onto this blog. Do you guys seriously not do this in America?

    • Liz April 20, 2014 at 10:21 am #

      We do brunch and great breakfasts but it’s not as great as NZ! A lot of it is more heavy diner kind of food, and not fancy or creative 🙂 such a great cafe culture here!

  32. Ani Mendez April 20, 2014 at 4:14 am #

    Any instagrammers from new zealand? i want to follow 🙂

    I’m animendez

    • Liz April 20, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      yeah they’re are some good ones. look through who I follow on Instagram

  33. Claire April 20, 2014 at 5:34 am #

    I don’t know how any country can be described as ‘random’.

    • Liz April 20, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      hmmm sounds like you haven’t read my blog much

  34. Sarah April 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    I used to diss Auckland too – until I lived in the UK for a couple of years. I couldn’t wait to come back home and now I bloody love the place. You can’t beat that harbour – I mean just look at it!

    • Liz April 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

      haha agreed 🙂 I’d take Auckland over most US cities any day too 🙂

  35. brizza April 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    is there any english people living in the uk now sarah .it used to be a lovely country .now full of sxxt .i hope i can make it in nz .i wouldnt want to come back here uk . any its all a gamble we live ..but just bein round posative nice people can make all the differents lol

    • Liz April 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

      woah spelling 😛

  36. Hannah April 21, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Its obvious there’s just something about New Zealand that stays with you as a visitor. I can’t seem to get the idea of moving there out of my mind, now two years later – definitely calculating how long I have left to be eligible for the working holiday scheme!

    • Liz April 21, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

      Do it do it do it 😀

  37. Syd April 22, 2014 at 2:36 am #

    All so true. Also, excellent public restrooms and dog food that comes in humongous plastic tubes. The latter might not be better, but it entertains me to no end.

    • Liz April 23, 2014 at 5:13 pm #


  38. Simon April 22, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    Aw, I’m feeling pretty chuffed about my country after reading this! Thanks for all the kind words. I totally agree about the internet – it’s about as slow and unreliable as in SE Asia – and I’m hopeful that the horror story about the recent hitch-hiking stabbing won’t put too many people off coming here. As another commenter pointed out, you’re a bit harsh on poor old Auckland 😉 Most people outside of NZ’s biggest city don’t like it much either, but after spending time in major cities abroad I think it’s uniquely Kiwi (and that makes it cool).

  39. Sharon April 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    Nice blog – lovely photos too. I’m glad you’re enjoying NZ and your post reminds me of some of the things I miss (I am a kiwi living in London). I’d still recommend you don’t leave your house and car unlocked though. It’s a lovely place and crime rates are much lower than many parts of the world – but they do exist.

    • Liz April 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

      yeah I haven’t gone native enough to be that trusting haha

  40. Beth April 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    I am so glad you love NZ – I am a Kiwi 🙂 Funnily enough I am trying to leave to get to Europe, because Europe seems so much more exciting 😛 But NZ is very pretty so I am glad people appreciate it. I am also glad you think we are friendly, I always make an effort to be friendly to people and to smile at people. I live in Auckland at the moment, but am from Christchurch – Auckland has its charms and its own beauty 🙂

    • Liz April 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

      you’ll be back! I have met so many kiwis who go overseas for years but always end up coming home eventually 🙂 you guys have it made here!

      • Beth April 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

        You’re right, I totally do intend to come back, after I have seen the world! I love the small population in NZ, it’s so isolated and pretty.

  41. Kara Segedin April 23, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Man, Auckland is the best 😛 Beaches, bush, vineyards, mountains, plus city. Trouble is most visitors don’t stray too far from Queen St.
    Miss my home town

    • Liz April 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

      I can’t wait to explore more up there – my comment was supposed to be tongue in cheek 😀

  42. Ashley April 23, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    Fantastic article! I´m a kiwi currently living in Madrid, but I´ll head back home in September and this has certainly made me look forward to it more. I miss how chilled NZ is, no metro, no worries. And I can´t wait to get back my real kiwi accent instead of the Spanglo-American one I have now. The one thing I´m not really looking forward to is returning to NZ drinking culture. We could definitely learn from Spain´s laid back, one caña at a time style of drinking.

    • Liz April 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

      awesome! You have to keep in touch when you’re back on this side of teh world and we can grab a caña and reminisce about spain!

  43. Amanda Kendle April 23, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    Brilliant list – I’m sure it’s all true even though I haven’t been to New Zealand yet – next trip! I’d like to think that over here in Australia the list is pretty similar. Except that we do have the dangerous animals, unfortunately. We also have awful internet so I will have to do an internet horribleness comparison when I am there.

    • Liz April 25, 2014 at 9:13 am #

      I love that there’s basically nothing in NZ that can kill you

  44. BSails April 23, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    God I knew I shouldn’t read your blog… now, “home sick” again :o)

    Internet??? The GREAT thing about the lack of Wi-Fi is that people don’t spend most of their time hooked up to their phones, etc.. but talk to each other. Actually, the lack of internet connection and (in some places) the lack of mobile coverage (when visiting NZ) forces you to disconnect from your everyday life and help REALLY enjoy the beauty of NZ. So… all in all… not a bad thing (if you don’t live there at least).

    Ok… now I’ve to go back to work… and book my flights for my next trip down under (damn, December seems so far away) :o)))

    • Liz April 25, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      Yeah disconnecting is great but for people like me who work remotely and online, it’s very challenging. I need decent internet to work.

  45. Katie - The World on my Necklace April 24, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    I love this article although it has made me homesick! The longer I am away from NZ, the more I realise how sweet it really is to be a Kiwi and have been brought up in such a unique and beautiful place. The problem for me is where to live when I do go back – I could happily live in a small city/town but might have to stick close to the bigger cities for my boyfriend’s career. Waiheke Island is looking like a pretty good option. Sydney is an awesome place to live for now though. I just discovered your blog and looking forward to reading more 🙂

    • Liz April 25, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      Thanks! I love how kiwis travel a lot then always come back home, its such a great country, I hope I can settle here long term too!

  46. Ellen April 25, 2014 at 12:13 am #

    I think New Zealand’s wine should be on this list! I didn’t drink wine before I came here, but the wine here is amazing! They also have some really cute wineries 🙂 Agreed about the brunch culture….I think my body took a hit since I’ve been here! You’re right, Auckland is not the best…but I’m trying to get around to see the rest of NZ before my year is up!

    • Liz April 25, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      hmm I guess I’m biased because I grew up with Spanish wine and that’s my absolute fave, though NZ does have some great wines too 🙂

  47. Kathy April 25, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    This is why I love NZ too! Growing up, I spent two years in New Zealand due to my dad’s then-job posting, and have wanted to go back ever since. I even distinctly remember walking past flocks of sheep every day on the way to school.

    Almost ten years later, I serendipitously met a wonderful Kiwi guy and hope to move back there for grad school next year. Fingers crossed!

    • Liz April 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      awesome! It’s fate! You have to come back 🙂

  48. Corin April 27, 2014 at 3:27 am #

    Hi, love your blog. As a kiwi traveling around Spain with my hubby and 10 yr old son on a year of adventure I couldn’t agree more with the reasons why New Zealand is great. It’s a great place to grow up in and to grow old in. Air travel is so competitive now that we can get just about anywhere in the world, have an amazing time and go back to our real life and save up to do it again.

    • Liz April 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

      What a life! Sounds like we have switched places, couldn’t agree more!

  49. Annemarie May 1, 2014 at 4:33 am #

    Just came across your website and loved this post! I know right… worst internet ever! We traveled to NZ early last year and we thought we’d flown back in time to about 1996 or something. But then again, just like you, we fell in love with NZ and we’re currently planning another trip to NZ, yay! For us, the DOC would also make our top 10 list of things that are better in New Zealand; the walking tracks are in great condition, as are the huts and campsites.

    • Liz May 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      Yeah they are great aren’t they? I was always pissed how expensive the huts are but they are in great condition!

  50. Shennae May 2, 2014 at 4:40 am #

    Bahaha great post! I love hearing about NZ and our culture from a non-kiwi perspective – it makes it so much funnier! Also, Shrek – he was in the news for flippin’ weeks. Classic NZ!

  51. Heather May 4, 2014 at 5:12 am #

    I am so kicking myself right now for not going to NZ when we were living in Shanghai! I knew the country was beautiful, but I somehow had no idea it was such an awesome place! Sheep, hot guys and brunch – what more could anyone want?! 🙂

  52. Allysa May 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

    I’m 16 and I want to live there. Reading your blogs about New Zealand gives me a clear mindset that NZ is the place to be. I will study hard so I can live there, closest place to heaven :-)))

    • Liz May 7, 2014 at 9:36 am #

      NZ is heaven on earth

  53. Linda May 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    I move to the west coast of the South Island Friday week! I’m an Aussie doing the move, slightly petrified and excited all at once

    • Liz May 7, 2014 at 9:37 am #

      awesome, the west coast is stunning! You’re going to love it here, good luck!

  54. Andrea MacEachern May 12, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    New Zealand is at the top of my bucket list and one of these days I will go there! Thank you for some wonderful insights into the country and its people…very interesting indeed!

  55. George May 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I am a New Zealander and dont even know how I stumbled upon this blog but good stuff, well written and glad to see you’ve enjoyed it. Its really easy to take it for granted being born here you cant imagine life any other way, about to leave to travel the other corners of the world a little bit more nervous that these things arent universal now haha.


  56. Kristi Glasgall May 13, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    thank you for this! i’ve been hunting for expat websites for a little while, and this is the best post i’ve run across. i read it to my husband and he was cracking up (we both are 13 year old boys at heart). we live in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere Washington, so i’m excited to make the move soon!

  57. Lucia May 14, 2014 at 5:07 am #

    oh girl, you have to road trip around the American West!!! I promise the landscapes are JUST as breathtaking and it will change your perspective on the U.S. for the better. As much as I adore all of the New Zealand posts, as a loyal reader I would love to see you write about more domestic travel (next time you’re back stateside of course) and hear your thoughts on good ole ‘Merica. For now, enjoy the Southern Hemisphere, though! Love your blog with a passion. xx

  58. Mika May 14, 2014 at 6:07 am #

    I’m on my way Liz :). Super excited. And thanks for the All Blacks video…it’s something addtional to look forward to 😉

  59. amelie88 May 14, 2014 at 7:14 am #

    Bahaha the picture of that sheep! How does a sheep go loose for 6 years evading capture when it looks like that? Wouldn’t it stumble on its own wool?

    Great list! Though I think NYC’s coffee and brunch scene could probably rival NZ. It’s taken very seriously here too. 🙂

  60. Alisha May 19, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

    I’m a born and bred Kiwi who’s spent my whole life living in Auckland, and part of growing up in such a small country is the feeling that everythings so much bigger and better elsewhere. I just want to say thank you for reminding me that I am blessed to live in such a wonderful place 🙂

  61. Dejan C. May 20, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Facinating…I like that Inferno crater.. : )) reminds me of one of my trip. Thank you for good insights. Definitely worth to see, and on my list.

  62. Abbi May 20, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    Great post Liz! I’ve been living in New Zealand for the past 2.5 years, and completely agree with most of your points. New Zealand is the most scenic and relaxed countries I’ve lived in. I am now a bit worried about never being Wowed again, when I’m in other countries.

  63. Michael May 27, 2014 at 7:48 am #

    I’m 17 & I’m probably going to be moving to NZ next year for university! So excited. I’m a dual citizen of the US/NZ and often visit NZ, and it’s honestly my favorite country in the world. You’re so right about the natural beauty thing – after coming home from NZ last summer, the Jersey shore has lost a bit of its luster for me.. lol.

    Also, the lifestyle – I spent six weeks there last year, and I just began to feel like a new person. I felt so much more laid back, and cared more about life rather than material things. Idk, I’m just so excited to return next year!

    Are you still considering NZ as a permanent home?

  64. Cat June 3, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Awesme blog! Makes me super excited to come home again.mtheres no place like NZ it really is the best =)

    • Liz June 5, 2014 at 9:33 am #

      NZ is the best!

      • brizza June 5, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

        another 12 week and my visa should be sorted .hope id never have to come back to the uk again

  65. wesley June 9, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    I love the pictures

  66. Rahul June 20, 2014 at 12:38 am #

    I must ask, in what parallel universe did NZ leave you with the impressions you’ve described here? I heard a lot of good things about New Zealand too. I saw many a picture of Milford Sound and heard plenty of pleasant stories about the friendly locals and so thought it would be an ideal place for my family and I to begin a new life. After living here for 16 years, I think I’m more than qualified to tell you how utterly wrong and misinformed I was. Allow me to start with this: you are right that there are some very beautiful places in this country but, like you mentioned, none of those places are in Auckland, which is the only place in NZ an Indian immigrant could conceivably go. So all I ever saw was traffic, rowdy teenagers and lots of public intoxication. Next, I have never come across any local who is even half as friendly as you’ve described. “helped me break into my car after I locked the keys inside”? I have had my car broken into at least twice a year in the first 6 years that I lived here. Not to help me because I’d locked myself out (I’m not nearly idiotic enough to land myself in such a predicament), but to steal “valuables” like a road map, a jumper and a torque wrench. That’s how petty some of these scumbags are. Even more alarming in what is constantly portrayed as a multicultural society is the rampant racism. Very early on in my move here, I went to a small coffee shop across the street from my apartment and I was refused service on the grounds that “the coffee machine is broken”. Obviously, I thought nothing of it until the kiwi bloke who was behind me ordered exactly the same thing I did and was served without question. When I pointed this out to the person behind the counter, he told me to ”take my stupid accent somewhere else” and to “fuck off back to the shithole I came from”. At that point, I wanted to break his fucking neck and gouge his eyes out with a rusty penknife but I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort and instead mentioned that a dig at one’s accent is rather amusing coming from someone whose own efforts at speaking sound less intelligible than a turkey on an acid trip. I was understandably delighted when less than 6 months after my little incident there, the shop was targeted by arsonists who may or may not have had a similar vendetta against them. The coffee shop incident, however, was just the start. I am a qualified Mechanical Engineer with a Master’s Degree from one of India’s most prestigious universities. That didn’t mean a single fucking thing here, and I was told at more than one job interview, that I was not an ideal candidate simply because my qualifications weren’t from NZ. I applied for anything and everything and finally, after 2 years, secured a minimum-wage job as a fast-food worker, where I was being ordered around by someone who had barely finished high school and was even more unintelligible than the aforementioned guy at the coffee shop. The next item of discussion- safety. Once again, I don’t know where in NZ you’re living but at no point in the last 16 years has it ever been completely safe to walk alone after 6pm. Even in the summer. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have tried to mug me, only to be thwarted because I’m not the skinny, weak Indian guy they were expecting. A lot of people, however, aren’t capable of defending themselves against their sub-human attackers and so get pulverised. I could go on endlessly about other things like a useless (and unarmed) police force, a complete lack of respect for authority (those Maori and Islander guys on Police Ten 7 telling the cops to fuck off aren’t too far removed from reality), a hopelessly incompetent government, a Prime Minister who’s a fucking clown, atrociously high cost of living, the binge-drinking culture, domestic violence, ruinously expensive housing (in Auckland, anyway), dole bludgers (read ‘people that are physically capable of working but choose instead to live off the hard-earned money of taxpayers because they’re too fucking lazy to get off their asses, put down the booze and go out and earn a living’) and a blatant refusal to accept the country’s problems. To anyone else planning on moving to NZ, don’t. Not unless you’ve got white skin and a ‘normal’ accent, that is.

    • Betty July 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

      Have had so many cars stolen I’ve given up driving.

      Aggressive drunks will beat you to a pulp if you look the wrong way.

      Innocent tourists attacked a LOT.

      Agree with Indian dude and I am a damn native.

    • sam July 7, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      Get your own blog Betty and Rahul, ranting like this spoiling the positivity in the air is disgusting.

      Last time i checked car theft and aggressive drunks was a universal problem.

      NZ is a slice of paradise don’t be put off people. Life changing destination

      Brilliant article.

      Traveler sam

    • Ants July 16, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

      I call “absolute rubbish” on your story about the coffee shop Rahul.

      If you had a point to get across, you would’ve been better served just stating it, rather than making up a story to try and make it sound better.

      I’ve lived here for 35 years (all my life), and I’ve never been mugged. In fact I live in South Auckland, where the climate is warm 9 months of the year, and theres loads of open farmland a few minutes drive from my house in 3 directions, filled with vineyards, cute little restaurants and cafes, and beautiful scenery.

      It sounds like most of your problems are your attitude. You don’t like the prime minister? He is the most popular PM the country has ever had in its history. Unarmed police? Why do you need police to have guns when there is no gun crime in the country?

      The only valid point you make is that often foreign degrees are not recognised by employers. The only defense I have to that is that I’m an employer myself, and have hired Chinese and Eastern European staff in the last few years over Kiwi’s. I can’t speak for other NZ employers though.

  67. Dallas July 2, 2014 at 5:25 am #

    I’ve recently decided that I’d like visit (and potentially move) to New Zealand. I’m 21 years old and life in the US has gotten monotonous and boring. I stumbled upon your blog when I was doing some research and it makes me happy to see that New Zealand is all that everyone says it is and more. I can’t wait until I’m finally able to start my move there.

  68. Penelope July 8, 2014 at 4:41 am #

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks so much for your blog! I am a kiwi and have been living away from home for just over 9 years. I am moving back home at the end of this year with my husband, who is English. We are excited and scared, in equal portions!

    I will show him your blog tonight, as I think he will find it really helpful!

    Reading this made me so home sick, and reminded me again and again how great it is to be a Kiwi. I am so pleased you enjoyed my country!

    Penelope XXX

  69. Emily August 1, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    I’ve lived in New Zealand all my life, and it’s so exciting to see someone who loves our country as much as I do! This article really blew my mind because I didn’t even realise most of this stuff wasn’t normal in the rest of the world!

  70. Ali Colak August 8, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    What exactly are turkish eggs?
    I’m from Turkey and we have a number of egg dishes, but this is the first time I’d read a reference to turkish eggs in English.

    Love your blog, by the way. I’m a new reader.

  71. Xanne October 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    I’m writing this in Olive, thanks to your recommendations! Great coffee and breakfast (weekday)!

    I’ve only been in New Zealand for a week and definitely looking forward to my intended 3-4 months’ stay after reading what lovely (and genuine) things you have to say about it!

  72. Neel October 14, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    I don’t agree with leaving houses unlocked. There is a huge theft problem here in Auckland especially robbery due to the pacific islanders.

  73. rebekah November 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    Thanks for making me feel so grateful for my country. We may be little (with shite Internet) but dag nam it, we are sweet as!

  74. james November 14, 2014 at 12:57 am #

    This blog is making me severely homesick, luckily im planning a move back home next year because sydney stresses me out… its interesting reading all this positive stuff because I moved to oz basically as an economic refugee like a whole bunch of my fellow 20 somethings from wellington did. NZ is hard work without a job, and if you couldn’t get the dole i don’t know what you’d do. wouldn’t leave my keys in the car with the door unlocked in 90% of nz, thats asking for trouble.
    but hell yeah im looking forward to going home and thank you for this wonderful blog 🙂

  75. Naresh February 14, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    Totally agree on being hardcore.

  76. IH March 18, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

    It’s great to be a Kiwi. It’s not until you spend time out of the country that your realise how good we have it. I was in the South Island over Xmas and saw several honesty boxes on the roadside. It’s so good to see these still exist. Great pictures too!

  77. Kiwi-Em March 23, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    I Just wanted to say it is so lovely reading this as a Kiwi myself. I stumbled upon your blog trying to do some research on moving from NZ to the states, now im not so sure i should keep researching it as it sounds like id be leaving the best place in the world. I hope if you are still in our beautiful country that you are still enjoying yourself. Be sure to check out the little towns i call home if you haven’t all ready. Woodville, Eketahuna (where you can get your picture taken in front of a giant Kiwi) Masterton and Greytown these towns aren’t known for a lot but are definitely sweet little places full of beauty.

    All the best

    • Kiwimidge March 28, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

      I agree Kiwi-Em, I am looking at moving across the ditch for a better lifestyle but after reading this post it just goes to show how we as kiwi’s take this country for granted, For sure people visiting “GodsOwn” should get off the beaten Tourist track and visit the small towns/villages that make New Zealand, New Zealand. Thats where you meet the true down to earth kiwi’s. I hope that Liz the author of this post has or will take the opportunity to meet the real locals. Wairarapa is one of those places….my home
      Just reinforce what IH said above It’s great to be a Kiwi. It’s not until you spend time out of the country that your realise how good we have it.

      Have fun in NZ Liz

  78. Linda August 1, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

    I love that you love New Zealand! We often get in trouble for talking it up too much (the style of: if you love it so much, why did you leave?) but it really is so awesome. However, after reading this post again I really really want some eggs benedict. Yum.

  79. Matt Morelli December 22, 2015 at 12:32 am #

    Looks like 2016 will be the year I return to New Zealand. What a terrific list. Don’t let my mate in Auckland see this though. This ‘Pom’ won’t hear the last of it.

  80. Loren November 26, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    Yes New Zealand would be an awesome adventure! xo Loren

  81. Andrenel Reyes December 10, 2016 at 6:41 am #

    I’m from the Philippines and I’m going to study in New Zealand on March 2017! Hopefully I would get a job after my graduation and start my career there too! New Zealand is the country fit for me due to my being outdoor and adventure type of person! HAHA hope to see all those natural beauty and experience the friendliness of Kiwis!


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