An Illustrated Journey: New Zealand's wanders

As you might have reckon, New Zealand is not an ordinary country for me -it's the one. The one that changed everything. I drove around for a six months journey, alone with my car, camera & notebooks, exploring new wanders every single day.

Some of these discoveries appeared as "the" things that make New Zealand so special. A wonderland. Unexpected encounters, great landscapes, national parks, incredible cities... 

If you plan to visit this wonderful country -and you should- check out the 10 things that will make you trip worth it. One day, I will live in New Zealand, and these following things will be part of my daily life. Yes it will.

The incredible wildlife in the Catlins (& everywhere else)


I was desperately on the lookout for any sign of life on the roads of New Zealand. Then once in the South Island, I went in the Catlins. There's no one there -except a few passionate surfers. Natural landscapes are enthralling and the wildlife extraordinary. I remember watching the dolphins playing in the waves while sipping my morning tea... Waking up with the sun to see a colony of penguins. Swimming with baby seals. 

A land of volcanoes, caldeiras & stunning national parks


The very first time I walked on a caldeira, I felt like I was on the Moon. I didn't even know such a nature beauty does exist on Earth. From Rotorua Volcanic Valley to Rantepao, Mt Tongariro (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Mt Taranaki, I discovered a new thrill - climbing volcanoes. A passion that later brought me to many other fantastic places, in Indonesia. White Island, on New Zealand North Island, is next on the list!

The city that has it all


Auckland is a beautiful harbour city with a thriving café culture, beautiful parks, upscale villages with galleries and craft shops, all that with green volcanoes on the background. Mountains, beaches, farm lands, several islands, suburbs and the city - every thing you want / need is in Auckland!

The numerous lakes & glorious Tekapo


New Zealand is a land of raw beauty and natural glory. Both North and South Island will amaze you with its varied landscapes - in a day, you will feel like you've crossed three different countries, going from seaside to glimmering lakes in a few miles. Each lakes offer their own identity, with awe-inspiring views and great hiking opportunities around. Extremely picturesque, they are usually so clear that they reflect the scenery around them, giving a double dose of splendor.

The scenic roads all around the country


The best way to see New Zealand is on a road trip. You can take your time, enjoy the views, and stop off wherever you like to breathe it all in -that means every hundred meters! The roads are insanely beautiful -a new wonder awaits you in every corner. The Coromandel is a particularly gorgeous area for driving, going through deep forest, to jagged cliffs falling into the sea.

The undimmed passion for outdoor adventures


When we'll live in New Zealand with my husband (I told you we will!), we'll have a boat. And a trampoline. A quad. A canoe. A couple of surfboards. And a 4x4. Because this is how it is here! Kiwis are all about the outdoors and - basically : about HAPPINESS. We're faaar from the money-money culture of Hong Kong. In only six months, I've driven a quad on Bay of Islands' hills, got some adrenaline paragliding over Queenstown, went sea kayaking and canoeing on a lake, fishing on the sea, I've started my days with some surf sessions... I'm telling you -it's a whole different lifestyle in New Zealand.

The unexpected encounters on the road


I have to say, I'm not very used to it, in France. Driving along the coast, and see two seals fighting on the roadside... - Not in Provence, no. If you're looking for some action, do not miss Kaikoura, you will surely have great surprises down there!

Have you traveled around New Zealand yet? How do you feel about this country? What made your journey so special? Tell me everything about it!