After being in Melbourne, Australia for more than one week, we headed to Auckland, New Zealand in order to catch a cruise which we had booked while on our Far East Asia cruise. 🙂
We stayed in Auckland for one night, then hopped on the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship for 16 nights with stops throughout New Zealand (Tauranga, Napier, Picton and Wellington), as well as Australia ports including Sydney, Tasmania, Adelaide and Perth.
Ultimately, we wanted to get to Perth while being able to see (at a high level) different cities in NZ and Australia.
Our First Impressions of New Zealand
Auckland is NZ’s largest city by population and landmass, although not the capital of New Zealand. With this info in mind, we were expecting a big city feel. However, to our surprise, it actually felt like a small town; similar to the places we visited in NZ.
Bringing Things Into New Zealand
Similar to Australia, we found NZ to be very stringent about sustainable living and protecting their ecosystem. When entering the country, you must declare all foods or plants that you may be bringing into the country. There are serious fines if you are caught not declaring these. We had protein bars and chocolates, so we declared it on the form. They asked us a few questions about the products we had and asked if there was anything else. Upon answering their questions, we were on our way.
Dressing Up in New Zealand
In the downtown work district, you won’t see a lot of men wearing suits and similarly, women are not dressed up. Men were seen mainly in dress shirts and pants. In summary, the dress code was more business casual.
Aka hang loose and this is exactly the vibe in New Zealand. It has a very relaxed atmosphere. No one is rushing to get somewhere. In fact, most places close early at around 6-7 pm. And most people are off work by 4 pm.
In line with “shaka brah” and being home to some amazing waves, New Zealanders can also be seen walking the streets barefoot. Clothing is required, but shoes are optional. 😀
It brought a smile to our faces to see that happy hour is a thing there. Unlike some places in North America, it does not end when the majority of people get off work. We saw happy hour start as early as 2:30 – 3 pm.
If you don’t know what this is, it’s honey produced from the nectar of the mānuka tree. It is said to have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidants benefits; used for wound healing, soothing sore throats, preventing tooth decay and improving digestive issues. Manuka honey can be purchased everywhere you go in NZ. Moreover, they are available in Toronto, Canada (home) and we actually thought the prices were higher in NZ than in Canada. Hmmmm….maybe they’re marked up in the tourist shops???
New Zealand is mountainous, along with clear, turquoise waters. We went on several hikes along the coast line. They had a variety of routes ranging from an easy incline to a steep climb. It was such an amazing experience, since we saw the lush greenery and suddenly we were looking over a cliff seeing the crashing of the waves.
NZ produces some of the worlds most popular and award winning Sauvignon Blancs (ie. Malbourough, Cloudy Bay). Four of the major wine-producing areas in the country are Otago, Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and the Auckland regions. There are some breathtaking views from some of these vineyards. If you don’t get a chance to visit, be sure to taste some of New Zealand’s wine at the restaurants or pickup a few bottles at the grocery store.
All in all, we really enjoyed our time in New Zealand. If you’re looking for a place for lots of outdoor activities, great mountainous scenery and a relaxing vibe, this is your place.