Posted by: Liz | January 2, 2009

Top 10 events from NZ (so far)

2008 = the year of living, working and playing in two hemispheres. Never in my wildest dreams (pre-2008) did I picture myself experiencing life in a new country – what an amazing year.

Matt and I have covered a lot of ground in New Zealand, however, there is still much to see and do. That being said, I thought I’d take a deep breath and recount my top ten favorite New Zealand experiences (so far).

10. Touring Wellington, cosmopolitan style – I’ve never been happier drinking flat whites on lazy weekend mornings before joining the hustle & bustle of NZ’s capital city. Ahhh, Welly!

working hard as crew on NZL 14

working hard as crew on NZL 14

9. Sailing on board NZL 14, the 1992 America’s Cup race boat – I’ve now graduated from a Butterfly Scow to the big leagues. There are only 6 America’s Cup boats commercially sailing in the world and I feel honored to have skippered (for a brief 3 minutes) one of them.

8. Penguin viewing at Nugget Point, the Catlins – John and I were fortunate to view from afar a yellow-eyed penguin hobbling from his nest to then “penguin” dive into the sea (no Zoo required for this natural phenomenon).

7. Snowboarding at the Remarkables – There’s nothing better than watching the snow flakes fall one day, then rising the next for 20 cm of fresh pow-pow. Hitting the slopes in August and September was quite unique.

6. Jet boating through Skipper’s Canyon on the Shotover River – From wind to rain to sunshine, I’ve seen it all in Skipper’s Canyon. The off-road drive in on the old gold mining track is even more frightening than the “Hamilton spins” on the jet boat, but that’s another story.

Abel Tasman in August

Abel Tasman in August

5. Hiking the Abel Tasman Coastal Track – I loved the contrast of sandy beaches, deep rainforest-like trees and bright starry winter nights. This was one of the finest maintained tracks I’ve ever seen (very posh as my English flat mate would say).

4. Hiking the Routeburn Track – Two out of three days rain aside, I will forever look back on the Routeburn and be very glad that I conquered the track. I’m definitely craving more “Great Walks.”

3. Surfing: Raglan in July / Porpoise Bay, Catlins in November – I think I’ve got it! I can finally stand up on a wave. Maybe next time I’ll progress from a large foam board to a sleek fiberglass one

Up high with Lake Wakatipu behind me

Up high at the Boneyard with the lake at my back

2. Rock climbing / swimming at the Boneyard – Thanks to John & Matt I now have a new favorite hobby. It will be hard to top climbing over Lake Wakatipu with the surrounding mountains in the background when I pick the sport up back in the states

1. Boat cruise through Doubtful Sound – This will always remain my favorite experience because it was my first real trip into the outdoors and natural beauty of New Zealand. Milford Sound is fabulous too but Doubtful Sound is the place for ultimate serenity.

What will 2009 bring? I’ll keep you posted. Cheers for reading and responding to our blog – we’ve loved sharing our OE with you so far.


  1. WOW! What an adventure?! To think one year ago we were all living in Indianapolis. 2008 was such an amazing year.

  2. Great recap, Liz!
    Thanks for all of the great stories and pics…but I think I’d have to move your #9 up a few notches! Remember….BE CAREFUL!!


  3. Great post! The recap is a great, and essential, part of any travel experience – and one most people forget to do! Thanks for sharing the experience with us through this blog!!!

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