7 Amazing Places for You to Discover in New Zealand
Despite the lack of diversity in this country, there are some amazing sights and experiences that cannot be missed out on.
What many people don't know is that New Zealand is surprisingly undiversified. There are very few people of color who live there, excluding the native Maoris. Though people come from all over the world, locals still have a skewed idea of what African American means. Women of color have talked about interesting experiences they've had while in New Zealand.
For example, Jacque Elias on YouTube has a very eye opening video on how the term "black" is perceived in New Zealand. Here in the States we see it as strictly African American. But there, a range of skin tones are all considered to be black due to the large number of Pacific Islanders. She often gets questioned about her background, though it's not a negative experience she says, but their idea of black culture in America relies heavily on stereotypes seen on TV.
But there are stories like how children have to control their kinky hair in school and things get questionable. Just earlier this year principals in Auckland said that they would consider going over their hair policies in elementary schools.
The reality is that even though there are tons of very kind people in New Zealand, they just don't see very many African Americans, and even less African American women, and aren't sure how to react or what it means. Which is exactly why we need you to go! The best way to address stereotypes and change these predispositions is to expose more people to the spectrum of beautiful colors that exist on women.
And to entice you to buy a ticket to New Zealand and take on this mission, we've listed 7 incredible experiences you can't find anywhere else in the world.
1. Fiordland National Park
If backpacking is more your style, then this is something you can't afford to miss. The park houses some of New Zealand's best landscapes, complete with deep blue fiords. There is a multi day hike that usually lasts 3-4 days.
If that's not your style, then book a cruise on these pristine waters. It's a bit of a trip to get to Doubtful Sound, but it's worth it. You can stay the night, and rent a kayak in the morning to explore at your own pace.
If that's not enough, you can see the park by air! Travel in style and take a scenic flight to get an eagle's view of the entire landscape. From the sky you can see every mountain, river, and glacier all in one day.
2. Piha Beach
Right now is the time to experience New Zealand's beaches. If you've ever wanted to learn to surf, this is the place to do it. Maybe you can convince one of the cute local kiwis to show you how. All you have to do is show off your new bikini while sunbathing on Piha Beach's rare black sand.
After a solid day of surfing, grab some grub at Adey's Place. You can enjoy a nice kiwi burger, and finish it off with some vegan ice cream! If that's not your style, there's plenty of vendors in the area selling homemade pizza or Fairtrade Kokako coffee.
3. Lake Tekapo
There are so many amazing things to do in this area. Brush up on your astrology with world class star-gazing. You can either look at the stars alone or sign up for the Tekapo Springs Stargazing Tour. You'll have access to the telescopes at Mt. Saint John Observatory where you can see multiple foreign galaxies.
Once the sun rises, take a relaxing dip in the hot pools that overlook the scenic lake. There's varying degrees of warmth in each one. Now that it's summer there, the giant water slide will be open!
If you get tired of hiking, bike rental is always an option. There's a very scenic trail called Cohan's Hill Walkway that winds through hilly fields and exotic forests. It's only about a 2 hour round trip that gives you gorgeous views of the lake.
This adorable little resort town on the South Island is fast becoming more and more popular due to it's cute quirks and proximity to adventure. Spend a day at Puzzling World going through the giant maze and exploring the holograms and illusions spread throughout. It's perfect for a rainy day.
Do something crazy and climb a waterfall! Wild Wires doesn't require you to have any climbing experience. There's a system of pegs, handholds, and bridges that will take you up the 80m waterfall. You'll have spectacular views the whole way.
One thing you must do in New Zealand is visit a winery! This specific region is known for its Sauvignon Blanc, and you can try it right from the source. No other white wine will compare. In order to visit multiple wineries, you can either rent a bike or car to get around.
You can also get up close and personal with the marine wildlife that thrive in the nearby sounds. Grab a snorkel and swim alongside the bottlenose dolphins that frequent these waters. If that's a little too close for you, consider getting a kayak so you can paddle along with the seals.
6. Castle Point
This little beach town is known for it's beautiful and wild ocean scenery. Walk along the turquoise blue lagoon while admiring the giant rock formations scattered along the shore. While you're there, don't pass up the chance to see the iconic Castlepoint Lighthouse.
Now is a good time to buy tickets for March, when Castlepoint holds its annual beach races. Instead of watching racehorses run in a circle, you can cheer them on from the sand! Betting is allowed, but your horses will be chosen for you. Imagine picnicking with your friends on the beach and watching the historic races with a bottle of wine in your hand.
7. Waitomo Caves
Waitomo literally means "water hole" in Maori. You can take a walking or boat tour through the cave system to see the seemingly magical glowworms. Caves may not be everyone's favorite thing, but these are more spacious than most, and have electricity; so those of you who are claustrophobic can still have a great time.
Once you’re done exploring below ground, venture about above ground. Grab lunch at a nearby café or head over to see the Marokopa Falls. If you're looking for something quirky, check out a local farm show for insight on New Zealand life, or even go horse back riding. You could spend days exploring all this place has to offer.
Even though New Zealand hasn't been exposed to many African American women and you might get some funny questions, it's still an amazing place with people who appreciate it just as much as you will. With natural wonders that only exist in this country, you can't pass up an opportunity to revel in the beauty in New Zealand. That being said, what are you waiting for? It's up to you to forge a new path for women of color abroad!