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It’s the warm, laidback nature of Kiwis – above everything else - that made me fall in love with this beautiful place. If you want to truly experience New Zealand, you’ve got to put yourself in their shoes and embrace the Kiwi lifestyle.
Start with a good coffee
Coffee isn’t just a morning pick-me-up in New Zealand; it’s a way of life. Wellington is New Zealand’s coffee capital and my personal coffee heaven.
It’s no exaggeration when I say Wellington coffee is the best in the world - seriously, the best! Your barista will become your best friend. They’ll learn your name, what you like to order and make getting a coffee a personal experience - every day.
There are multiple coffee roasters in Wellington so a great cup of coffee is around every corner. While I never had a bad cup, my favorite cafes are Havana, Flight, Supreme and Mojo.
To market, to market
During my time in New Zealand I saw first-hand how farm to table has always been part of Kiwi cuisine. It’s absolutely commonplace to buy vegetables direct from the grower even in the city.
Popping into the market, grabbing a coffee and a delicious morsel for breakfast along with some fabulous produce is one of life’s absolute pleasures.
In downtown Wellington, the Harbourside Markets open every Sunday so growers can sell directly to the people who appreciate where their food comes from. In fact you’ll find a weekly farmer’s market in most towns and cities.
The great outdoors
After the city, you have to get out and explore the big wide landscapes. You will be totally blown away by the diversity of colours and scenery.
One of the things that frequently surprises Americans about New Zealand is its size and accessibility. It’s about the same size as California and everything is really close. You’re never more than 80 miles from the coast, meaning you can see a rainforest, be on a mountain top, go to a beach, or walk along the edge of a lake in one day if you wanted to. New Zealanders have such a beautiful relationship with the outdoors and connection with nature that really explains that laidback Kiwi disposition.
For a real Kiwi holiday experience, you should rent a bach – that’s what Kiwis call a vacation home. It can be quite rustic and minimal or really luxurious, but always cozy.
A weekend escape to the beach – taking time out from weekly schedules – is a New Zealand rite of passage which I adored. You’re never more than a couple of hours from the beach in New Zealand. I loved the small beach communities with nothing but a general store and friendly locals wherever I went.