As we roll into May, I got to thinking about all the things I’ve learned about New Zealand since coming here.
I’m about to settle down, start a job and move somewhere a little more permanent, which means I will be officially living in New Zealand, woo hoo! Although it is like a bigger better UK, there’s a lot of differences I’ve noticed already, usually to my amazement or despair.
What is it like living in New Zealand?
Living in New Zealand is like living in a country where British people came and settled down, but saw how Americans lived and stole some of their culture for themselves. You can see the little Americanisms when you drive through towns and cities. With the style and designs of the houses, to the mailboxes at the ends of driveways.
The feeling of the country though is something completely unique. It just feels more relaxed, like everything moves slower and nobody is in a rush to be bigger or better than anyone else. This is something that always made me stressed and anxious in the UK, it always felt a bit like people were trying to compete with each other. Whether it was having a bigger, better career or having a more interesting daily life. Here, it feels a bit more like a community, more consistently and not just in times of crisis.
I’d be lying if I said I was completely happy here though, if you follow me on social media, or if you know me in real life you’ll know I haven’t found it easy. Not because I don’t like the country, but because it turns out up-rooting your entire life and moving thousands of miles away from family and friends, is not an easy thing to do.
Will I stay living in New Zealand? Who knows. Right now I’m focusing on enjoying the time I have left here on my Working Holiday visa, and trying to see as much of the country as possible before they kick me out.
If you’re wondering what kinds of things are different, here are 31 things I have learned since landing in good old New Zealand!
- It’s like the UK and America had a child… and that child was chiller than either of them
- NZ Cadburys chocolate doesn’t taste good
- Whittakers chocolate is where it’s at!
- Living in the middle of a field with no one around is pretty common
- They farm deer!
- The chance of you seeing a Kiwi in the wild is very slim
- Food is just as expensive as back home
- Queenstown is a ridiculously expensive place to live… pretty though
- Kiwis generally like each other and are HAPPY to have guests, the ones I’ve met anyway
- Many of the hostels don’t allow alcohol
- The WiFi is terrible and you pretty much have to pay for it in most places
- Phone contracts are weird, they quote a monthly price based on the monthly cost of the handset and then the monthly cost of the plan, not like the UK where they bundle it as one bulk payment
- They pay rent and bills weekly, not monthly
- Petrol/Diesel is hella expensive
- Lime Scooters are the greatest invention ever
- Abel Tasman looks like a paradise, exotic island of dreams, but it’s a bitch to hike
- There are very few new age or occult stores… not very handy for little old Wiccan me!
- The best place to find anything is on Trade Me
- Seek is the best place to find a job
- Always join Facebook groups when trying to find house rentals in your area, they are way more helpful
- They don’t really do cordial juice e.g. Ribena (well they do Ribena but it’s mega expensive) or Robinsons etc.
- It’ll cost you about $100 NZD for a GP appointment if you aren’t a resident
- Cinema food is cheaper than the UK, as are cinema tickets
- If you don’t like hiking, you’re going to be stuck for free or cheap things to do!
- You’ve got a good chance of spotting awesome wildlife like dolphins, seals and whales
- There’s a lot of churches
- It’s not as small as many people have you believe, it’s very big, it’s just that not a lot of people live here
- About 1/4 of the population of the whole country lives in Auckland
- Red Rock in Queenstown does the best IPA beer I’ve ever had
- Dairy free Ben & Jerry’s is in abundance here (woo hoo!)
- Kiwis have a cracking, sometimes very morbid, sense of humour
Have you ever visited New Zealand long term? What did you think about living or travelling here? Let me know by tweeting me @travellalune