60 Unforgettable Memories Made in New Zealand

Some memories will stick with me forever, especially those that involve personal ‘firsts’. However, spending six months in New Zealand gave me a whole chunk of time to accumulate experiences abroad without worrying about flying home too soon.

Many of these would not have been possible without me taking the risk of an early career break to do a working holiday in Aotearoa. It wasn’t all plain-sailing but I grew up as a person while checking off my list of things to do before I die.

I could write a story about each of these 60 moments from Middle Earth, Click on the links to read more, but I will save the rest for in-person conversations.

My best and worst NZ memories

The Sights

  1. Farmers markets – Parnell, Kuirau Park, Riccarton Bush
  2. Sitting on giant marbles
  3. Flapping around schools of demoiselle and trevally in the ocean
  4. Spelunking for glow worms in flooded caves
  5. Finding that the trees are bigger than my arm span
  6. Vegetating on an island beach on Waiheke and Stewart Island
  7. Soaking in heated rivers
  8. The smell of rotting eggs in Rotorua
  9. Dolphins as far as the eye can see
  10. Craft beer tasting racks
  11. Sampling fresh olive oil and local honey
  12. Tourists getting too close to penguins
  13. Kayaking among more dolphins in Akaroa
  14. The fishy smell of chum on a great white shark cage dive
  15. The rush from falling out of a plane
  16. Visits from wild kaka by day
  17. Stalking wild kiwi by night
  18. Waiting for the clouds to lift at Milford Sound
  19. Blue skies and snowy peaks reflected in blue lakes
  20. Bluff oysters Kilpatrick
  21. Scaling moving ice on glaciers
Sky Tower memories
Auckland Sky Tower

People on the Road

  1. Sharing homemade palinka with a Slovak
  2. Exchanging barbs with a Mackem lass as a Newcastle fan
  3. Retired couples on motorbikes
  4. Swinging around playgrounds with British backpackers (not the Mackem)
  5. Unexpected reunions with lost acquaintances from the other side of the world
  6. Running into the familiar faces in different towns
  7. Playing Cards Against Humanity with all these people (Tip: the British version works better here)
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Hostel Life

  1. Getting woken up by screaming brats in the next room every morning
  2. Eggs Benedict in the hostel kitchen
  3. Baking homemade baklava
  4. Waking up to burst pipes and sinking hostel floors
  5. Homemade cottage pie, lemon posset, lasagne and chocolate mousse
  6. Feeling sorry for people while saying, ‘Sorry, we are full.’
  7. Chasing out people who sneaked in
  8. Making people fall in love with homecooked ox tongue
  9. Brewing the flat whites and nailing them
  10. Barbecues at an island hostel
Jailhouse, Christchurch, NZ
Memories of barbecues


  1. $1 pizza slices
  2. My rented Suzuki Wagon R’s engine screaming at 5000 rpm on a slope
  3. Getting the keys to my first car
  4. Driving to the shops for award-winning pies (steak & cheese pie, apricot chicken pie, scallop pie…)
  5. $10 steak and chips nights
  6. Nails in tyres
  7. Jumping into rivers from overhanging trees
  8. Cutting through the fog and the hailstorms
  9. Filling all the bottles with wine
  10. Getting out of a breathalyser test with my record intact
  11. Hooligans in a slammed BMW
  12. That biting wind everywhere you go
  13. Scoring a goal in Ultimate in that wind
  14. Clearing the field for rescue helicopters after scoring that goal
  15. Daily bird songs
  16. Awesome kebabs made more awesome by being this far from Turkey
  17. Driving into an impromptu charity car wash
  18. Sandfly bites
  19. Whitebait fritters by the roadside
  20. Burgers for breakfast
  21. The saddest Irish stew from a can to celebrate St Patrick’s Day
  22. How time just passes too damn quickly when you’re having fun

Don’t just sit there and dream; go create your own memories! Check out the Working Holiday and Driving in NZ posts for my tips on making it happen.

Koutu Boulders