New Zealand Happy Things

Today I want to share a list of New Zealand Things That Make Me Happy. I lived in New Zealand for 11 years from 2005 to 2016. Recently we were able to fit in a short visit to the country we all love and miss (for the first time since we left mid 2016). As a fun way of documenting our trip I thought I’d come up with a list of New Zealand Happy Things.

New Zealand Happy Things Title Image - Highlights from our trip

New Zealand Happy Things (2019 trip)

New Zealand Trip Highlights - Auckland
Arrival and Auckland
  1. Being welcomed home at Passport Control (we are all NZ Citizens)
  2. Seeing the Auckland skyline appear as we head towards the city from the airport
  3. The first shower after 30+ hours in transit (same applies when headed back to the UK too!)
  4. Catching up with friends based in Auckland and meeting Clyde the rescue greyhound
  5. My new merino wrap from Global Culture
  6. The best coffee and hot chocolates in the world! No-one makes hot drinks as good as the Kiwi Baristas
New Zealand Trip Highlights - Hobbiton
New Zealand Trip Highlights - Rotorua and The Redwoods
New Zealand Trip Highlights - Rotorua Geothermal Areas
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Taupo
  1. The drive South from Auckland
  2. Blue skies for miles
  3. Fresh air
  4. Hobbiton – we all loved it – pricey but well worth a visit
  5. Drinks at The Green Dragon pub at the end of the Hobbiton Tour
  6. The amazing Aura Accommodation in Rotorua – such an awesome concept – they are focused on sustainability and are a really friendly and helpful bunch!
  7. Geothermally heated swimming pools (in Rotorua and Taupo)
  8. Riding the Gondola in Rotorua
  9. The bush walk up at the Skyline
  10. The luge (although my son surprisingly didn’t enjoy it)
  11. Food at The Fat Dog in Rotorua
  12. The Redwood Forest
  13. Treetop Walk in the Redwoods
  14. Riding the free Aura bikes around the Rotorua Green Corridor to see Kuirau Park
  15. Dipping our toes in the geothermal foot baths at Kuirau Park
  16. Eating a McDonalds Kiwi Burger in the plane at Taupo (the McDonalds in Taupo has an old plane out the back you can eat in!)
  17. Amazing Huka Falls
  18. Tui birds – we saw them all over NZ but at Huka Falls there was one singing back and forth with us which was fun!
New Zealand Trip Highlights - Taupo & Huka Falls
New Zealand Trip Highlights - Driving South & Palmerston North
Palmerston North (we lived in Palmy for 7 years)
  1. Visiting the Herb Farm and stocking up on herbal remedies
  2. Staying with friends from our antenatal group
  3. Seeing our son get on so well with his antenatal buddies
  4. Watching the boys row the boat around the lake
  5. Moxies in Palmy for morning tea
  6. Visiting our old neighbours in our old neighbourhood
  7. Heading to a local fireworks display with lots of antenatal group friends
  8. Visiting Victoria Esplanade and seeing the new aviary section including Tuatara’s
NZ Trip Highlights - Wellington Zoo
  1. Celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary driving from Palmy to Wellington (past where we got married!)
  2. Our amazing South Coast airbnb right on the water
  3. Visiting friends for a BBQ dinner and lots of catching up
  4. Exploring the rocks and searching for beach treasures near our airbnb
  5. Driving around the Miramar Peninsular and meeting friends at the Chocolate Frog cafe
  6. Lamingtons at Blue Belle in Island Bay
  7. Fish n chips at Island Bay Beach
  8. Followed by a chilly walk along the beach as the sun set
  9. Visiting my old workmates to say hello
  10. Riding the Wellington Cable Car up to the top of the hill
  11. Visiting old favourites in Wellington City including Leeds Street Bakery
  12. Catching up with friends and meeting their dog Frankie
  13. Visiting Wellington Zoo – the coolest little zoo in the world
  14. Tahi the one-legged Kiwi at Wellington Zoo
  15. Little blue penguins
  16. Tasmanian Devils in the Aussie enclosure
  17. Feeding the giraffes
  18. Visiting Spotlight to buy some Kiwi fabric for sewing projects
  19. Driving through the “beep beep” tunnel (Mt Victoria tunnel where it’s a bit of a tradition to beep and people beep back – more successful for beep-backs at the weekend than mid week unfortunately!)
  20. Visiting our friends who live in our old house, meeting their son and seeing our dog’s doggy friend
  21. Walking up the hill at Tawatawa Reserve to revisit where we spent so much time with our dog Rhett (he died not long after we all relocated to the UK in 2016 – it was heartbreaking)
  22. Visiting Te Papa Museum, squeezing in coffee with a friend and seeing the amazing confetti display
  23. Lunch with a friend at Scorch-o-Rama before heading to the airport
NZ Trip Highlights - Wellington
  1. Sour feijoa lollies
  2. L&P (World famous in New Zealand!)
  3. My son saying “I remember this place”
  4. All the fantastic street art – rather than graffiti there are awesome murals painted everywhere
  5. Spending time as a family in a place we love!

Thank you New Zealand – you’re awesome!


What favourite places could you write a whole happy list for? If you’d like to write your own happy list check out my post for advice on how to get started.

60 NZ Highlights pinnable image