It’s been just over a week since I landed in the freezing cold terminal two airport at Heathrow after a grueling 31-hour set of flights and I feel like I’ve finally got my head back to normal. It’s crazy how much travelling to the opposite side of the world messes with your routine, but it is good to be in Cheltenham and back to business.

New Zealand is definitely up there with the best places I’ve ever visited. It has everything you need; beautiful scenery, delicious food, friendly locals and great weather. One thing that struck me was how you can drive 20 minutes in any direction and it’ll feel like you’re in a completely different country. The North Island is a lot more industrial and built up than the South, however with a population of about 5 million (only five times more than the entirety of Gloucestershire) you can imagine how spread out everything is. Especially when a quarter of that 5 million live in Auckland alone.

We spent two weeks in the North island and two weeks in the South Island driving around to some of the best New Zealand has to offer. Some of my personal favorites include climbing the Tongariro crossing or otherwise known as Mount Doom from Lord Of The Rings. Unfortunately when we did this 18km walk it was foggy and raining so the views were limited.

Another treat was going to see England vs New Zealand in the cricket hosted in Wellington. I’ve never been a fan of cricket but I can think of worse ways to spend a day in the sun. Plus England won in the last bowl of the game so that’s always a bonus.

ben stokes

Anyone who knows me knows how little time I have for walking, so when the idea of doing a four-day, 60 km trek carrying all your supplies was pitched to me you can imagine my enthusiasm was limited, however it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip. There was no internet, no electricity, no hot water but lots of friendly people, great sunsets, better sunrises and big blisters.

 

Here is a selection of some of my favorite images from the other areas of New Zealand that we went to!

Although I was in New Zealand for a month, I felt like I barely scratched the surface. There are so many more places I would have liked to explore and visit. So I guess the point of this blog post is that if you’re getting married and happen to live in New Zealand please think of me!