#Blog4NZ – New Zealand Had Me At Kia Ora

March 21 – 23, 2011 is #Blog4NZ, a 72-hour blogging spree of content generation on travel in New Zealand. Spurred by these guys here, it’s designed to help promote tourism in NZ following the devastating Christchurch earthquake of February 22. Twitter and Facebook and the blogs are aflutter with amazing positive travel pieces, photo essays, and all sorts of content about that crazy cool country.

So, this is me, joining in. I want to contribute a travel piece on New Zealand.

Now, if you know me, you’ll know that that might be difficult. Why? I’ve never been to NZ. Sadface.

However, NZ has topped my list of places I want to go for years now (if you don’t believe me, check out my bucket list), so I feel like I owe it to NZ to participate. So even though I still haven’t been, I’m going to share with you why I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand – just what it is about that small nation of islands that has got me hooked.

From what I’ve seen, New Zealand looks like Canada, but with piercing blue waters, and since it’s much, much smaller, it’s that much easier to explore NZ. I love the physical diversity of my beloved Canada, and from what people have told me, NZ rivals Canada with lush green vistas, spectacularly high mountains, and sparkling blue waters everywhere. I’m in. I want to play in the water, kayak around, troll up mountains, explore the parks, and maybe, just maybe, do some camping. Maybe.

The people appear to be some of the nicest on earth, particularly the Maori. I read Whale Rider when I was younger, and was so intrigued by the customs, particularly the reasoning behind beliefs and actions – the why – it just all made beautiful sense. I also like the forehead-touching greeting, because you can’t be afraid, and you can’t hide anything.

New Zealand is the adventure tourism capital of the world, so I’ve been saving all of my adventurous, adrenaline-junkie activities for NZ! I’ve still yet to go skydiving and bungee jumping, but since I’ve always wanted to do it amidst incredible scenery, I figure New Zealand is the place for that.

I’m a total wine-o, as most of you know, and my absolute faves are New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, specifically from Marlborough. Kim Crawford, you started it. I blame you. Villa Maria, you just perpetuated it, as did Cloudy Bay, Astrolabe, and a whole host of others. I also have a crush on your Pinot Noirs…it’s getting serious. Because of this, I’m just dying to take a few weeks and trundle up and down the wine regions of NZ and sample my way through. It would actually make my life. That, and going to the Marlborough Wine Festival.

Here’s my geeky tourism academic nerd reason for wanting to go to New Zealand – they have one of the best National Tourism Organisations in the world (we have one of the others), and they are leaders and visionaries when it comes to sustainable and responsible tourism. Their strategic development is widely regarded within the industry to be the best when it comes to sustainability, and they are exceptional at fostering local involvement and community growth through tourism. Love it.

Now, this is weird, but I’ve also said that I want to live in NZ, even though I’ve never been. There is not a single other country in the world that I’ve been able to say that about. I usually like to test the waters before I commit. Not with New Zealand. Between everything I’ve said above, and the fact that us Canucks are said to be quite similar to the Kiwis, I think I’d fit in quite well. New Zealand, I’ll get to you soon, I promise. I’d really like to finally become acquainted with you and all of your wondrous places.

But for now, take care, keep smiling, and be good. There’s a lotta love for you going around, and that’s probably because you deserve it.


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