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Travel Talks

How to be a tourist in your backyard?

  • 2 minutes

New Zealand


Why would I want to have a holiday at home? Home is familiar, comfortable and you even know the TV channels. And stop telling me it is beautiful and gorgeous. I am over those posters of mountains and rivers.

Life sucks when you’ve lost the buzz of casually dropping into a conversation a planned trip exploring Sicily. It has boasting power as it’s exotic, different and challenging. Your adventure was defined by the difference. New Zealanders left the country to have a good time. It was a badge of sophistication, of worldliness that you had travelled. We get the tourism brand concept of marketing our country as a world-class destination, a place that is pure New Zealand. However locals are not sure if this is believable. We’ve been part of the debate between modern agricultural practices and the marketed product of pure New Zealand. The idea of a holiday at home seems strange and not very interesting at all.

A Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever loving life dock jumping at the lake.

Our backyard is our backdoors. It is definitely not a challenge to catch the interislander ferry. Now it’s our sole choice as a holiday destination. Our everyday place has become our holiday destination. Now here’s the fun part, getting ourselves into the tourist mode as we open our backdoor to explore the neighbourhood.

Here’s ten ideas to build your tourist vibe for our backyard.

Get your camera out wear the camera around your neck. We have to dress like tourists and look the part. We are now visitors. Get your visitor gear on, hop into board shorts, or that great Kathmandu jacket you were saving for the trip to Sicily.
I wonder if in Sicily you had data roaming available or it cost a fortune so the plan was to check your Wifi in the foyer of the hotel. This is easily achieved in our backyard. Have you thought about turning your data roaming off for a period of time. Of course the time period has to be negotiated as we don’t want your holiday to be spoilt by withdrawal symptoms. I can promise you will not die if you have to rely on printed paper maps. We accept you could cheat while visiting the museum. Perhaps it is a necessary activity as you need to check Covid19 updates and thrillons of economic doom forecasts.
Fiordland National Park, Kepler Track, New Zealand
Fiordland National Park, Kepler Track
Christchurch Tramway, New Zealand
Christchurch Tramway
Book at least one visitor experience such as a bus tour. Will you look stupid on a tour bus in Christchurch? Probably not as the fellow passengers are likely other New Zealanders with this brilliant idea of being a tourist in their own town or perhaps, there is nobody on the bus except you. That means the tour driver will be your exclusive guide. In Sicily the cost of a personal guide would have been prohibitive, here you’ve got a personal perspective from a trained professional basically for free.
Queen Victoria’s statue in Wellington on Kent Terrace I expect to see a great cheesy photo on Instagram. If you have a dinky kiwi flag all the better. Then it’s onto the next photo moment, heritage or scenery take your pick New Zealand has oodles of great photographic locations, ask all those foreign visitors as they could not get enough of the place. New Zealand is instagrammers heaven, let’s get going and prove to all those visitors that we know exactly where to go to get the best shot.
Fish and chips is a recommended dining choice for tourists. Now the stage is set for another photo moment for your Facebook page. Recommended location for the selfie in Wellington is Solace in the wind (it could be windy, think of the weather as atmospheric and you’re wearing your Kathmandu jacket anyway) or Fruits of the Garden sculpture. You are on a sculpture trail self-guided tour I hope. Our facebook page has a link as a recommended option for your Wellington weekend break.
More foodie stuff going on here let’s get ourselves looking good (plus the jacket as you only have one waterproof jacket for your holiday due to packing limitations). Your indulgence is a restaurant well known for its locally inspired ingredients, the use of fresh produce and interpretation of New Zealand cuisine. The homework before you left on your world trip involved lots of google searching for the best, or cheapest places to eat. You’ve got your work cut out as you sample your way through Napier’s various dining choices.
Fish and Chips, Battered Fish Fillet with Potato, Fries
Classic Flyers Museum shop, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Classic Flyers Museum shop, Tauranga
Heritage tours and walks embracing the history of the area are next on the must do list. Google flagged must do destinations which you are now ticking off with a selfie at each location proving you are a great tourist. Be there, done that, got the T-shirt to prove it. And the T-shirts and tea towel souvenirs are definitely part of the visitor experience. You are not going to buy your souvenirs online, that’s cheating. The gift shop attached to the museum, where you just finished the tour needs checking out for shopping inspiration or there is the Saturday market.
Ethnographic collections, old photographs, costumes and replica rooms are very popular tourist attractions, especially the themed destinations where you get to experience life as a nineteenth century gold miner. Another great selfie moment is you in full regalia. Your local library might have lots of old photos to help you get in the mood for the holiday. Don’t forget a great place for holiday research is the local library. A dusty old tourist book on New Zealand is now hot property.
Tourist attractions that get you to the top of the mountain, the top of a building, the summit of monuments often get the best billing on google for the most visited places. In Dunedin it’s a horribly steep street called Baldwin. I feel a fabulous selfie moment coming to Instagram. After you have recovered from the climb of course, nothing like a photo of you not looking your best. You are at the top of Dunedin and got the selfie to prove it. And don’t forget our albatrosses while you are there. A cute baby wildlife photo moment is always part of the tourist experience. New Zealand is a bit short of this as we do not have cuddly koalas rather wildlife that hides in the dark. Join the crowds peering into the shadowed bush on Stewart Island straining to reliably identify a kiwi. Your Kathmandu jacket will be very necessary (translate that as essential) on this holiday.
Baldwin Street in the Dunedin, Otago of New Zealand
Baldwin Street in the Dunedin, Otago
Hot air balloons at Henley Lake, Masterton, New Zealand
Hot air balloons at Henley Lake, Masterton
And have you checked where the tourists eat and the best place to go on trip advisor It’s all about our visitor dollars supporting regional tourism, the world has a new visitor experience to savour. Our visitor spend is billed as a worthwhile cause. No longer is a holiday a waste of time or money, it is in the greater good, a form of patriotism almost. If you need to watch the pocket, don’t worry too much about whether to spend or not spend. We are locals and know the specials in the supermarket. Let’s get on the road, capture memories, laugh at ourselves being tourists in the backyard and enjoy a holiday that doesn’t cost the earth.

New Zealand inspired journeys are hiding in plain sight.


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