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Are you Team Doubtful Sound or Team Milford Sound?


So there’s been a debate raging for years gripping the very heart of both tourists and locals alike here in new Zealand that I’ve been dying to fill you in on involving which Fiordland cruise to choose.

And by “raging debate” I actually mean just in my own head. I have nothing if not a grandiose sense of self.

So which is better? Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound. How do you chose? Which is the better space to visit in our beloved Fiordland? Which Fiordland cruise to choose?

Milford Sound versus Doubtful Sound – how to choose?

fiordland cruise

Ever since I visited Milford Sound for the very first time way back when on Christmas Day of 2013 (exceptionally hungover to boot) I’ve been obsessed with this part of New Zealand. And I mean OBSESSED.

From enormous mountains to thundering waterfalls straight from Middle Earth to curious creatures and puzzling legends (hello Fiordland moose, I’m looking at you), gnarly ancient beech forests and no cell reception, for me Fiordland is a place of mystery and intrigue.

Often draped in low-hanging clouds lending this wild corner of New Zealand a distinct air of belonging in another world. Jurassic Park maybe? It doesn’t take much imagination to envision pterodactyls soaring amongst the clouds here.

How can you not love Fiordland?

fiordland cruise
Milford Sound

Home to New Zealand’s largest national park, Fiordland is home to 12 major fiords on the coast, characterized by steep cliffs, enormous mountains in the Southern Alps, steep valleys carved by glaciers, high lakes and heaps of waterfalls, and buckets and buckets of rain.

Of the 12 fiords, only 2 are relatively accessible to visitors, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. For many tourists coming to New Zealand, going on a day cruise around one or the other is at the top of the bucketlist.

And for a good reason – they will blow you away. Any season, any weather, Fiordland is magical.

And Fiordland in winter is my favorite time to take a Fiordland cruise. Often the days are mild and still, with no wind.

fiordland cruise
Doubtful Sound

While I’ve explored Fiordland many times, in every which way possible, I often return to both Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound on boat trips with Real Journeys (even since 2013) who run incredible activities throughout the area.

It would be a sin for me NOT to tell you about their current special running through July called Choose Your Cruise, where you can either cruise Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound for $190 including coach transfers and lunch.

The special runs through July 31st, 2019.

So if you’ve been keen to check out Milford or Doubtful Sound here in New Zealand, I’m handing you your sign right now!

fiordland cruise
Doubtful Sound

But here comes the real question: which is better? Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound. If you had to chose a Fiordland cruise, which would it be?

CHOOSE YOUR CRUISE FOR ONLY $190 WITH REAL JOURNEYS

Milford Sound

Milford Sound is by far the more well-known and popular option. Iconic and impressive, it’s definitely the place for those who want to tick it off their bucketlist. Cruising along the well-known Mitre Peak and beneath thundering waterfalls, it’s famous and well-loved for a reason. It’s amazing.

Milford is also easier to access, with a road built straight to the fiord and many flights and trips available. By New Zealand standards, Milford is busy, especially in summertime. But if you can manage to stick around, at the end of the day, you’ll have the place to yourself.

I don’t think anyone ever visit Milford and regrets it.

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

Doubtful Sound 

Doubtful Sound on the other hand is visited by far fewer people but is equally if not more loved by those who journey out there. Wild and remote, it’s a bigger effort to visit, involving crossing Lake Manapouri by boat, a coach journey across the Wilmot Pass and another boat out into the fiord itself.

Here it’s much quieter with far fewer boats and planes whizzing around, and you’ll likely have Doubtful all to yourself. It’s also enormous, much bigger than Milford and with a lot more wildlife opportunities, with penguins, dolphins and seals spotted on the regular.

While the scenery is not quite so dramatic as Milford, Doubtful is still stunning and appeals to people like me, who prefer the quiet solitude and remoteness of the place.

So if you haven’t already guessed it, I’m definitely Team Milford. Mostly. Maybe.

What about you? Are you Team Milford or Team Doubtful? Have you been to either? Which sounds more appealing? Spill!

CHOOSE YOUR CRUISE FOR ONLY $190 WITH REAL JOURNEYS

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

Many thanks to Real Journeys for hosting me in Fiordland so many times, like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me!

The post Are you Team Doubtful Sound or Team Milford Sound? appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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9 reasons why New Zealand is the best place for solo travelers


It’s no secret, New Zealand solo travel is trending. About time!

You’ve probably noticed on your social media the increase of solo travelers (especially women) with inspiring photos and philosophical captions about how wonderful it is to be on your own. As avid solo travelers at the YA HQ, we certainly get it!

With the help of the internet and the plethora of resources available, it’s becoming easier and easier to make the jump to solo travel.

But man, where to start? Not all destinations are created equal. How do you take the first step? New Zealand solo travel is where it’s at!

new zealand solo travel

Traveling alone gives you the freedom to do exactly what you want without having to comprise for anyone else and as much as I love traveling with close friends or my partner, I always secretly crave a solo adventure where I’m the boss and the world is my oyster.

Whether you’re single or in a long term relationship, solo travel can be a life-changing experience and in 2019, it’s easier than ever.

The hardest part, of course, is picking where exactly you’ll go for your solo holiday.

If you haven’t already considered New Zealand, you’re tripping. Here’s why New Zealand should top your list as a dream destination for solo travelers, and it’s the perfect place for solo travelers. Enjoy!

new zealand solo travel

1. Getting around is so damn easy

New Zealand is a small country that is sparsely populated outside of the biggest city, Auckland.

You won’t find massive freeways and confusing mousetraps or contradicting road signs. We basically just have Highway 1, and depending which way the ocean is, you pretty much always know where you are.

New Zealand has a string of easy-to-navigate highways and clear signs so you really don’t even need to have Google Maps open, and hiring a GPS with your car is a total waste of money.

If you do happen to get lost, simply pop into the nearest petrol station or restaurant and the locals will be happy to point you in the right direction.

new zealand solo travel

2. The native language is English

English is one of two national languages, the other being Māori, meaning that as long as you speak the international travel language marginally well, you’ll be absolutely fine getting around New Zealand.

Can’t make any promises about good ol’ kiwi slang though. You’re on your own there.

new zealand solo travel

3. You probably won’t be alone

There’s a common misconception that traveling alone means you’re destined to be lonely but most solo travelers will tell you that is far from true.

No one wants to approach a big group of travelers but when you’re on your own, you suddenly become interesting, a puzzle that needs to be figured out. People are curious about who you are and what you’re doing and if you don’t have a massive posse, they will be much less intimidated to approach you.

You’ll soon find yourself being included into groups or invited to events solely because you’re on your own. If meeting other people is the goal of your trip, you should definitely go it alone. Traveling with even one other person makes you far more susceptible to staying in your comfort zone and not branch out.

New Zealand solo travel is quite common so as long as you don’t seclude yourself in a quiet hotel room or to only remote camping spots, you’ll likely meet other like-minded individuals if you want to share a beer or want some company on a hike.

new zealand solo travel

4. Expats aplenty

New Zealand’s tourism has been booming over the past decade and with it comes infinite numbers of expats from all over the world, especially with the ease of getting a working holiday visa, many foreigners come to live in New Zealand for a season or a year. New Zealand solo travel is common here.

All mid-size towns have hostels packed with travelers so whether you want a companion for part of the trip or just someone to go to the pub with, you’ll find no shortage of people or tourists to meet.

Expats and travelers flock to New Zealand from all over the world so it’s a great way to make international friends who might just inspire you to add a few more countries to your never-ending list.

new zealand solo travel

5. The locals are real friendly

Kiwis have a reputation for being a little hardened and rough around the edges.

They say what they mean and have no issue telling you what’s what, so it’s no surprise that many visitors’ first impressions of the locals are a bit skewed.

But behind those rough exteriors, Kiwis have hearts of gold.

When it comes to lending a hand, they will always do their best to help out within their capabilities. From giving directions to picking up hitchhikers, Kiwis are generally happy to help out visitors.

new zealand solo travel

6. It’s super safe

I moved to New Zealand from Chicago, a town that has become synonymous with mobsters and gun violence. Street smarts were a must to survive in Chicago, and sirens and ambulances were the soundtrack to the city.

I’ll never forget the first time I realized just how safe New Zealand actually was.

I was a few weeks into my first year in New Zealand, driving south from Auckland. I was listening to the radio and the broadcaster was giving updates on the weather and recent news. The biggest news story of the day was about a young girl who was thought to have been kidnapped but turns out she actually wasn’t. That was it. That was the story: a crime almost happened, but turns out, it didn’t.

new zealand solo travel

It’s not to say that crime is completely absent in New Zealand.

There have been numerous reporting of thefts, especially targeted at tourists but when compared to other countries, New Zealand is stupidly safe to travel in. Feel free to walk around at night and travel about at your leisure without having to worry about sketchy characters approaching you. And violent crime is minimal compared to many other countries.

For the most part, people are happy to leave you alone. New Zealand solo travel is easy.

There have been some tourist thefts especially on the far north of the North Island so if you’re an obvious tourist in a camper van, best keep your valuables on you and not visible in the car while you’re out hiking.

new zealand solo travel

7. No threatening animals that will eat you. 

New Zealand’s most threatening animal is a giant carnivorous snail. I’m joking. There is a giant carnivorous snail on the South Island but don’t worry it’s not threatening.

No snakes, no giant spiders lurking in dark corners, no bloodthirsty mammals in the woods. You can camp without having to think about bears and walk through tall grass without thinking twice about slithering reptiles. You can hike alone without worry of being eaten (just be smart about it)

The only thing you have to worry about is the pesky sandflies who are definitely out for blood but are otherwise completely harmless. You won’t contract any diseases from their bite and after a few itchy days, you’ll completely forget about them.

new zealand solo travel

8. It’s the perfect for peace and quiet

If you want to put yourself out there and meet other travelers, you can totally do that, however, if you’re looking for a quiet escape where you see very few humans, you can definitely do that too.

As I mentioned, New Zealand’s population is not exactly what I would describe as “robust” so as long as you can get outside of the cities, you can get as far away from humans as you want.

Reconnect with nature. Breath in the fresh air. Become a woman of the backcountry. Whatever. Go nuts.

Just be sure to check in with your loved ones about your plans because there is no cell service in the wilderness here, and accidents in the bush do happen, especially when you’re unprepared.

new zealand solo travel

9. We’re are way behind the times

This may sound like a negative, and for many travelers, it will be.

New Zealand is perpetually 20 years behind in their infrastructure and technology when compared to the USA or Europe. It’s common to find entire towns without cell reception and wifi and that’s just part of the beauty.

The internet you do find is likely to be slow so if you’re looking for a place where you can stream Netflix all night, this isn’t for you.

new zealand solo travel

Instead, try to embrace the remoteness.

Imagine how it used to be when travelers weren’t perpetually connected to their homes. Live in the moment and engage with the people who actually live there instead of worrying about updating your social media for those at home. There are few developed countries in the world that can offer this so embrace it with open arms.

Trust me, when you’re back home at your desk job, you will wish you had taken the time to be more present. New Zealand solo travel is for everyone.

What do you reckon? Are you keen to explore NZ as a solo traveler? Anything else to add? Spill!

new zealand solo travel

The post 9 reasons why New Zealand is the best place for solo travelers appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Are you Team Doubtful Sound or Team Milford Sound?


So there’s been a debate raging for years gripping the very heart of both tourists and locals alike here in new Zealand that I’ve been dying to fill you in on involving which Fiordland cruise to choose.

And by “raging debate” I actually mean just in my own head. I have nothing if not a grandiose sense of self.

So which is better? Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound. How do you chose? Which is the better space to visit in our beloved Fiordland? Which Fiordland cruise to choose?

Milford Sound versus Doubtful Sound – how to choose?

fiordland cruise

Ever since I visited Milford Sound for the very first time way back when on Christmas Day of 2013 (exceptionally hungover to boot) I’ve been obsessed with this part of New Zealand. And I mean OBSESSED.

From enormous mountains to thundering waterfalls straight from Middle Earth to curious creatures and puzzling legends (hello Fiordland moose, I’m looking at you), gnarly ancient beech forests and no cell reception, for me Fiordland is a place of mystery and intrigue.

Often draped in low-hanging clouds lending this wild corner of New Zealand a distinct air of belonging in another world. Jurassic Park maybe? It doesn’t take much imagination to envision pterodactyls soaring amongst the clouds here.

How can you not love Fiordland?

fiordland cruise
Milford Sound

Home to New Zealand’s largest national park, Fiordland is home to 12 major fiords on the coast, characterized by steep cliffs, enormous mountains in the Southern Alps, steep valleys carved by glaciers, high lakes and heaps of waterfalls, and buckets and buckets of rain.

Of the 12 fiords, only 2 are relatively accessible to visitors, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. For many tourists coming to New Zealand, going on a day cruise around one or the other is at the top of the bucketlist.

And for a good reason – they will blow you away. Any season, any weather, Fiordland is magical.

And Fiordland in winter is my favorite time to take a Fiordland cruise. Often the days are mild and still, with no wind.

fiordland cruise
Doubtful Sound

While I’ve explored Fiordland many times, in every which way possible, I often return to both Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound on boat trips with Real Journeys (even since 2013) who run incredible activities throughout the area.

It would be a sin for me NOT to tell you about their current special running through July called Choose Your Cruise, where you can either cruise Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound for $190 including coach transfers and lunch.

The special runs through July 31st, 2019.

So if you’ve been keen to check out Milford or Doubtful Sound here in New Zealand, I’m handing you your sign right now!

fiordland cruise
Doubtful Sound

But here comes the real question: which is better? Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound. If you had to chose a Fiordland cruise, which would it be?

CHOOSE YOUR CRUISE FOR ONLY $190 WITH REAL JOURNEYS

Milford Sound

Milford Sound is by far the more well-known and popular option. Iconic and impressive, it’s definitely the place for those who want to tick it off their bucketlist. Cruising along the well-known Mitre Peak and beneath thundering waterfalls, it’s famous and well-loved for a reason. It’s amazing.

Milford is also easier to access, with a road built straight to the fiord and many flights and trips available. By New Zealand standards, Milford is busy, especially in summertime. But if you can manage to stick around, at the end of the day, you’ll have the place to yourself.

I don’t think anyone ever visit Milford and regrets it.

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

Doubtful Sound 

Doubtful Sound on the other hand is visited by far fewer people but is equally if not more loved by those who journey out there. Wild and remote, it’s a bigger effort to visit, involving crossing Lake Manapouri by boat, a coach journey across the Wilmot Pass and another boat out into the fiord itself.

Here it’s much quieter with far fewer boats and planes whizzing around, and you’ll likely have Doubtful all to yourself. It’s also enormous, much bigger than Milford and with a lot more wildlife opportunities, with penguins, dolphins and seals spotted on the regular.

While the scenery is not quite so dramatic as Milford, Doubtful is still stunning and appeals to people like me, who prefer the quiet solitude and remoteness of the place.

So if you haven’t already guessed it, I’m definitely Team Milford. Mostly. Maybe.

What about you? Are you Team Milford or Team Doubtful? Have you been to either? Which sounds more appealing? Spill!

CHOOSE YOUR CRUISE FOR ONLY $190 WITH REAL JOURNEYS

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

fiordland cruise

Many thanks to Real Journeys for hosting me in Fiordland so many times, like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me!

The post Are you Team Doubtful Sound or Team Milford Sound? appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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10 Kiwi habits we should all embrace


WhatI love New Zealand. And sometimes I love to hate on New Zealand but most of the time, I’ve got nothing but admiration and love for the country that adopted me many years ago.

Of course, the magnificent mountains and turquoise lakes were a draw in choosing my new home but what I didn’t know at the time was that I’d come to love New Zealand for some much more than it’s natural wonders.

I didn’t know I’d fall in love with the culture, slowly adapting and assimilating so much that I now feel like a foreigner in my own home country.

best kiwi habits

Now, when I got back to visit the USA, I can’t help but feel proud and thankful for all that I’ve learned and picked up in New Zealand.

Here are my top 10 Kiwi habits we should all embrace.

How to move to New Zealand as an American

best kiwi habits

1. Going barefoot in public

I’ll never forget the day I was working at my cafe job when I saw my first barefoot patron. They walked in like nothing in the world was wrong, ordered their coffee and sat down, just like a regular customer.

I stared at them wide-eyed wondering what the actual fuck was going to happen. Was this allowed? Surely not. Why isn’t anyone else noticing this peculiar phenomenon? Was someone going to kick him out?

Much to my surprise, nothing happened.

best kiwi habits

He drank his coffee, he left the cafe and the world kept turning.

I suddenly started seeing bare feet everywhere!

The supermarket, the gas station, the liquor store. What seemed so strange to me suddenly made sense. Barefoot are great! The bottom of a barefoot isn’t any gnarlier than the bottom of your shoe and by letting your feet breath, you’re discouraging pesky foot bacteria from growing and causing a funk.

Should the entire world go barefoot in the warm weather? I think yes.

best kiwi habits

2. “…can’t be bothered”

There have been numerous Kiwi phrases I’ve inadvertently picked up over the years but my all time favorite is telling someone “I simply can’t be bothered.”

In the USA, we’d say something like “I don’t want to do that” but in New Zealand, it’s important to add some blasé flair to your conversation.

Instead of saying I don’t want to go to the picnic, say “I can’t be bothered going to the picnic.”

best kiwi habits

Its subtle implication is that everyone on earth is going to bothersome and you must pick and choose which things are worth being bothered for and honestly, I TOTALLY feel that.

Kiwis are not, of course, dramatic by nature, but that won’t stop me from campaigning for the entire world to pick up this aloof diction.

“Hmm, yeah nah. Can’t be bothered.”

best kiwi habits

3. Let’s take all of the coffee breaks

After a few hours of arriving at their place of work, Kiwis almost routinely take 15-30 minutes for a morning break, sometimes called smoko, often on farms for a mid-morning tea and snack.

Perhaps this was originally meant for smoking breaks, I don’t know, but now, it’s seen as a must take break from your work. Professionals all across the country leave their workplace and pour into the cafes where they catch up with their colleagues and friends while downing a quick flat white.

And why not? Coffee in New Zealand is an art, and a best kiwi habit.

They know they’ll be more productive throughout the day with short, reasonable breaks in the morning which is honestly something we should all adopt because there’s nothing quite like a mid-morning reset.

best kiwi habits

4. Kiwi cafe culture is social as 

Speaking of cafes, their cafe culture in New Zealand is a little different than North America.

Don’t expect to be able to bring in your laptop and hunker down for a day of work without getting the stink eye. New Zealand cafes are a place for catching up with friends or reading a magazine or newspaper while you have coffee. They are no remote offices and many cafes will be offended if you treat it as such.

Don’t even think about asking where the power outlets are.

While I’ll be the first to admit I have definitely been frustrated looking for a place with wifi, I gotta say, I admire their commitment to social cafes where the emphasis is enjoying the present moment, not being constantly connected to the outside world.

Of course there are exceptions to this, especially in big cities, but in general cafes are for being social.

best kiwi habits

5. Just chill out – she’ll be right, mate

At its core, New Zealand truly is an island nation and fully embraces the laid back island mentality.

Kiwis have a common saying when things look like they might be going bad: “She’ll be right.”

The “she”, of course, is not a woman but the idea of an issue or a problem.

Kiwis have adopted this mentality fully and it’s rare to see a Kiwi really upset about something out of their control. Why get upset about something when there’s nothing you can do anyways? It’ll sort itself out, she’ll be right.

best kiwi habits

6. Be humble. Always. 

New Zealanders are eternally humble, one of the best kiwi habits around.

They abide by the tall poppy rule which essential means any poppy that grows tall and tries to outshine the others swiftly gets chopped. Instead, Kiwis aim to be humble and often even go as far as putting themselves down ALL THE TIME.

While there’s certainly reason to be proud of yourself, I admire the Kiwi way of internalizing it instead of instantly telling every person you’ve ever met about your accomplishments.

Just try telling a Kiwi of all your great accomplishments and you’ll quickly be met with unimpressed dismissal.

best kiwi habits

7. The number 8 wire

The number 8 wire has become ubiquitous with the ingenuity of New Zealanders.

Technically, the number 8 wire is a strong and flexible wire that Kiwis have used to fix essentially anything.

The wire itself has become a metaphor for the Kiwi life: durable and tough and able mend just about anything. Kiwis are a resourceful bunch who take what they have on hand and just simply make it work. No fussing, no whining. Perhaps its roots are being an island nation with historically low resources. Perhaps it’s the small population numbers.

Whatever it is, Kiwis tend to not rely on other people to do their job for them.

best kiwi habits

8. They value their vacations

Kiwis have a lot more vacation time than Americans.

On average, it’s standard to have four weeks of paid holiday and that’s a right granted for almost all types of employment from your local barista to the person who collects the garbage.

Everyone is entitled to holiday and no one is made to feel guilty for actually taking their allotted holiday time. Many people take a month off entirely and no one bats a single eyelash.

Most Americans, on the other hand, hardly use their holiday time and when they do, they carefully squeeze their vacation into as many holiday breaks and weekends as possible.

10 times I realized I’d gone totally Kiwi

best kiwi habits

9. Jobs are irrelevant, free time is king

It’s really rare for a Kiwi to lead a conversation with the classic, “So what do you do?”

And if you happen to ask that to a local, they’ll give you a funny look as they ponder what in the world you’re talking about.

For New Zealanders, that question doesn’t make sense because they do a lot. Skiing, hiking, running, surfing, boating, dog walking, child minding, farm tending.

The idea of being defined by your occupation is a weird concept here so instead of asking someone what they do for work, try asking what they do for fun.

best kiwi habits

10. Expect brutally honesty

New Zealanders do not mince words. Ever.

They might try to put a gentle spin on things. But at the end of the day, they say what they mean.

They simply see no reason to dance around the elephant in the room. Kiwis prefer to just get it out there and get on with it. Kiwis are not, by nature, mean spirited people at all. No, they are just honest and straight up, no bull shit.

So if you’re acting like a dickhead, it’s not surprising when one of your mates tells you to pull your head in. The good thing is Kiwis don’t generally hold grudges so if you say something that rubs someone the wrong way, they’ll get over it soon.

Any key kiwi habits we’ve missed? What do you think? Have you experienced of any of these cultural differences in New Zealand? What are your best kiwi habits? Share!

best kiwi habits

The post 10 Kiwi habits we should all embrace appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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The Get Her Back (Action Plan) – Get Your Girlfriend Back Today

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