I’ve always dreamt of visiting New Zealand. There was just something really fascinating about a country that lived so isolated from the rest of the world and had enormous mountain ranges and huge areas of untouched wilderness. And as a nature-loving outdoor person, I knew it was a place I just needed to get to.
My dream finally came true last year when my parents and I travelled to New Zealand for my birthday. We had decided we wanted our vacation to centre around the local culture and nature, without the main tourist attractions and shopping. That’s why we chose to stay in a small village on the south island, which had the population of only 250, called Mount Cook Village. The village was named after the Mount Cook, the biggest mountain in New Zealand, which we had a gorgeous view right from our hotel window!
Our hotel, The Hermitage, offered a lot of different activities, which we took part in. There was a cruise amongst the glaciers, traditional Maori ceremonies and stargazing. But the most memorable thing was our hike through the Hooker Valley. We wandered around the small paths and trails for hours and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking – green valleys, little rivers and pointy mountains with snow on the top. New Zealand really isn’t called one of the most stunning countries in the world for nothing.
And after just six days, New Zealand felt like home. I fell in love with its magnificent nature and genuine and kind-hearted people. And I fell in love with the way the sun would set behind the snow-covered mountains and colour the sky in different shades of purple and how the wind blowing from the coast would smell like the ocean. There was just something really special about the country, and out of all the places I’ve seen and sworn to return, New Zealand is the one my heart most yearns to go back to.