The Antipodes, pronounced [ænˈtɪpədiːz]: Magical word that evokes a world of contrast and adventure. For us, living in Spain, that would be The Land of the Long White Cloud, translated from the Maori Aotearoa; in other words, New Zealand, also known as Kiwiland, name which derives from the kiwi, a native flightless bird, which is a national symbol of New Zealand.
The following map shows highlighted the area equivalent to Spain on the opposite side of the world:
Some of the things to bear in mind when gearing up for a trip to such a faraway place is how to face up to the long journey that separates you from your final destination. Seeing how the ergonomics on aeroplane seats is far from ideal, endless hours in long-haul flights can be trying for your back. Some stretching and walks around the cabin should help with that. Boredom, however, shouldn’t be a problem as long as the in-flight entertainment is up to the mark. A good read saved for the occasion will be of help too.
I have been given some tips to combat the much-feared jetlag: drink plenty of water, set your watch to the new time zone (in this case 12 hours ahead) and last but not least, don’t look back; forget what the time is back home, When arriving at your destination, resist the temptation to go to bed, go out into the daylight and stay active to try to overcome fatigue until it’s nighttime.
Aiming at travelling light means packing a few clothes that mix and match and limited footwear. Next consideration: what to take as carry-on luggage. A comfy travel pillow will be a good companion, together with a sleeping mask to block out light and a pair of earplugs to isolate from noise on-board.
Flight connections will give me a break from endless hours sitting on planes and a chance to wander around the airports and browse in a few German and Chinese shops. Luckily, my flights are well-connected and the stopovers are not too long.
Travel documents for European citizens entering New Zealand include a valid passport and an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) issued by the government and easily obtained by applying on their official website or through the NZeTA app. You may be asked to prove that you are travelling into the country as a tourist and that you have a return ticket.
New Zealand border control has strict rules on what to bring into the country and if in doubt about anything you are taking, it is better to declare it. The list is long: food, medicines, items that have been used for outdoor activities, etc, For details on the prohibited and restricted items, visit the New Zealand customs website. Tip for mountaineers: Clean your hiking boots!
New Zealand is a paradise for backpackers. The array of hostels is extensive and bus services like the Intercity Flexipass give you the freedom to book bus rides easily, and if necessary, make changes to your itinerary at no extra cost. With this system, basically, you buy a number of hours that you can then use as currency to buy bus journeys. If the hours run out, you can top up your pass.
So, ready to embark on the Kiwi experience!
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