10 Lessons a Gap Year in New Zealand Has Taught Us
Life Lessons Learned from New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year.
After doing 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand, Robin & Laura go through what they learned throughout their New Zealand gap year! If you like this video, then check out more New Zealand travel advice videos on the BackpackerGuide.NZ YouTube Channel! Plus, you might like these videos:
Hey guys we’re Robin and Laura, the team behind BackpackerGuide.NZ and we are keeping on with the wrap up of New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year where we did challenge ourselves to do 365 activities in only 365 days. It was crazy.
We are going to be talking right now about the life lessons that we learned during our gap year in New Zealand and I don’t think there is much need of an introduction right here so hit the subscribe button because you know, we really like it.
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Anyway, the first lesson that we learned is that the GPS is always wrong in New Zealand. There is so many times when the GPS sends us to the wrong place through the wrong road and it turns out that it was a bit of a nightmare so what we did learn about that is it’s definitely worth spending a little bit of money like this 99 cents one 1.99$ to get an app which actually has updated GPS map and not just rely on Google Maps.
Specifically Google Maps is pretty bad in New Zealand.They try and get you to the destination you want to go to on the fastest route possible so that’s not always the necessarily the safest route. A lot of times we did end up on really dodgy roads especially in our massive motorhome which you can’t take everywhere. And we were in some pretty hairy situations sometimes but if you are going to use Google Maps, if you have no other choice… You do have plenty of choices of course… but if you’re still gonna use Google Maps then it’s best to look at the satellite view of the route you are gonna take and make sure it looks like real roads.
Yeah and not a dodgy gravy road.
Moving on, second life lesson that we learned was there is way too much to do in New Zealand. It’s a pretty good problem to have but believe it or not, after doing 365… actually the counter finished at 375 activities in New Zealand, we feel that we could literally head on the road again and actually do another 365 days another 365 activities without having to do the same activity twice. It’s crazy.
Absolutely, and if you are planning your trip of a set amount of time planned, just bear in mind that you’re gonna want to add an extra week to that because everything you want to do, you’re gonna find million other stuff that you’re gonna wanna do as well. So that was another life lesson for us.
For sure, another life lesson was weather is no biggie. Honestly the weather is changeable four seasons in one day, and there were some days where the weather was too dangerous to do an activity but that didn’t mean that we didn’t do nothing on that day, we still found other stuff to do and yes, sometimes there was a little bit of rain but , hey, it’s New Zealand, it’s so green because it rains that much so even if it rains a little bit we still hop on a walk and it soon clears out and we have the most wonderful day so weather shouldn’t be stopping you.
Yeah, exactly, and another thing to take away from that as well is that no matter what season you arrive in New Zealand you should definitely have a rain coat – a good one at that.
Rain coat, layers, plan for every type of weather.
As long as the equipment and the gear that you have is good then you know, you’re gonna have a good time.
Speaking of that, we will do some more gear and equipment videos so make sure to hit subscribe and stick around we will be reviewing some products and tell you exactly what you need to pack cos that’s very important.
But still sticking with the weather, there is another life lesson that we learned lesson number 4, and that’s season doesn’t matter. Almost everyone that we hear tell us “I just want to travel New Zealand in summer” and you know, “when is summer in New Zealand” “when is the best weather in New Zealand?”
Honestly, the best weather in New Zealand is throughout the whole year because it changes so much.
Also the summer season is a lot busier with both international tourists and it’s usually the summer holidays for the locals as well so there’s gonna be a lot of Kiwis travelling around as well, so I think if you want to feel more of that pristine having a whole place to yourself feeling which, I think when you’re in the wilderness in New Zealand you kind of do want that feeling, then I would travel more in the other seasons not necessarily in summer. And summer is in December, January and February in New Zealand.
So avoid those months to get New Zealand all to yourself.
Alright moving onto the next life lesson that we learned during New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year is that the journey is often the best part. Often, we planned our days really full, to have to fit that much into our day with all those videoing and writing and activitiying oh my gosh, we had to have really full packed days and quite often, I did wish we had a little bit more time to drive around. When driving around there are so many little pit stops on the side that we want to stop at take some pictures, the roads in New Zealand are absolutely wonderful they look absolutely gorgeous. I am thinking the central North Island with all those beautiful volcanoes and all those plains that are so stunning, I am thinking about some of the mountain pass that we did on the South Island. It’s so beautiful and there are so many different walks all around.
And so many waterfalls as well, also bearing in mind if you’re going to set yourself a time to get from A to B probably add another hour onto that for all the stuff you’re probably gonna want to stop off at along the way.
Definitely take time to enjoy the journey – that’s definitely what we learned and we definitely do that differently when we hit the road again.
Alright, the next life lesson is that in times of need we’re pretty good at making friends. We had a few struggles through New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year like breaking the campervan but there was a lot of things like breaking the arm, that did happen to us, and we did make friends at those points and that’s was very welcome because people in New Zealand are super kind, very reliable and honestly, it did make our trip much better because there was a couple of times where it could have been the end.
For sure, and on top of that… what was I gonna say? On top of that…
On top of that something, let’s move on.
Let’s move on.
Let’s move onto fitness level, there is a lot of people saying Oh my God Robin and Laura you’re so fit, you do so much, I wouldn’t be able to do all those kind of things, and this and that, well let me tell you we’re not that fit. Yeah, we’re not the least fit people but we’re not the fittest people as well. Most of the walks in New Zealand, most of the activities are super well catered to people that have a very average level of fitness. The walks are rarely really steep and if they are it’s usually loopy so you don’t really feel the burn too much. All the activities are made very easy so of the walks, if you do them guided you know they take you on a boat to to the hike. It’s incredible how approachable is New Zealand on the fitness level. That should not be a worry for you on an adventurous trip in New Zealand.
On top of that, I have one this time, on top of that if you are taking tours, the tours have transport for places so you’re not making your way to the highlight of the tour you have all the transport and the guides look after you really well. They’re all super professional and yeah…
I mean I did 40-odd activities literally with a broken arm. That’s to tell you, I mean I did a skydive!
I think in terms of walks again, a really cool thing about New Zealand is that there are so many different types of walks and lengths of walks as well and you’ll find some trails that are a little bit rough which is better for if you are quite fit but they do have a lot of really good well-maintained walks which are nice and wide, like no uphills and stuff, they’re super accessible. Even some walks are ideal to take baby buggies on and wheelchairs and stuff, so literally there is something for everyone in terms of walks as well which is really cool.
Yeah, that’s incredible.
Ok, next life lesson is that our essentials are not that essential. We spent an entire year on the road right, and we are pretty much connected 100% of the time for FORK sake, we work only, did I say FORK? I didn’t say FORK.
We work online right so we are always always connected and yes, there are some areas in New Zealand where it’s quite hard to actually find Internet it did happen to us despite the fact there is a lot of coverage, it’s a bit of a myth if there isn’t a lot of coverage, there is a lot. We lived very well without a TV, without Facebook, to be fair it’s kind of a freeing feeling.
Yeah for sure, I definitely feel like when you’re at home you have all these necessities which you’re like they’re part of my life but after a year of travelling you come back to having those necessities available to you again, you’re like actually, I don’t fancy watching TV that much, I’d rather go on a walk, I’m a changed lady.
I agree. So many times you just grab a book and end up reading a book in and be like I don’t want to be in the campervan and sit outside in the middle of pristine beautiful forest in New Zealand reading your book. Or just go for a little stroll honestly there is quite a lot of very short strolls that we didn’t film when we did New Zealand’s biggest gap year just cos, when we do a video about a jet boat tour it’s kind of weird to talk about a walk right here. Before food or finishing food, just go a little stroll and watch the birds and honestly that was just awesome. I really did like that. Maybe it’s cos we’re that find of people but honestly, your essentials are not really essentials.
Alright, next life lesson and that’s the second to last, New Zealand is really desperate for attention. So Laura take us through that.
That’s pretty hilarious so there’s a lot of towns in New Zealand that have a claim to fame and they like to show thee claim to fames by having huge sculptures outside their towns like for instance, the trout capital of New Zealand or Tuatapere in the South Island they were the sausage capital of New Zealand so they have a giant giant sausage outside of their town or at least they did, apparently they took it down which is I found outrageous.
Yeah, there is a donut as well.
There’s a donut in Springfield you can guess why if you’re a Simpsons fan but yeah, there are lots of those and we actually have a n article on BackpackerGuide.NZ listing a lot of ones around the country. Yeah, New Zealand really like to have some weird claims to fame and I think the most hilarious one we found was when we were in Stewart Island and we were doing a multi-day trek and we found the southernmost wool shed in the world.
Literally there was a sign they bought a sign, hiked with this sign up to that little shed right here it’s literally through a multi-day hike, they hiked with a sign for this claim to fame. I don’t know how many tourists actually flock to the southernmost woolshed.
I like your use of the word flock there.
No pun intended.
But yeah I do not know how many tourists go there for that but it’s really funny how there is a southernmost something everywhere in New Zealand.
Especially when you go around the Invercargill area everyone is telling you how they are the Southernmost of something. The brewery tour we did in Invercargill that was really awesome, but they were saying to us that they were not the southernmost brewery in the world but the second southernmost brewery in the world. That is noteworthy indeed.
That comes to the general Kiwi spirit, they don’t take things too seriously it made us laugh every time.
It definitely shows the Kiwi sense of humour.
Alright and life lesson number 10 the last life lesson that we learned during New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year actually I think that’s a lie we learned much more, that last one we have on our list is that if we put our mind to it we can achieve anything. Honestly we’ve just done something that is literally grader bigger than life, tackling such a huge challenge just for two nobodies like us was absolutely utter craziness every single person we talked to they say nah we won’t be able to do it, we’ll only last a couple of months, there’s not that much to do in New Zealand, you’ll never be able to make it work, and all of that, and it was tough, it was a real real challenge you don’t see that on video our goal was to make it look easy it was a challenge but hell, we did it and I feel like right now I can literally do anything. As we just wrap that up right here, I fell on top of the world.
Yeah definitely, I feel like , like one of the videos recently that we released I say at the end I feel like I’ve aged 10 years but that’s actually a good way like I feel like I learned more in that one year by doing that much stuff and trying to make something like that happen than I would have learned in five years of bumming around.
Work wise, editing videos we have never done it before, we had never filmed before.
We gained so many skills, all thee life lessons that we shared with you.
If you have ever in your life the opportunity to take a gap year, hell yeah, take it! you don’t have to be as crazy as us but learn so much my just hopping on a bus tour, I can guarantee it’s a life changing experience to travel.
If you are coming to New Zealand don’t just stay in your accommodation and stuff make sure you actually do something every single day or do multiple things every single day cos even the free stuff you don’t have to do a skydive every day, but even the free stuff you can open your eyes to so much more.
I totally agree.
Anyway guys, what do you think about all those life lessons. Do you think there is something else we learned? Did you learn something else during your gap year? So many questions . Make sure to comment below and let us know if you do have any questions and comment below as well and remember to we are going live very soon it’s gonna happen every single week where we’re gonna be spending an hour live on youtube answering your questions when you are planning or when you are in your trip in New Zealand and you have something you want to ask well the experts, which we probably are, now to give you a little bit of a teaser here is what is gonna be the little intro trailer for those live videos and with that that wraps it up for today, that was Robin and Laura from BackpackerGuide.NZ enjoy this new trailer.