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Hey, New Zealand, I’m Just Not That Into You

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new-zealandIt’s like the tourism Gods were punishing me. Last Wednesday at pub trivia, I let my true feelings about my upcoming trip to New Zealand come out. See, New Zealand and I have a relationship that is based on convenience rather than passion; it’s never really been on my list of places to see, and believe me, there are very few countries that aren’t on that list. For some reason, my intrigue has just never been there.

Yet, this is my second trip to the land of the kiwi, and already it feels like a repeat of the first. Perhaps, I just don’t learn from my mistakes; perhaps the information I received last year wasn’t correct. Whatever it was, I was left shaking my head at the check-in counter as I frantically texted Pat to tell him that, yet again, I was having trouble getting to New Zealand.

If you weren’t a follower before, you can read about last year’s antics here. Basically, it was my fault as I for some reason thought I could enter New Zealand without any flight leaving the country. The goal was to buy my flight back as soon as I got my work and holiday visa as I wasn’t sure if they would require me to get another chest x-ray. But, Jetstar caught me and made me buy a ticket exiting New Zealand before I could get my boarding pass. This is when I went down to the service desk and bought a return ticket to Australia. Problem solved, sort of, since I actually had to change that flight since it took longer to process my visa than most other people.

This year, I was prepared! I simply bought a return ticket to Australia as I did before. However, there was a problem. My visa for Australia was expiring before the return date of my ticket, which means I didn’t have a ticket exiting New Zealand to a country I had permission to enter. Long story short, I had to purchase a ticket from New Zealand to America.

The problem here was two-fold. One, I should have double-checked the visa requirements like a good traveler. Two, the information I received the previous year was either incorrect (my visa expired before my return ticket then as well), or they had upgraded the requirement since then. Me dumb.

To make things worse, I hate cold weather, and I really hate snow. I’ve never been skiing; I have no desire to ski (especially with my bad knee). What else is going on in New Zealand?! I was really hoping to redeem NZ in my mind after my previous trip, but with a start like that, it is going to take a lot of impressing to fix. First impressions are the hardest to shake.

This, my friends, is a clear example of a travel fail.

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15 Responses to Hey, New Zealand, I’m Just Not That Into You

  1. Caz Makepeace July 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    Those damn Kiwis! Always causing trouble. He He You sound like a true Australian! That sounds like a nightmare. I hope your trip gets better. Visas can cause such a headache, i wish we could all just come and go like we please.

    • Brooke July 18, 2010 at 9:59 am #

      Seriously. But, it’s OK now that I’m here 😉 I got a sweet room in a place kind of like a fancy hostel, and Christchurch is kind of cute. Love all the cafes.

  2. Matt July 18, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Aha! Slowly, New Zealand will begin to grow on you and you won’t go back across the Tasman! Hopefully your stay continues to improve. How long are you here again?

    While you’re in CHC, check out Winnebagos (spelling?) for the best pizza in New Zealand. I recommend the Spicy Moroccan Lamb – I’ve considered booking cheap airline tickets back to Christchurch – just for the pizza!!

    Made plans for the rest of your stay? Getting up to Kaikoura?

  3. Ant July 18, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    There’s no snow in sunny Wellington! We do have a film festival going on, and yours truly would be happy to show you round the sites…!

    I can understand your frustration with immigration. Me and Reb (my gf) had a nightmare too. We applied for NZ WHV over two months before our Aus visa expired, and it still went down to the wire. Then NZ Immigration LOST our registered post delivery. Then we got to the airport and were told we couldn’t enter NZ without an onward journey — which is pretty impossible if you’re going to a country for TWO YEARS!

    There’s so much more to this, but I can’t face revisiting the nightmare!!

    Just to say — Wellington is only a few degrees colder than Sydney right now : )

  4. Dustin Main - Skinny Backpacker July 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Although I’ll admit that the proof of onward journey is a huge PITA (I had an issue, though not quite as down-to-the-wire as you), and immigration tore through my bags like I was a tired, emotionally drained, backpacking terrorist, I still love NZ. So much awesome in such a small place.

  5. Melissa July 18, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    OMG. I am so happy I found this post. I’m not really into New Zealand either. I’ve been told a million times I need to see it, so I have always said, “okay, I will go.” But I don’t want to, and now that I know I’m not alone in that thought, I probably won’t. 😀 BTW, the picture you have posted up there looks like downtown Seattle on Pike Street between 3rd and 4th avenues, which is a place I have been many times and would gladly go to again! 😀

  6. Rebecca July 20, 2010 at 2:12 am #

    if you hate cold and snow, DO NOT GO TO THE SOUTH ISLAND!!!!
    it’s not very cold and it never snows in AKL.

    i got caught in the same boat as you with return tickets. the first (and 2 times following) i entered NZ on a work visa, so i didn’t need proof of return ticket and the first time i entered as a “tourist” i actually had a return ticket, but it was on a different airline and i didn’t have a copy on hand. so stupid qantas (i blame them, not NZ because i didn’t have to show proof when i passed NZ immigration) made me head on over to the AirNZ desk (my return ticket) and get a print out of proof of my return.

    don’t blame NZ on your flight problems!

    • Brooke July 20, 2010 at 8:05 am #

      I’m not. It just adds to the fact that I don’t really want to be here and hate all the circumstances surrounding it. Plus, I’m broke.

  7. Rebecca July 20, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    sounds like a plan!

    when you finally leave that lame American imitation (Australia) behind and get to NZ because of all the awesome things you heard and will find out they are so true, your mind will change:-)

  8. Dina July 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Hahaha, we know how each other feels about NZ 🙂
    This reminds me in the last Sydney Tribe Tweetup, I almost got attacked by some Ozzies (maybe Tony and somebody else) because I said NZ is my fav country. At least I definitely got their stinky eyes!

    I’m sorry about the visa and ticketing hassles. Maybe if minus that, and if Pat is around, you will enjoy NZ more?

    For me, the charm of NZ is not in the major cities. Maybe Auckland is my least favourite spot in there, and we didn’t even bother spending time inside the Christchurch (not that we don’t think Christchurch won’t be pretty and interesting, but our time was super limited, we had to make sacrifices). The countryside, nature, and wildlife are the reason that I love this place so much 🙂

    If you check out my blog, the South Island 2 weeks itinerary article is right there in the homepage 😀 Just in case you want some inspiration of things to do!

  9. Andi August 5, 2010 at 5:10 am #

    You know what I love? No matter how many challenges we travelers encounter, we STILL continue to travel. 🙂

  10. Lauren Fritsky August 5, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    My friends and I just encountered problems on the way to Auckland two weeks ago. They not only gave them problems with their visitor visas to Oz, but my working holiday as well. Same thing with the onward ticket, and we had them.

    Sometimes it’s disheartening to learn that there are barriers to travel, but navigating them just makes you smarter and stronger!

  11. Steve `Grumpy" Collins August 12, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    I used to live in New Zealand and I managed to find plenty to do that didn’t involve snow or rugby union – but it did usually involve drinking.

  12. Sam August 17, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    Don’t worry Brooke, i grew up in ChCh, spent over 20 years there and i don’t see why anyone would want to live there.

    As Dina said – the beauty of NZ is not in the cities, its in the mountains, the rivers, the countryside and some of the most beautiful scenery to be found anywhere. (“,)

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