Today we chat with instagrammer Anna Lost in Paradise about her travels over the last year through New Zealand.
Anna Lost in Paradise is the instagram account for Anna-Carina, a 25 year old from Lake Constance in South Germany. She has a Bachelor of Arts/ Honours in Cross Media Production & Publishing at SAE/ Cologne. This degree contains subjects like journalism, photography, social-media, marketing and advertising. She specialized in landscape and nature photography. After interning with an agency, Anna decided to take off to travel! So far, Anna has traveled to Fiji, New Zealand and several cities throughout Europe. The next countries on her list are England, Scotland, the Czech Republic and Scandinavia.
TTL: What was your biggest hurdle- or the thing holding you back the most- from traveling sooner?
Anna: I guess the biggest hurdle for everyone interested in traveling is saving money, as was it in my case. I had to budget for flights, accommodation, transportation and food, as well as plan for activities like sight-seeing, cruises, skydiving etc. The second hurdle was the essential pre-organization: applying for visas, planning the trip and transportation, packing my backpack, planning vacations etc. To be well prepared is more than half the battle!
TTL: New Zealand has amazing hiking, from what I hear. Do you have a favorite hike?
Anna: Hiking and tramping in New Zealand is truly amazing! (Quick explanation: “tramping” in New Zealand means walking or climbing on an unmarked trail). To be surrounded by this beautiful, pure, untouched nature, where you can listen to birds and witness stunning views is worth every drop of your sweat! For me personally, tramping on the South Island was a lot better then on the North Island*. It’s just such raw nature down there and there’s less people as well! I absolutely loved the hike up to the Pylon (1835m) and Cascade Saddle in Mt. Aspiring National Park! What a wonderful view of the Dart glacier, Mt. Aspiring and down the whole Matukituki Valley! Other amazing hikes were throughout the whole Fiordland and on Stewart Island, where trampers can experience complete isolation, far from civilization.
*New Zealand’s South Island is renowned for its mountains, lakes and glaciers, coastline, ski fields and hiking trails. Divided by the Southern Alps mountain range, it’s home to Aoraki Mt. Cook and several national parks. The North Island is significantly more populated (three quarters of New Zealand’s population), and is known for its volcanic activity, national parks and cosmopolitan cities.
TTL: Why did you pick to travel to New Zealand?
Anna: I don’t think I picked New Zealand; rather, it picked me:) I wanted to explore the country ever since I was eight years old. It’s the nature and exploring, every part of which fascinates me. Even after a year, I still haven’t seen enough of this wonderful country! That’s why I thought to apply for a residence visa;) Those endless soft shaped green hills, the wild, (or sometimes calm) pure, blue ocean with its white or black sand, old trees covered in moss, deep forests… it’s the diversity that makes this country so rich and unique!
TTL: You mention that you took your Jeep down dead end roads and into the unknown- any favorite hidden spots you’d be willing to share?
Anna: Driving into the unknown is a part of traveling I recommend to everyone! It is the only way to (really) explore the country. Once, I was in a lonely place where I saw 20 wild bottle-nosed dolphins with babies and swam with them for the whole day. It was magic! I cannot tell all my secret spots, but a few worth mentioning:
TTL: Do you find it hard to stay healthy/active while you travel?
Anna: Personally, this year I was the more active than I’ve ever been! When you’re doing yoga on the beach, surfing or hiking five to eight hours a day, it’s hard to be unfit! Also, it’s a myth that backpackers just eat out of tins or consume only pre-cooked meals (although some do exactly that). Why would I eat unhealthy when I can enjoy a nice salad with mussels or a fish I caught on my own?
TTL: Accommodations: do you stay at hostels or hotels, Airbnb, couch surf? Or a combination of several?
Anna: To be honest, the backpacker’s life in New Zealand is best lived when you travel by car. That means that you eat, sleep and live in that car, which is what I do. Of course, I’ve occasionally stayed in hostels or at friends’ places for a bed or a hot shower. But this is a price you must be willing to pay! It’s all about adventuring and I think this is the only way you can really explore, especially because there are a lot of remote areas in New Zealand- with no hotels or cities nearby. But what could be better than falling asleep while you hear the sound of the waves or waking up between high mountains or brushing your teeth while watching a whale passing by?
TTL: Have you bought any local goods or souvenirs on your travels?
Anna: Of course! I’ve purchased some souvenirs for friends, family and even for myself. There are lots of beautiful items you can purchase made from recycled New Zealand woods, like Rimu or Kauri. I really love the unique jewelry made by New Zealand designers. One of my favorite pieces is a silver ring with a wood pigeon by Sterling.
TTL: Have you learned any essential tips or about any cool places from locals?
Anna: The Kiwis and Maori** are the most helpful and kind folks I’ve ever met! They’ll share the best places to fish and hike, and some will even invite you to dinner and tp stay in their house with their family! If you are “real” with them, they’ll tell you everything. Just be open-minded and helpful too!
*The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Māori is also an official language of New Zealand; the greeting, Kia Ora means ‘welcome’ in Māori.