Some Ideas Around Holidaying at Home
Over the years there have been several media campaigns in New Zealand aiming to get New Zealanders to explore their own country before heading off on holiday overseas. The best-remembered of these had the slogan, “Don’t leave town until you’ve seen the country.” Even more valid now than it was then.
Each year, pre-COVID-19, about 1 million New Zealanders headed overseas for a holiday. These sorts of numbers would suggest that the campaigns encouraging us to holiday at home were not that successful. However, for quite some time post-COVID-19, not only in New Zealand but throughout the world, holidaying at home will likely be the new norm.
So how could that look?
There is no doubt in my mind that the COVID-19 crisis will pass, and that in its passing, we will forget the looming and even bigger crisis of dealing with the effects of climate change. Being conscious and involved in mitigating this is vital in how we need to see the future of tourism and travel.
So here are some thoughts, especially about getting outside and exploring both the regional and natural wonders of our country.
Fully exploring and immersing oneself in a region before moving on. Doing this has the effect of reducing carbon emissions from travel, spreading the positive impact of tourism spending throughout the country, and critically, the potential for a far richer experience as you interact more with the locals and explore the hidden gems that are always waiting to be found.
Visit your region’s website to get inspiration for a local holiday
I have certainly been guilty of the classic drive-through holiday. The drive-through holiday becomes focused on getting to “there”, the destination rather than the joy of the journey. Travelling like this tends to leave me exhausted and grumpy. Well, slow travel is the opposite of that.
Slow travel is not just about a more relaxed car journey. There have never been more options to explore this country by non-fossil fueled transport, whether that be by bicycle, foot, rafts, kayaks, canoes, horses, or even a combination of the above. Some of these can easily be done on your own. Others are well supported by various operators, whether that be shuttles, equipment hire, or fully guided with everything included.
Our cycle trails are being developed and added to all the time. The diversity of paths means there is something there for all riding abilities. There is much excellent information online about the options.
Our National Parks and Forest Parks have well-maintained tracks and huts offering a vast range of hiking and more serious tramping opportunities for all abilities and experience.
The popularity of multi-day river trips had already been steadily growing before the pandemic. River trips come in various degrees of length and suitability for different age groups. They can be a great multi-day holiday adventure for families. River Valley offers a number of these types of trips.
While most people would not think about exploring by horse, there are several multi-day horse treks available in New Zealand. These do however primarily cater for more experienced riders. River Valley Stables has both two day and eight-day options, as well as Lodge based horse riding holidays.
Just the few options mentioned above offer enormous opportunities, full of fun, adventure, and often some comfort as well, all without hopping on an international flight.
I must say I am looking forward to getting on my bike and exploring a few of those cycle trails. What would be your choice?