Some people might wonder why I spent so much time in Fiji but never really made it to New Zealand. If you think it is because of money, you are wrong. I just never felt that deep connection to the land of the Kiwi.
I have traveled all over the Pacific. Let’s get real, how many people have actually visited the country of Tuvalu. After all, they only get 500 visitors that are not native to the island every year.
I have been to New Zealand three times because all my Samoans friends told me how amazing it is so I wanted to see it but I have to say it was a little disappointing. I guess their perspective is a little different than someone running around the world from the world’s largest economy.
New Zealand was like the hot chick at the bar. Gorgeous, but our connection was completely superficial and surface level. Sure, I can’t stop staring at you, but I need more substance.
When I left Nadi, a friend that I was talking to told me that New Zealand was just a more pricy version of Fiji. I went with my eyes and ears wide open. What could be different from the two countries. I knew that would be some differences but what was they? I mean, something besides the fact that Kim Dotcom was on trail!
As I traveled around the North Island (never made it to South Island), I was left wondering if what my friend in Fiji said was true. It did start to seem a lot like the Fijian Islands…. but the pricy were triple for everything!
I will be the first to admit that I could be biased toward the Samoans and Fijians (I have traveled both countries tip to tip) but I just did not feel that same warmth from the New Zealanders.
Benefit for New Zealand
As a traveler (as most people that follow Travel the Fire! are), there could be a case made for Auckland as a home base. It is much easier to travel to about every Pacific nation from their airport than is it from Nadi International Airport. In fact, you can now travel from Auckland all the way to Malaysia pretty cheap.
If you do travel a lot, you could actually justify basing there when you consider the cost of travel an extra leg to get to some locations. An example of this is the Cook Islands that is not serviced from Fiji and you can forget it from Samoa!
It worked out for me to get to most of the places that I need to get from Fiji and I found that living in the land of Bula was just a better fit for me. Many of the remote places that have airports are linked to New Zealand with a stop in Fiji so if nothing else, I could still get the flight to places like Kirabati.