Whether you're leaving for good or just a little while, leaving New Zealand is tragic. Nowhere else in the world has quite the same charm and wit as Aotearoa, and once you're gone, you start to miss the little things that make New Zealand so great.
1. Referring to people as Kiwis
Only New Zealanders are Kiwis. It'll be hard not to see Kiwis on a daily basis. Or anything kiwi-related, for that matter. Those freaky little birds hold a special place in your heart.
2. Kiwi friendliness
Kiwis won't hesitate to start a friendly conversation with strangers. Everybody is friends with one another. (Major plus: the dogs are friendly too!)
Interacting with a localKelsey Radigan
3. Kiwi slang
Talking about your jandals, stopping by the dairy, thanking your friends with a "Chur bro."
4. Stunning landscapes
Unique beaches, beautiful mountains, luscious bush, magical lakes, and huge glaciers.
No matter where you are in New Zealand, a beach isn't too far away. And no matter how many you go to, they're all incredibly different and have their own charm (plus they're free!).
Sunset at Mt. PleasantKelsey Radigan
5. Iconic food
New Zealand is full of classic sweet foods like L&P, Tim Tams, Cadbury chocolate, pineapple lumps, and Hokey Pokey ice cream.
There are also some notable savory goods, like pies, and garlic aioli for your chips. Ketchup is arguably the better condiment, but that creamy garlic aioli hits the spot (and some places have vegan aioli too--I'm looking at you, BurgerFuel!).
6. Starry night skies
The sky is clear and full of millions of stars. If you're in New Zealand, you're guaranteed to be blown away come nightfall.
Stars in TekapoKelsey Radigan
7. Walking around barefoot
This is a totally normal thing in New Zealand, and you've slowly grown accustomed to it. Even at the food store or local dairy, it's not uncommon to see that people left their jandals at home. There's something quite freeing about having dirty Hobbit feet and not caring.
A great deal of New Zealand's diverse wildlife is unseen anywhere else in the world.
Seal in KaikouraKelsey Radigan
9. Independent cafes and eateries
Because who needs another Starbucks or food chain when really awesome local places can hold their own?
10. The sense of adventure all around you
It could be something as extreme as bungy jumping or skydiving in Queenstown, or maybe you're tramping through the bush on your day off, or waking up on top of a mountain. Adventure is around every corner in New Zealand, and it always finds you.
Cape ReingaKelsey Radigan
11. The laid-back lifestyle.
Kiwis are chill and care-free, and life is simple.
They became a part of every road trip, every open field, every backpacking adventure. They're everywhere, and you may love them more than the people. Because you'll be seeing them significantly less anywhere else, it's hard not to miss them.
There's much more to miss than what's on this list, and I think everyone can agree that it would be worth it to make your way back home.