We certainly started our big fat travel adventure with a lot of energy. We packed so much into our first month of travel; driving from Paihia in the North Island all the way down to Queenstown in the South Island. We travelled by car, trains, boats, helicopters and planes. We saw glaciers, rainforests, mountains and volcanoes. We hiked, we jumped, we luged, we parachuted and we swam.
We kicked off our travel adventure with a month-long trip around New Zealand. Here’s a breakdown of our New Zealand travel costs,  from food and accommodation to activities and transport. 
Milford Sound has been dubbed the eighth Wonder of the World and is one of the most visited attractions in New Zealand, so we couldn’t miss out on taking a boat trip to this talked-about fjord. By the time we arrived in Queenstown we were exhausted from our whirlwind month of travel in New Zealand; in the space of a week we’d been skydiving, glacier hiking and spent hours behind the wheel, so a chilled-out boat trip on Milford Sound and some amazing scenery was just what we needed.

New Zealand was the first stop on our trip and it proved the perfect country to start our new life of travel. Here’s the lowdown on the best places we visited, our overall impressions of the country and some tips for backpacking around New Zealand.

It’s been a month since we set off on our travels, so how are we coping? Has it been everything we thought it would be? Are we at each other’s throats yet? Here’s how we’re adapting to our new life of travel.

We arrived in New Zealand physically and mentally exhausted. Those last few weeks before leaving were so emotional and stressful; it was a relief to finally be away from the strangeness of those final days. We launched straight into an overnight boat cruise and moved quickly from one place to the next, packing our time with activities. In hindsight this could have caused a complete meltdown, but it actually worked out well for us; seeing as much as possible and taking on new challenges stopped us from dwelling on the massive upheaval we’d just gone through.
Here we go’, says my Tandem skydiver, manoeuvring me towards the edge of bottomless blue. I feel the rush of air as the plane door opens; hear the thunder of the engine, the roar of the wind and somewhere in the distance a voice in my ear telling me to tilt my head back. I don’t remember seeing anything in those last few seconds, but the photos show my eyes are wide open, staring at the bright ceiling above as if in silent prayer. My only memory of dangling 13,000 feet in the air is the electric terror, of feeling every fibre of my body scream in unison: ‘No’ And then we fell.

There are some things we never had the time or inclination to do back in England – taking a seven hour hike up the side of a mountain was one of them. Only weeks after leaving the UK, however, we found ourselves battling up steep slopes and slipping over loose volcanic rock on our epic journey up Mount Tongariro in New Zealand.

When we first arrived in New Zealand I wrote that it felt oddly familiar, like the UK with warmer weather and different accents but over the last three weeks as we’ve criss-crossed our way down the North Island this initial impression has faded almost completely. As we’ve hiked up volcanic islands, soaked on hot-water beaches, wandered around steaming orange lakes and explored underground caves lit up with glowworms I’ve begun to feel like I couldn’t be any further away from the UK – in fact, at times I’ve felt like I could  be on an entirely different planet.

Everyone tells you not to plan too far in advance when you travel. Of course, when planning our trip we completely ignored this advice and scheduled our New Zealand itinerary in precise detail before we left London. It’s only now that we’re actually on the road that we realise how important it is to be flexible; as I type this we’re sat in Taupo, which has the hugest lake in Australasia, plenty of cute bars and cafes and a relaxed atmosphere – as soon as we arrived on a random afternoon trip we loved it and wanted to stay. Luckily we were able to check out of our extremely average hostel in smelly Rotorua and head back here, despite our rigid itinerary.