Welcome to our New Zealand Travel Blog DownsideUP

This blog is dedicated to inform and inspire you on all things to do with New Zealand and Australia. Actually we write posts on anything that’s of interest in the South Pacific (our home) DownsideUP was started in 2008, so there is plenty of interesting content to inspire you to visit us Down Under.  

Lisanne's Wellington Adventure
Lisanne
Submitted by
Lisanne Antenbrink

Lisanne, one of First Light Travel’s interns, travelled down the North Island to visit New Zealand’s capital. Being from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, she loves coffee, craft beer, and great food. In addition to that, she also is a huge the Lord of the Rings fan. As Wellington offers all listed above, it made perfect sense to pay the windy capital a visit.  Because of the limited time I would have in Wellington, I wanted to make most out of it. When looking up the city’s must-do’s, a few things caught my eye which were repeated everywhere.

Lisanne
Submitted by
Lisanne Antenbrink

New Zealand by Rail
Anne Baumscheiper
Submitted by
Anne Baumscheiper

Travelling New Zealand by rail is a bit more than just an efficient way to get around; in fact, because of our challenging landscape we actually don’t have a vast stretch of rail. But thanks to the amazing feats of engineering achieved by some hardy early pioneers, we’ve got some impressive rail journeys that criss-cross the country. In one just one trip, you can traverse snow-dusted mountain ranges, glide around glistening coastlines and sweep lush farmland dotted with bouncing lambs.  Here’s the low-down on exploring New Zealand by rail.

Anne Baumscheiper
Submitted by
Anne Baumscheiper

Where is Milford Sound?
Kirst Thorp
Submitted by
Kirsten Thorp

What do you picture when you think of New Zealand? Crystal-clear rivers twisting and turning through untouched forests, mountains dusted with snow and waterfalls cascading into bright blue pools? If so, you’ve definitely got Milford in mind. As one of the most famously beautiful places in New Zealand, “where is Milford Sound?” is a pretty common question that we get asked! Often referred to as “the eighth wonder of the world,” Milford Sound nestles majestically into the Southwest coast of the South Island, in the Fiordland region.   

Kirst Thorp
Submitted by
Kirsten Thorp

Things to do in Wanaka New Zealand
Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

Wanaka is nestled lakeside, surrounded by huge mountain ranges and protected nature reserves, it is like Queenstown’s charming little sister – a lovely little mix of small town warmth and a slow, relaxed pace in one of the most beautiful settings in New Zealand. If you love nature, adventure, relaxing, wine, or all of the above, you will find countless things to do in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

Top Tourist Attractions in the North Island New Zealand
Alex
Submitted by
Alex Bayes
Our little country packs quite a punch for its size -­ around every corner you’ll find diverse culture, unbelievable landscapes and colorful history – so we’ve handpicked the top tourist attractions in the North Island to give you a hand planning the most unforgettable New Zealand adventure.  
Alex
Submitted by
Alex Bayes

Jasmijn and Julia explore Hobbiton Middle Earth
Julia Schlichting
Submitted by
Julia Schlichting

Jasmijn and Julia two of First Light Travel's latest interns venture into the Waikato to explore Hobbiton Middle Earth the now famous movie set to see what all the fuss is about. Jasmijn is from Elst in the Eastern part of Holland near the German boarder and Julia is from Munich in Germany so both like the hobbits are no strangers to the delights of beer - but will the Hobbit village and especially the Green Dragon Inn meet their high expectations?  

Julia Schlichting
Submitted by
Julia Schlichting

Best Day Hikes in the South Island
Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

The South Island is the ‘crown jewel’ when it comes to hiking, offering an overwhelming amount of the best New Zealand day hikes set amongst an untouched wilderness. We’ve put in the miles for you and come up with six world-­class day walks to consider conquering on your South Island New Zealand vacation.

Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

Travelling Safely in New Zealand
Elizabeth Marshall
Submitted by
Elizabeth Marshall

It’s fair to say New Zealand’s a pretty safe place to travel, we have no poisonous snakes or dangerous animals and are populated by a small group of pretty laid back, genuinely friendly people. Hell, our police don’t even carry guns! – We have nothing to worry about! But 'Keeping it Real' there are few things you do need to be aware of, especially if you are planning to get out into the great outdoors.

Elizabeth Marshall
Submitted by
Elizabeth Marshall

New Zealand Wine Regions
Suzie
Submitted by
Suzie Thorp

 Love delicious, high-quality wine? Down under in New Zealand, so do we – and kiwi wine is known to be some of the best in the world! From the lightest of whites to the richest of reds, New Zealand’s mild climate, contrasting, fertile landscapes and innovative spirit create delicious vintages every single year. We reckon incorporating a couple of the best New Zealand wine regions into your self-drive vacation is a must. From Auckland to the Hawke’s Bay and the Gibbston Valley, here’s an overview of New Zealand wine regions and tours to help you get a feel for our finest drops.

Suzie
Submitted by
Suzie Thorp

Ashley & Jordi Dive the Poor Knights
Stephanie Kellenberger
Submitted by
Stephanie Kellenberger

We are Ashley & Jordi, Canadian & Dutch Tourism Management students in Amsterdam. As part of our studies we needed to complete a five month internship which we chose to do at First Light Travel in New Zealand. During our time there we were able to explore much of the beautiful country and one of our most unforgettable experiences was to dive the Knights Islands. A protected nature reserve with a rich Maori history, these uninhabited islands off the East coast of New Zealand’s North Island have now been labeled ‘tapu’ or sacred.

Stephanie Kellenberger
Submitted by
Stephanie Kellenberger

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