5 Things I Hate About New Zealand

Here’s a controversial topic, writing about the negative sides of travel. Everyone always writes and gushes about destinations but I find the frustrations more interesting. All you hear about are the top 10 places for this or the best avocado latte you HAVE to get at this trendy new place here. Those are fine and good but I wanna know about the underside of a place.

The stuff they don’t want to tell you about in the guidebooks but you end up finding out the hard way yourself. The things that frustrate you that you definitely won’t miss from a place once you’re gone. I’m not talking about taking cheap shots about obvious issues, or complaining about something that happened. Lauren was/is uncomfortable with this series idea fearing it might offend people but that’s one of my favorite things to do.

Lauren wanted me to pair it with 5 things I love about a place which is fair, but the 5 things I hate comes under the understanding and assumption that I don’t actually hate anywhere, and there are obviously way more wonderful things to write about a place than there are negatives.

It goes without saying that New Zealand is a beautiful country but like all places has some annoying things. So without further ado, here are the 5 things I hate about New Zealand:

  1. Really Shitty Wifi  

    Get it together New Zealand. You’re a fairly modern country, there’s no excuse as to why your wifi is so slow and expensive. Everyone needs the internet these days especially digital nomads. I’m not asking for wifi in public parks or anything obtuse but in your towns and cities don’t give me 100mb of wifi and call it “free”, that’s just insulting. 

  2. Negative Attitude Towards Camping/Free Camping

    Alright this one can/will/should be a longer rant but we felt a very palpable negative attitude towards campers while traveling around. From prohibiting free camping almost everywhere to all the angry signage about campers, really made us feel unwelcome for a country that is very popular with campers and RVs. 

  3. Sandflies

    This one really needs no explanation. If you’ve had to deal with these little buggers you’ll agree they’re the worst. Some areas on the South Island were so infested that we were trapped inside the camper or else be covered in bites itchier than mosquitos. Rumor has it that after 6,000 bites you become immune to the itch. 

  4. Wicked Camper Vans

    You can’t drive around New Zealand without one of the God awful eyesores crossing your path or puttering before you up a mountain road. I don’t know what poor life decisions people make that compels them to want to drive around in one of these things. 

  5. The Cheese

    Or lack thereof. Maybe we’re just spoiled by Europe, but two options of “Tasty” or “Mild” just doesn’t cut it.

Case and point


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  • Kellie's friend Liz :) says:

    I’m going on my honeymoon to New Zealand in December. Question about sandflies..were there any particular areas that were the worst? Like was it scary?

    I will be traveling all over the south island; and I’ve read a bunch about the sandflies…it’s kind of making me nervous.

    • Derek Ambrosio says:

      Don’t let the sandflies scare you! They’re obnoxious in some areas but nothing to worry about. They’re more aggressive than mosquitos but just an annoyance and not a real hazard. They start come out around at dusk and at night. They’re attracted to light. We left a window open without a screen and a bunch got in and swarmed the lights. We spend a few minutes on a killing spree getting rid of them. We didn’t have any issues with them on the North Island. On the South Island we noticed they were bad at some campsites more than others. It depends on the season and local conditions, some areas have higher concentrations than others.

      Get some bug spray with DEET to deter them and some anti-itch cream. Pants and long sleeves easily keep them from biting. Are you gonna be in a tent or camper?

  • Sterling says:

    Thank you for writing this article about an difficult subject. Everything good and bad you said is spot on (I didn’t notice the cheese thing, but definitely everything else). I traveled to New Zealand for a month in December/January and the negative attitude about tourists was a sad surprise.

    • Derek Ambrosio says:

      Haha, I’m glad you enjoyed my little rant. New Zealand was a beautiful country to explore. I just wish it wasn’t so hostile towards campers/tourism.

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