Must-sees for Kiwi travellers
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There is a small country at the bottom of the Earth, that many people in the world don’t even know exists.
Though many do make the effort to travel to New Zealand and some put it on their bucket list, others will never make it to our bottom corner of the South Pacific.
For New Zealanders however, having to travel long distances is not really optional. For us to get anywhere, see anything, a fair amount of travel is involved.
And following in the footsteps of many Kiwi wanderers (and to be honest, mostly warriors) there are some places in the world that are simply "must-sees" for the indelible mark we’ve left there.
It might not be advisable for every Kiwi to try scaling this one, but a trip to the Himalayas and to base camp is manageable. It will forever hold a place in hearts of New Zealanders just as the man who famously "knocked the bastard off", will. Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascension of the world’s highest peak was no small achievement in 1953. It’s no small achievement now.
Hardly needing an explanation - nary a New Zealander exists that doesn’t know the significance of Gallipoli. Every year on April 25, Kiwis and Australians stop to remember the landing at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Turkey, where 2721 young New Zealand soldiers lost their lives. A dawn ceremony at Anzac Cove itself is an eerie experience, and although numbers of those who make the pilgrimage has exploded, it’s still worth getting a look in.
Rewi Alley’s China
Rewi Alley is perhaps the most famous New Zealander in China. He settled in Beijing in 1953. A secret member of the Communist Party, He was a prolific writer about China, and travelled to speak on behalf of international peace agencies, such as the World Peace Council. His house in Beijing now houses the offices of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. One of his favourite places in China was Fenghuang Town. He wrote it was the most beautiful place in the country. It’s definitely up there.
Flanders Fields - Passchendaele, Ypres and The Somme
Ticking off some the most famous battlegrounds from World War I - Flanders Fields encompass those battles which were fought across Belgium and France. We proudly don poppies to replicate the ones that grow in some of these places as a commemoration to the lives of soldiers lost on European soil. There are specifically-run tours with New Zealanders in mind - they are eerily moving and a fantastic history lesson.
This town loves New Zealanders. New Zealand troops only liberated the town from the clutches of the German infantry in 1918, after all. In the far north of France a small town exists with only about 5000 inhabitants. There, Kiwis will find a warm welcome. The town has a proud memorial dedicated to the day New Zealand troops decided to storm the town, but carefully protect it’s structural heritage - something the Quercitains, as they’re known, really appreciated.
Last year marked the 70th anniversary of El Alamein - the longest and most important land campaign fought by New Zealanders in the Second World War. Almost 10,000 New Zealanders were killed or wounded, and more than 4,000 became prisoners of war during the North African Campaign. More than 1100 New Zealanders are buried in the El Alamein Commonwealth War Graves cemetery. Some of our remaining veterans of the battle trekked back over for memorial ceremonies, and if given the opportunity, every other New Zealander should too.
New Zealand does a lot of good in this area, and although opportunities are slim, if you do get the chance to head down there, it is a sight to behold. Pure white - I’m sure most people can imagine it, though not fully grasp it until seen first hand. Scott’s Base is New Zealand’s scientific hub down there, but it’s not the kind of place people just get to tour around. The New Zealand Antarctic Trust puts a lot of work into restoring some of the most famed explorers’ huts. Even if you can’t get there, you can always take a virtual tour of Ernest Shackleton’s hut.