New Zealand

The year was 2021. New Zealand still isolated from the rest of the world. Borders closed for most of the year - thus the entire Kiwi backcountry a haven for trampers. Most tracks were empty and huts were available at a short moment's notice. I made the most of the situation and tramped my heart out.

A display of New Zealand's finest tramps on the South Island as experienced by a Dutchman with too much spare time on his hands.

Humblebrag: my 2020 was awesome. Once again I am forever grateful that I got to spend this year in New Zealand... and these two aftermovies will show you why!

A backpacker's life in Aotearoa. In July of 2019 I flew to New Zealand for the first half of my working holiday visa. In November my mother and sister joined me and together we travelled for close to four weeks throughout New Zealand. What a year! Here are four montages I made of those few months in New Zealand.

The ultimate road trip.
What do you get when you put two Middle-Earth nerds in one car? An epic 7 week journey through the most beautiful country in the world.

It is 2015, I have been back at work for less than 5 months, and it was time for another adventure. Back to New Zealand, back to where my love for travel and the outdoors truly began. It was a one-way rental from Auckland to Christchurch. After exploring the North Island for just over two weeks - from Cape Reinga to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and from Miramar to the Waitomo Caves - we got on the Interislander to spend the next 5 weeks touring the South Island.

Skydiving in Wanaka, jumping off rocks at the Pelorus Bridge and kayaking at dawn in Milford Sound, just to name a few activities we loved on the South Island. Hiking a section of the Routeburn Track, summiting Isthmus Peak and doing a couple of coastal walks on the West Coast. No shortage of epic footage for movies and pictures.  

Here is the aftermovie of 7 amazing weeks in New Zealand with a rental car.

The moving images in this video were filmed with a GoPro Hero 3+ and iPhone 6 and edited together with iMovie.


The Diviners - Tropic Love

Kodaline - High Hopes (filous Remix)

After finishing secondary school in the Netherlands at the age of 16, I was given the opportunity to spend a year abroad. Ever since watching the Lord of the Rings as a kid with my dad in the cinema in Utrecht, I had always wanted to visit the Land of the Long White Cloud..and this was the perfect opportunity! I spent one year, living with a lovely host family, in the small village of Wanaka, attending the local High School (Mount Aspiring College). Many friends were made and many adventures were had.

I wrote a weekly travel diary as well! If you are keen on reading more about my adventures please head here Reismee Thomas Merkus (Dutch). 

To create a more visual log of my exchange year in New Zealand, I made the following 8 videos displaying my year (Dutch).

Language and Culture Camp - 2009

The start of my exchange year

Mount Aspiring College Term 3 - 2009

The first of four terms at a local high school in Wanaka, New Zealand

South Island Discovery Tour - 2009

Between terms 3 and 4 I joined an organized tour to discover the South Island. I met up with some of my mates from the Language & Culture Camp who joined me on the tour and had an amazing few weeks skydiving and jetboating.

Mount Aspiring College Term 4 - 2009

My second term attending Mount Aspiring College.

Summer Holidays - 2010

Halfway through my exchange I went exploring. Up north to Auckland for Christmas with my host family and for a South Island road trip with my father and stepmom. 

Mount Aspiring College Term 1 - 2010

My third term attending Mount Aspiring College.

Ultimate North Island Tour - 2010

As a final part of my exchange year I joined an organized tour to see more of the North Island. Just like with the South Island tour many of my friends were also on this tour and we had a blast seeing more of the North Island.

Mount Aspiring College Term 2 - 2010

My fourth term attending Mount Aspiring College.