What I discovered about myself after reuniting with my long-lost uncle on holiday

I started doing a huge amount of walking: beach walks on the North Island; forest and mountain walks on the South; then hiking through Arthur’s Pass near Christchurch and around Queenstown. It was magical – like the most beautiful parts of the Dales, Cumbria and the Lakes all stitched together, mile after mile of magnificent rolling hills, mountains, lakes. It all felt so familiar, yet so intoxicatingly different, and I felt my mind ease for the first time in years.

It stays with you, a trip like that. I realised that I loved the outdoors, and that I yearned for peaceful, quiet places. When I returned to the UK, I made a point of knitting this into my everyday life, making myself slide into a Kiwi mindset whenever life gets too hectic, making time to go to places and wind down, making an effort to get out into nature , to the Lakes, to Hadrian’s Wall.

I’ll be forever grateful to New Zealand for teaching me this calmer, richer way of life – another planet, indeed.

As told to Nicola Venning. George Clarke has partnered with smart-home security brand Arlo (arlo.com).


How to explore New Zealand

Walking

The 14-day South Island Explorer tour starts and ends in Christchurch, exploring New Zealand’s South Island via a combination of short hikes and cruises, taking in the beaches of Abel Tasman National Park, the Marlborough Sounds, Aoraki Mt Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain , and the thousands of waterfalls at Milford Sound, as well as parts of the Routeburn and Kepler Tracks. Active Adventures gives each of their tours an “activity level” rating out of five and scores this one a 1-2, meaning it’s done at a gentle pace and you needn’t be in tip-top shape to take part.

How to do it: From £5,549 per person, departures throughout 2022 and 2023 (0808 234 7780; activeadventures.com).

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