Travelers experiences. Discovering New Zealand with Dana and Pablo

Dana and Pablo

It’s been a month since I was working at Kepler Restaurant in Te Anau in Fiordland, when Dana and Pablo arrived. A ray of joy and smile in a slightly morose atmosphere. We became friend immediately and it was a pleasure to work and exchange with them for three months. No matter the situation they are always in a good mood! My greatest regret when I left Te Anau was to leave them behind. But life is well done since they will be in Wellington in April and so do I! The opportunity to meet again for an evening and exchange on our respective journeys!


Hello Dana and Pablo. Can you introduce yourself ?

Hi! We´re Dana and Pablo and we have been together for 12 years. We´re Argentinian and we love travelling. We met travelling and haven´t stopped so far. We lived in different areas in our country: we met in Patagonia and we also lived in Buenos Aires. The last place where we lived before arriving in NZ was Mar del Plata, a beautiful city near the beach. Pablo is a chef and Dana is a Literature teacher, but we don´t mind doing different jobs, as we can always learn new things. Now, we are working together in a restaurant in Te Anau, Pablo as a chef and Dana as a waitress.

Since how long are you travelling ? And how ?

We arrived in New Zealand last August 2016, and lived in Lower Hutt -near Wellington- for 2 months. After that we decided to move on, so we came to Te Anau in November. Now we are facing our last month at work (february 2017), as we will be going back to Wellie next April because Dana got a funded place to do her PhD there.
We´re travelling by car. We bought our Lorney -that´s his name- in Wellie, it was quite cheap and we fixed it so we could carry a mattress in the back seats. It´s our moving home, and we do ¨car camping¨ quite often.

What is New Zealand for you ? What do you like in this country ?

At the beginning, before getting off that plane that left us in Wellington some months ago, NZ was an isolated country, far far away from home, two little islands in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. In those times, NZ was All Blacks, sheep and incredible landscapes. Now things have changed quite a lot, as we had the chance to drive around this beautiful country and fall in love with its mountains, lakes and forests. People here are one of the kindest and nicest in the world, so relaxed and open minded that at the beginning we found it quite hard to believe. It was just that we couldn´t believe that people could actually be so nice without even knowing you. It took us some time to realize that that´s the way they are -or most of them are-, and we found out that being surrounded by kind people makes you kinder as well, changes you.
We´ve also noticed that NZ is really ‘backpacker friendly’. There are public toilettes every 50 km on the road, neat and tidy, good quality camping sites in every little town, the roads are really well signposted and in excellent condition. Some towns even have public showers!

Do you have a travel philosophy ?

We actually don´t know what a travel philosophy could be. What we´re sure about is that we try to learn and live new experiences in every place that we go, and we consider that travelling allows us to put ourselves in this type of situations all the time. We prefer low budget options, not only because, of course, it´s what we can afford, but also because you gain independence and you´re able to face situations that you wouldn´t if you were staying in a 5 star hotel. We are respectful and curious about nature and people, and our basic philosophy is experience to learn, to open our minds to new things, new languages, new people and new landscapes. That is, in our opinion, one of the things that makes you grow but not age, keep our childish curiosity and learn every day.

Your best memories or difficulties ?

Arriving the first day was fantastic. One of our closest friends lives in Wellington, and he went to pick us up with Dana´s sister, who is here on a Working Holiday as well (and we´ll see her soon!!). Walking for the first time in those streets was just amazing!! Then meeting new friends there, really nice people, with interesting stories to tell and coming from really different backgrounds! Then, buying our first car (our first car ever, not only in NZ) and starting planning our trip to Te Anau. And the trip itself was fantastic! We were over the moon! Picton, Nelson, Abel Tasman, Takaka, Canaan Downs, Westport, Owen River, Punakaki Rocks, Hokitika Gorge, Arthurs Pass, Castle Hill, Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki and Mt. Cook, Twizel, Cromwell, Queenstown, Glenorchy, Kinloch, Manapouri and finally Milford Sound!!
Difficulties? First, getting used to dinner time here! Our first month, we insisted in looking for place to have dinner around 10pm, that is when we have dinner in Argentina. Everything was closed, and if we found a place open it was about to close, so we felt guilty and didn´t want to come in! First days here were hungry days for dinner!! Hahahaha…
Second, a bad story with our first and only flatmate in Petone… she was insane!! That´s what brought us here to the South, so good on her!

The future for you is scary or not ?

It’s not scary but challenging. New life in Wellington, carrying on PhD studies for Dana, looking for a new job for Pablo, finding a place that we like and can afford, making it ours for a period of time, feeling at home again, in a new place, as we have been doing so far. Challenging because we´ve never lived in a foreign country before, and this looks like a long term project. Excited too about all the new experiences that are out there waiting for us!

A recipe which illustrates New Zealand for you ?

We think that local pies! There are pies everywhere here, and every town has its own local pie! Besides, we work next to THE pie shop in Te Anau, so it´s really connected to our experience of this place. Fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, of course, are a must in NZ, as well as -believe it or not- Indian and Asian food, which were quite a novelty for us and here it seems to be one of the kiwi´s favourites!

A big thanks to you, Dana and Pablo !

Dana and Pablo

Dana and Pablo

Dana and Pablo

Dana and Pablo

Follow the adventures of Dana and Pablo on Babilonio Rucula


_ about

Talks is a dive into the lives of the locals and the travel experiences of the backpackers I met on the road.

_ browse

To discover more Talks, it’s this way !