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Anna-Maria in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Anna-Maria

New Zealand Specialist

My love story with New Zealand started in the early 2000s when The Lord of the Rings first appeared on my TV screen. I was mesmerized by the landscapes shown in the trilogy and the vastness of it all. It left me with a feeling that is quite hard to explain — I simply couldn’t understand how places like that existed in the world. Growing up in Poland, New Zealand always seemed like a dream — it was so far away and impossible to reach. That intense fondness of the country stayed with me throughout adolescence and followed me as I moved to Wales at the age of 18 to study Film, spent a year working in North America, and then moved to London for good. Eventually, I followed my heart and found my place at Audley, joining our Australasia team as a New Zealand specialist.

New Zealand holds a special place in my heart and visiting it for the first time was like stepping into a dream — it was the feeling of freedom, of being surrounded by nature's raw beauty at every turn. Together, we'll create an itinerary that perfectly suits your preferences and ensures every moment of your journey is truly unforgettable.

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Audley Travel Specialist Anna-Maria

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Q&A with Anna-Maria

Dusky dolphins, Kaikoura

What’s your most vivid travel moment?

This has to be swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura. It’s hard not to become enchanted by this little seaside town and seeing the dolphins that inhabit Kaikoura's beautiful blue waters up close really brought the magic to life. I decided to join the 5am group to catch the sunrise — I was quite tired and worried about the cold water, but the wetsuit and excitement kept me warm throughout the whole experience. The dolphins were so friendly and kept circling around us, coming so close that touching them wouldn’t be a problem (however, we weren’t allowed to). We got to spend around 45 minutes snorkelling and playing with these lovely creatures in their natural habitat. Their playful energy and elegant movements will forever be something I'll want to experience whenever I visit New Zealand.

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Where would you love to travel next?

I would love to explore Alaska next for its untamed wilderness, majestic glaciers, and diverse wildlife. I'm also drawn to experiencing the unique culture and history of Alaska's Indigenous communities. The allure of remote landscapes and the chance to witness the northern lights makes it an irresistible destination for adventure and awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Anna-Maria enjoying the landscapes of New Zealand

Your best piece of travel advice?

Travel with an open mind and heart, and you'll discover the true essence of your destination. Embrace spontaneity and immerse yourself in the local culture. Allow yourself to wander off the beaten path, follow your curiosity, and savour spontaneous moments. Some of the most memorable experiences arise from unplanned moments and interactions with locals. I think there’s nothing better than broadening your worldview and deepening your appreciation for the world's richness and diversity.