Verity Johnson: Sorry Reddit guy, NZ is not boring, you are

OPINION: A Reddit user has said the worst thing anyone can possibly say in New Zealand.

He argued this country is boring. He said that after two years of drinking at every bar in the Viaduct (first mistake right there), there was nothing to do in the country.

Before I go on, I'm going to say two things. One, I completely understand why he's saying this. Two, he's completely wrong.

I know this because I was this guy a few years ago.

I moved here from England in 2007, and despite a stint in Australia for university, and have called New Zealand home for a decade. For the first few years of living here I thought NZ was about as interesting as diet of cottage cheese.

Then I went to Australia, contracted gut-aching home sickness, and realised how cool this side of the Tasman actually is. And I realised the mistake I'd been making all along.

Yes, New Zealand is small. And it hides its pearls fiercely from lazy people who don't want to leave the Viaduct. But you can't confuse that with boring.

Unlike other, bigger countries, it does not ram all its wonders down you as soon as you land. Cities like Los Angeles or London scream 100 THINGS YOU MUST DO at you before you even leave airport customs.

We have all the brilliance and excitement of those cities. But you just have to look a bit more carefully, because we play hard to get.

For a start, a lot of our attractions are outside. And that means that you will actively have to chase them, because the Waitakeres don't just pop around to yours on Fridays.

Mountains, bush, parks, volcanoes.

And water sports - New Zealand will let you do practically anything on water.

You wanna try walking on it? We can help you with that. Water skiing, jet skiing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, surfing, open ocean swimming, rowing, white water rafting…

This can be just as normal a part of your Saturday routine as a soy flat white. But the point is that you will have to get off your arse and go outside.

Because we don't have the best laid-out cities, we tend to tuck our urban gems out of sight.

New Zealand's food scene is nothing short of sensational. But it's still quite poorly advertised once you leave the central city. Our everyday standard of dining out is incredibly high, especially compared to bigger cities elsewhere. There's a reason 'New Zealand Cafes' are all the rage in London right now.

But the best little eateries are normally tucked down a back street, behind a gas station to the left of the skip. You have to look for them. And never stop looking for them. The most mind-blowing sandwich I have ever eaten was a fried egg and mussel fritter from the Henderson Night Markets. But I would never have known they existed until I accidently got lost in the mall's carpark.

And don't tell me we "just don't have all the cool stuff" that you were used to in London and Tokyo.

Okay, maybe Tokyo isn't the best example because it's a connoisseur of bizarre. But at least London. We have all of your favourite things – it's just that we only have one of them.

Auckland has one professional comedy club, The Classic. We have one Magic Mike revue club, Men of Steel. We have one naked yoga group, Auckland Nude Yoga. They're totally there but you're just going to have to Google them. And to be honest, that makes it part of the fun. It's like going back to collecting Pokemon cards in school. Can you find them all?

So I know why that Reddit user was pissed off. It's because he didn't want to put in the legwork to get the best out of Aotearoa. But that's his problem, not ours.

Verity Johnson is a Newshub columnist and reporter.