Ngaire AckerleyWho is behind kiwifootprints.com?

I’m Ngaire, from New Zealand. I’m a designer and web developer by day and a travel photographer, travel writer and blogger the rest of the time. This travel and photography blog started in March 2013 to mark my third year of my proper OE (Overseas Experience). However, my other site – designack.com has been going since 2008 filled with design, web and photography related blog posts as well as my design and photography portfolio.

Why kiwifootprints.com?

I’m a happy travelling Kiwi, I make footprints everywhere I go. It’s also a way for me to share my travels with other people throughout the world. I love taking photographs and writing and this is my main outlet for that. I’ve been published in print and online for a few things, but would love to further this to share my photographs with more people. If you would like to check out where my work can be found, visit my ‘published’ page »

What inspired all this travel?

Growing up my eldest sister was working on cruise ships around the Caribbean, she briefly travelling Europe also. Getting her postcards every now and again made travel seem possible for someone from a little country town in little old New Zealand.

When and how did the travels begin?

Back in 2008 I was in my postgraduate year of studying Computer Graphic Design when after much hard work I was awarded a place in the Leonardo Exchange Program (EUNZ) to Austria and Slovenia. I spent almost 6 months mainly in Austria where I would work on my thesis, do a few projects and take part in German and Photojournalism classes. My thesis was called ‘Narratives in Still Photography Without Text’, which set the scene for a vast amount of cheap (I was a student) European travel. I caught the bug.


After completing my studies I worked off my student loan and saved up to move to the UK in 2010. I left New Zealand the day after my eldest nephews first birthday and travelled via Thailand and Sweden before settling in London to find work. This set the scene for my ‘Overseas Experience’ otherwise known as my ‘OE’ – a right of passage for many Kiwis and Australians, travelling and working their way around the world. I had initially thought I’d be over for only two years, but had applied for my Ancestry visa just encase I wanted to stay longer. Over four years later, it’s safe to say the travel bug never really left.

Why travel?

I love experiencing new things and testing my own boundaries. I enjoy seeing how other cultures live and interact and seeing animals in their natural environment. I love capturing these moments in my photography. History has always interested me and seeing places I studied about as a child has astounded me, not to mention all the places I never thought I would ever have the chance to visit. Learning more about many places as I travel has opened my eyes in ways I never thought possible.

As a person I have grown in so many ways since I left New Zealand and have taken every opportunity I can. I may have been scared at times (bungee jumping 43m over the Nile in Uganda), upset at times (learning about Srebrenica) and ill at times (thinking Thailand, New York, UK hospitals…), but every experience has left me as a more fulfilled person, more than I could have ever imagined possible.

Where to next?

I’ve been living in London for the best part of 5 years and now I’m off around the globe volunteering and travelling through Africa, South America, Central America and even stopping off in North America before reaching New Zealand in June 2015. First stop is volunteering at the Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary!

Quick Questions:

Favourite Experience?

Meeting Mountain Gorillas in the Wild in Rwanda

Most travelled Country?


Solo or group travel?

Prefer Solo, but sometimes small tour groups can be great

Mountain, Ocean, Jungle, City or Desert?


First great travel experience?

Eating a cinnamon roll, perched on stairs in the Prague Easter Markets overlooking a stage with a Saint Patricks Day Irish band, magical evening.

Top five places?

  • Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
  • Mostar, Bosnia
  • First, Switzerland
  • Positanto, Italy
  • Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand (because I’m yet to see the South Island)

Skydive, bungy jump, handglide or paraglide?


Number of countries visited (as of May 2014)?

33 and counting!

Bucket List?

Southern Africa, South America, Central America, North America and Canada’s National Parks, Japan, Borneo, Burma, Bhutan, New Zealand, Australia, Mongolia, Antarctica… am I missing anywhere?

Favourite Quote?

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

– Henry Miller