• New Zealand's Governor-General Patsy Reddy said Prince Harry and Meghan Markle expressed an interest in moving to the country
  • The couple brought up the possibility of getting a place in New Zealand during their 2018 royal tour
  • Reddy said they seemed impressed by New Zealand's friendly locals and access to the outdoors

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry once thought of settling down in New Zealand before they welcomed their son Archie.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are now living in Montecito, California, after stepping back as working members of the royal family last year. However, prior to moving to the U.S, Prince Harry and Markle expressed an interest in living in New Zealand during their royal tour of the South Pacific in 2018, according to the governor-general of the Oceania country.

Governor-General Patsy Reddy, who represents Queen Elizabeth in New Zealand, told the Associated Press that the couple brought up the possibility of buying a home in the country while they were looking around Abel Tasman National Park.

"They said that they could imagine living in a place like this and wondered whether we thought it would be theoretically possible. Even possible for them to have a place in New Zealand," said Reddy, who recalled that Prince Harry and Markle had been tired as the country was the last stop in their 16-day royal tour.

"Of course, we said, 'Sure. It would be fine. There are lots of opportunities to live in New Zealand, but that would be something that they'd have to explore,'" she continued. "They were looking at how they might raise their family. And, obviously, they've made some decisions since."

The governor-general clarified that it was not a formal request for assistance but more of an informal discussion about Prince Harry and Markle's hopes for the future.

According to Reddy, among the things that the couple loved in New Zealand were the friendly locals and easy access to the outdoors. She described the Sussexes as "lovely," adding that she hopes "they've got a great future where they are."

During their visit to New Zealand three years ago, Prince Harry and Markle visited Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua, where they were greeted by staff and a crowd of mountain bikers, dog walkers and children dressed in Halloween costumes. The couple held hands as they walked through the redwood forest and stopped to admire a 2000-year-old trunk section of Californian redwood.

The Sussexes had a brief encounter with a group of mountain bikers, who gifted the duchess with a soft-toy tuatara.

"Do you know how lucky you are to have a place like this?" Prince Harry was quoted by as telling the riders.

Markle also expressed her admiration of the forest, saying, "This place is your backyard. It's great. It's really special. Beautiful."

Just before they kicked off their 2018 tour of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji, Markle and Prince Harry announced that they were expecting their first child. Their son Archie Harrison was born in May 2019. They welcomed their second child, a daughter named Lilibet Diana, on June 4.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 02: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a Creative Industries and Business Reception on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chris Jackson/Getty Images