Reflections of 6 and a half weeks in New Zealand

Trip Start Nov 20, 2013
Trip End Nov 24, 2014

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, January 13, 2014

We're typing this post from the comfort of our accommodations this evening - the Christchurch Airport.  Not a hotel in the airport….the actual airport!  Our flight leaves at 6:50 tomorrow morning for Melbourne and we have to check in a couple hours ahead.  So, Garyn and I decided to sleep at the airport.  Sure enough, there's a room for people just like us, but we're clearly inexperienced.  We arrived at 10:30 and the room was full of about a couple dozen travellers, many of them sleeping and sprawled out on the floor lying on beanbags that the room provides. When we got here, no beanbags left, so we'll do our best to sleep on chairs or on the floor.  The beanbags had been taken by people that arrived right at 9PM, when the room opened.  Who knew?!?

We're pretty lucky, we even made it here tonight.  We stored our luggage in a room at the hostel since we checked out early this morning.  At about 8, we went back to the hostel and did a bit of reading before we were going to leave for the airport.  At 9:30, I remembered that reception was to close at 9 and sure enough, there was nobody downstairs at reception and the door in which our luggage was stored was locked!  There was no emergency number to call and no employees around.  I called the front desk.  No answer.  I asked a group sitting in a common room if they knew if someone would have a key for the storage room and one girl said the manager lived in the building and even knew her suite number.  We knocked on her door, got her out of bed, and she came downstairs to open the storage room for us.  Needless to say, she wasn't thrilled about it (we felt bad too).  We have no clue what would have happened if we weren't able to locate her or anyone else who may have had a key.

Since we've been here for the last 6 weeks, here are in no particular order some observations from our time in New Zealand along with (again, in no particular order), some of our favourite photos and memories:

1.) Kiwis (New Zealanders) are really, really, nice and friendly
2.) It's common to see people (especially kids) barefoot in public places
3.) There are tons of different landscapes all within short drives of each other
4.) New Zealand has the Southern Cross on its flag, which we learned while stargazing
5.) Most of the roads in the country are one lane
6.) The only time we saw anyone get pulled over was when I was after going 118 KM/H in a 100 KM/H and there were tons of people passing me on the road during our time here!
7.) We thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Maori people and their history and traditions
8.) We started the trip by seeing a great Taylor Swift concert
9.) We completed some amazing hikes
10.) We made some new friends
11.) Garyn swung over a canyon
12.) I bungy jumped off one of the world's highest jumps
13.) We had an amazing time with a great family for a week in Queenstown who made us feel right at home
14.) I think sheep are really cute
15.) They call certain types of sandals "jandals"
16.) Hostels are kept pretty nice here (not that we have much to compare it to!)
17.) Food and gas were often more expensive than what we are used to paying in Canada
18.) We enjoyed watching cricket and soccer on television, but never did at home
19.) The outdoors is a major part of the culture here and a big part of their education system
20.) This was an easy place to begin our travels since the culture was similar to ours and felt familiar
21.) There are 4 million people and 40 million sheep in New Zealand.
22.) The drives and greenery were absolutely stunning.
23.) Seeing a city so recently devastated by a massive earthquake was something we'd never experienced before and quite a humbling experience
24.) We got to pick our own berries for the first time, which was fun and tasty!
25.) Blue skies and kayaking for the first time in Wanaka
26.) There are a crazy amount of sandflies in this country that love to feed on ankles. At certain points throughout our time here, Garyn's ankles were swollen all around with sandfly bites
27.) Air New Zealand has a very creative safety video that plays on the Lord of the Rings movies filmed here. It's very entertaining and creative!
28.) As much as we loved it in New Zealand, we can't wait to experience 40 degree temperature in Australia.  No more pants, sweatshirts, and warm jackets for a while
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Mom on

What wonderful experiences you have shared with each other and all of us. And to think, this is only the beginning!

Dad on

You know the old saying, " Be careful for what you wish for." Forty degree temperatures. I've got a feel that you'll soon long for the temperate climate of New Zealand after a short period of time. Remember those Coke commercials set in Australia?

Thanks for sharing so far. What the two of you are doing is what most people dream of accomplishing but never experience. I admire your tenacity and resolve.

Safe flight!!!!!!!!!!!

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