Reflections on New Zealand

Trip Start Jul 09, 2013
Trip End Feb 15, 2014

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, January 30, 2014

We have spent six months in New Zealand (apart from a two week trip to Australia) and it actually feels a little strange to leave a foreign country we known so well; this is the only other country where we have spent a significant amount of time outside of the UK so below we have summarised our thoughts on what is a truly beautiful country. 

Our Favourite Places
It has been quite hard to pick our favourite places and there are so many that could have made this list. Our favourite are: 

Queenstown – We loved the beautiful surrounding landscape of Lake Wakatipu and the snow- apped mountains. Also home to the best burgers in the world (probably) from FergBurger! The trip to Milford Sound is a great day out, and the old gold mining town of Arrowtown makes another scenic place to visit. 

Abel Tasman National Park – For us we loved how humans have not spoiled what nature has created. The crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches make this one of the nicest places we have seen. We couldn’t believe how such a beautiful place was so quiet and we really loved having it all to ourselves. 

Rotorua – A fascinating and unique place to visit, we have not seen anywhere else in the world with geothermal activity. Many of the things to do in this area are free and the paid for attractions are relatively cheap. 

The Tongariro National Park – More unique landscape here and the best one day walk in the world. The 20km walk was a little hard work but the views are definitely worth it. 

Waiheke Island – There can’t be many places in the world where you get to live on a stunning island but also have a city job. We have no doubt that if we were to live in New Zealand this is where we want to live

What We Will Miss
L&P – We have not yet mentioned the ‘Lemon & Paeroa’ soft drink which we really enjoy. There is also a range of L&P chocolate created by Whittakers, white chocolate with a centre of L&P flavour popping candy.

The Relaxed Lifestyle – This comes from being such a quiet country almost forgotten about by the rest of the world. We were even able to walk to work whilst living in the Capital City. Being close to water (lakes or the ocean) in most areas also adds to the relaxed atmosphere and this is something we will miss when we are back in the UK. 

Adventure Sports – We have had to keep Rachel on a leash here as there is such a variety of crazy things to do. New Zealand is one of the cheapest countries for adventure sports and Rachel will definitely miss the skydiving. 

Cheap Eats – In New Zealand you can get Domino’s Pizza for $5 (2.50) and Fish & Chips is also ridiculously cheap compared to the UK. This is greasy, but having survived on a diet of burgers, chips and pizza for the last few weeks we are looking forward to a different kind of food in Asia. 

Local Wine & Beer – We will miss the great selection of local wine and beer; Mike thinks that New Zealand brews several great brands of beer particularly Mac’s, Speights and Monteith’s.

Things We Won’t Miss
Pedestrian Crossings – OK this is a bit of a strange topic but we could have written this blog in the time waiting to cross the road. Most of the time all the lights are on red and no one is moving. Maybe we are just impatient but we won’t miss these. 

Lack of Choice – There are only two major supermarkets in the country and the selection of food is much smaller than what we are used to in the UK. Clothes shopping is also quite hard and there is certainly a lack of big international brands. 

Public Transport – There has been many times where we have found it difficult to get to places without a car. We have been able to see the main areas and tourist attractions but it has been quite difficult to get off the beaten track and see the more unusual sights without our own transport. 

The Weather – We are British so it wouldn’t be right to end our time in a country without moaning about the weather.  When the sun shines it is usually very warm but as soon as the wind starts it can be freezing cold, this means that you always need a jacket but will also regret wearing trousers. In addition to this the sun seems to be very strong and we get burnt within minutes so we also have to constantly take out a sun hat and sun cream. There has been many times where we have looked out the window and decided to put sun cream on, just to get outside and decide to wear a jacket! Still we can’t moan too much about the weather at least it has been summer over here, we dread to think what the weather has been like back in the UK.

To Conclude
So despite our moaning we will miss New Zealand. This country really is best seen when you get on the road and go to the smaller places. We have already mentioned countless times throughout this blog that the scenery is amazing and we hope that the pictures have done this justice. The people we have met have been extremely friendly and have always been willing to provide directions and knowledge. New Zealand always seems to be forgotten about because of the big island just next door, but this island in the bottom corner of the world is certainly a hidden gem and is well worth exploring.
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