Heaven on Earth!

Trip Start Dec 25, 2012
Trip End Mar 27, 2013

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Where I stayed
In a RV

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, March 2, 2013

After visiting 48 different countries on this planet, how can one explain why New Zealand ranks #1 in my book? What an amazing two week journey, that neither Steve nor I never want to end. Imagine "Lord of the Rings" scenary multiplied by 10. With its majestic mountains, magnificant glaciers, beautiful rainforests, and miles of unspoiled beaches - New Zealand never stopped impressing us with its wonders. Travelling around the country in an RV was the only way to go. We started in Christchurch and traversed most of the South Island in a little less than a week - putting on almost 2000 kilometers with gas topping almost $7 a gallon. Totally worth it, however - I'd pay double to do it again. Simply amazing! This was definitely the gem of the entire 3 month trip that words cannot do justice to - so, see the pictures.

It was amazing waking up with parrots on our RV roof, seeing Steve skydiving on a perfect day over Fox Glacier, sleeping under a sky and seeing the milky way without light pollution...and witnessing the seals, dolphins, and whales off the coast of Milford Sound.  What was even more amazing to us - NO PEOPLE.  NO TRAFFIC.  UNSPOILED NATURE - PURE NEW ZEALAND.  Often times we could have been the only people on the planet.  With a country having a population of only 4 million, most inhabitants live on the North Island - keeping a lot of the countryside unspoiled.  We must have crossed at least four dozen single lane bridges during our travels.  The pictures do not do it justice.

We will absolutely be back again next winter for a longer RV tour (by the way, RV camping is toally free in New Zealand - you can park in any public land location as long as your vehicle is self-contained).  There are also tons of hiking trails and National Parks (again, free) to explore.  What a nature lover's paradise!

The second week, we spent on North Island in a lakefront condo in Rotorua.  It was a little anti-climatic, but nevertheless equally exceptional surrounded by volcanic mountains.  It's a little more crowded up here...but still nothing like back home.  Most of the New Zealand wineries are located up here, and it's the ONLY thing cheaper in New Zealand.  We continue to drink wine like water, as beer is $24 a 12 pack (for starters), and food is literally double/triple.  Unforntunately, we arrived at the worst drought in 30 years, and it's not helping the costs.  As of the time of this writing, the capital of Wellington issued warnings that they only had 19 days of water left.  The draught is effecting everything. They even closed a couple hiking trails near the beach yesterday for fear of fire danger. Although food and gas is expensive, suprisingly everything else is almost exactly the same, so the cost of living is not as bad as other places.

We are sad to leave tomorrow...but were forunate enough to be here for the census (which we were required to participate in to leave our mark), and witness the passage of gay marriage here.  It will be sad to go back home after this amazing journey.  We'll wrap up the remainder of this 3 month world tour, returning back to Thailand for a week, before spending a day in Malaysia and a day in Paris before returning home.

Still, there's no better way to spend your winter....but as Arnold said...."I'll be back!"
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