Sweet As eNZed

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Monday, July 4, 2011

We've had a most enjoyable 3.5 months in NZ. From having countless realisations that this could easily be somewhere in SA to being blown away (sometimes literally) by the nature. Aside from a few larger cities NZ is very much "one large small town" (we laughed for hours after uttering that quotable quote!). We've experienced warm welcomes in most places and it quickly became the exception to receive indifferent service.

There were many similarities with Cape Town, even down to the look of the people.  As an outsider our perception is that NZ does many things well, for such a tiny country with only about 4 million people. For one the roads are generally pretty good, even the odd gravel ones. I can probably only recall about 3 occasions where I thought the road was bad. And we went everywhere with Mr T, even the odd 4WD track. Funnily enough though, they have a 90 mile beach and a gravel road (aka the Forgotten World Highway) that form part of the official motorway network.

Housing was mostly adequate and homeless folks practically non-existent except for an Englishman who lived on the porch at the Wellington hostel, originally from Worcestershire (yes, just like the sauce ;). I can certainly see the appeal it has to many South Africans who've made NZ their home. It's missing something tho... like vanilla choc chip ice cream without the choc chips.

As a holiday destination though it's extraordinary. You need to be a bit of a nature lover, an outdoorsy person. Sure, there are other countries with similar attractions but because NZ is relatively small it's all easily accessible. For example, we went from getting our feet wet in the Tasman sea at Gillespie beach to climbing a glacier a couple of hours later. I'm sure having read previous blog entries you will realise how quickly these awesome places follow one another.

Now we are looking forward to the next leg of adventures. NZ was "sweet as" - very familiar, comfortable and easy to figure out. The Lees revel most in being out of their comfort zone a bit more, something we expect to be the case in the Latin American countries. Of course, it will be stressful at times but also rewarding, especially when our Spanish becomes muy bien!

Muchas gracias to everyone who played a part in making NZ a fabulous first stop in our world tour, especially the Suberts! A smooth and surreal start to our adventures indeed!

Dashboard stats:
Average daily spend in NZ - 22.50 / person / day
Backgammon score - 208 (Mario) to 194 (Dee)

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Shaun S on

1. Looks like Mario has won the NZ backgammon challenge. Will you reset the counter for each country you visit?

2. At 402 games in total, you clearly have too much time on your hands ;-p

thelees on

1. the counter remains for...EVER 2. waarheid! with 30 mins battery life on Lappie there was little else to do after dark (or at least, that we can blog about :D)

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