I kept a running list of observations about our travels in New Zealand from Oct 2016 to Jan 2017. Since we’re heading to Greece ro, I figure I should get it out. Nothing like a good deadline for an ADHD captain to focus on his backlog.
The Scenery – simply spectacular. For fans of the movies, The Lord of the Rings exemplified the diversity and rugged beauty of NZ. From the 90 miles beaches in the North to the waterfalls in the Alps in the South, the country has it all.
Trails – the hiking in NZ is terrific and the trails tend to be well maintained and numerous.
Restaurants – I learned to love the practice of restaurants taking our order and paying at counter/bar prior to sitting down. This helps create a relaxing atmosphere and get done with all the transactional noise up front leading to the enjoyment of a relaxed meal. An added benefit is the way the waitress can spend time talking when they bring the meal out creating the opportunity to develop a relationship with the restaurant and the people. Did I mention they serve salad for breakfast?
Good roadside restaurants – when traveling on the highway they have cafes every 50km or so that serve excellent food in beautiful garden or farm settings. It’s very different from the interstate truckstops that are so prevalant in many areas of the world.
All the bathrooms tend to be unisex eliminating prudish isolation that creates lines and unneeded segregation.
Sheep, sheep, sheep everywhere and you can buy a huge rack of lamb for $5 at the butcher.
Self service – we needed to fill the tanks on Agility on a holiday and found that the fuel pumps on the dock are self serve! In Papeete, they would be open random hours during the day and closed on holidays and weekend. Love the self serve.
Friendly talkative people – I can’t possibly overstate how kind and generous with their time the Kiwi’s are. I’ve been told the folks in the South Island are the nicest, but I found everyone we met on both islands to be down to earth, trusting, and kind. Jerri had an experience she lost a tool off her bike, a guy saw it fall, grabbed it and chased her down several blocks to return it. I can give a bunch of examples of the people being the kindest we’ve ever met on the planet.
Golf courses everywhere – Kiwi’s love golf and sailing.
Number of boats per capital are the highest in the world?
Yacht workers conscientious and hard working. It’s a great place to work on a boat.
The Kiwi’s are connected to their environment. They try not to trade off short term profits at the expense of the environment. They have a unique connection to their surrounding and while they have their own environmental challenges they are very conscientious stewards of their land.
Anti-nuke boycott – nuclear ships are banned the country takes a strong anti nuke stand. I applaud their clear mindedness about drawing a line about what’s OK and what’s not OK.
The indigenous Polynesian Maori people of New Zealand – one of the things I loved about NZ is that they respect the Maori and keep their names for towns and streets throughout the country. While there are challenges not unlike the American Indians in the US, they tend to embrace the Maori people and culture much more than I’ve seen anywhere else.
Waitangi treaty grounds http://www.waitangi.org.nz/ are wonderful. Maori dancing is stunning and the Maori art is beautiful.
Other things we really liked:
Scallops, Birds, Glowworms, Penguins, Museums, Kindness, Tolerance, Water, Low Density, Wineries, Baby Ducks, Craggy Earth, Maori Tattoos, Fresh Eggs, Raw Milk, Flat Whites.
Things we didn’t like as well:
One way bridges, Narrow roads, Weather a little cold – gloomy – windy, Petty theft, Road construction, Water temp, Clothing stores, Earthquakes/tsunami warnings, Strong chemical scents in many stores, Allergies, Lack of pet friendly hotels, Deforestation, Driving on left side of road, So far from home, Kiwi birds are great but difficult for pets since many of the best trails and parks are closed off to dogs.
We will be back!