We have been in New Zealand 12 days already. Several words come to mind to describe this country in my early impressions;
CHEERFUL – the people here! Wow! They are all so happy and nice. Something in the water? Or maybe they realize how good they’ve got it in this beautiful country.
PATRIOTIC – everyone we talk to loves their
country and wants to tell you all the things you shouldn’t miss while you are here. They actually seem to like tourists.
COURTEOUS – the roads in New Zealand aren’t freeways. And they do drive fast and on the left. But everyone is so courteous. They don’t use their horn, they allow others to pass when it’s safe. Also everywhere there are these one lane bridges. Everyone waits their turn. And it works. It just
FUNNY – New Zealanders love to give things nicknames and it’s fun to listen to them talk. Of course they call themselves Kiwis; their flip flops are jandles; sunglasses are sunnies; breakfast is brekkie. Clothes are togs, the corner market is the dairy, caravan is a camper and wop-wop is out in the boonies. Ta means thanks, stoked is excited and choka means overflowing. And the one I like the best is “tiki-tour” that’s what we are on – a tour without any real destination.
OUTDOORSY – Trekking (or tramping as it is also called) is a national pastime and everyone young and old is out tramping about on the trails everywhere we go. Being on the water is also a national pastime (this is an island after all) and people are on the beach, in the water and on the
water in kayaks, paddle boards, dinghies, sailboats, ski boats, water taxis, cruisers, yachts, ferries and cruise ships. Boats are everywhere.
CLEAN – the water is the clearest and cleanest I have seen anywhere in the entire world. There is not a speck of litter ANYWHERE! The beaches are pristine as are the woods and trails and roads. And everywhere there are clean and efficient FREE public FLUSH toilets WITH TOILET PAPER!!!!
GORGEOUS – we have spent most of our time so far enjoying the stunning scenery of the South Island and have been blessed with sunshine the past seven days. As we begin to journey farther south tomorrow I’m anticipating cooler and wetter weather. But even with the rain comes more waterfalls and beautiful rivers.
COLOR – the multiple hues of green are amazing.
Who knew there could be so many shades of green. And the turquoise of the water is such a surprise.
EXPENSIVE – alas it’s not perfect. New Zealand is expensive. Gas is around $5.50 US per gallon. Groceries are very expensive, but not as expensive as eating out. Our Airbnb’s have been reasonable, but tomorrow we pick up our camper van. It will average about $100 a day (plus gas – yikes!).
So starting tomorrow we are off in our caravan, wearing our sunnies and jandles, headed to the wop-wop on our tiki-tour. And we’re stoked!