We only saw a relatively small part of New Zealand. We didn’t go north of Auckland, didn’t go to Fiordland and didn’t go to Wellington. It is a big old place, especially with us not driving and we did want to take our first trip here slowly and take in the places we did stop off.
We’ll do this for all the countries we’re going to, but here’s 3 things we’ll miss and 3 things we won’t miss about New Zealand. Excuse the totally generalities.
Things we’ll miss
- We’ve seen sights both landscapes and wildlife that would be a set of highlights for 5 month never mind a 5 week visit. Penguins, sea lions, albatross, seals, huge glaciers, snow covered mountains, multi-coloured lakes and geothermal activity – but no earthquakes thank goodness.
- The Kiwis. Without fail, everyone we met had the time of day to say hello, have a chat, recommend places to see and do and help us out. This was from the people we passed on the street, the owners of the properties we stayed in and even went as far as the airport officials at security at Christchurch airport passing the time of day (they weren’t that busy) and recommending that we should come back and live here.
- We were told before we came by all the Kiwis that their pies are something else and far better than the pastry covered delights we get in the UK. They were right.
Things we won’t miss
- We really intended to learn how to drive before we came here. We didn’t and did regret it a little. The blank looks when asking about public transport, the vast distances even in the small towns and the cost of taxis did stop us from doing the odd thing. Local buses, apart from Auckland and Christchurch, are almost non existent and places such as Dunedin, a large and very spread of out city, didn’t even have public transport from the 30km out of town airport to the city centre.
- Cost of food and living is extremely high in New Zealand. Even the Kiwis complain that they are paying export prices. This is not just restaurants, but supermarkets and it is for everything not just luxury items. A small bag of salad for $5 (£3)? A beer for $9 (£6)? Pub/restaurant main course $30 (£20). We reckon costs are around 50% more compared to the UK. And a special mention to New Zealand Marmite. Come on Kiwis, what the **** was that meant to be?!
- Free-to-air TV was shockingly bad. There was little debate, little actual reporting of news in any depth and just really bad UK and Australian soap/lifestyle magazine programmes were the order of the day.
We would love to come back to NZ, it’s made a fantastic impression on us and we still have an awful lot to see. Sounds obvious, but it is an awful long way from the UK, so careful planning will be needed. We’ll miss you New Zealand!!