Published: May 7th 2012May 5th 2012
We are flying over the sunny Pacific Ocean as we write this last blog about our trip to New Zealand.
Following our previous post we made our way to the Bay of Islands - a very beautiful playground for the rich about 3 hours north of Auckland, on the east coast. Starting as one of the earliest areas to be settled by Europeans in New Zealand, it is steeped in history and is currently the residence for artists, sailors and the very well-to-do. We pretended we fit right in by sipping our $5.00 coffees on the Strand, strolling through art galleries and joining a sailing charter for a day.
With the hope to see the nocturnal, flightless kiwi bird in the wild, we re-visited the Kauri forest. We were able to hug a tree but the kiwis eluded us. The New Zealand kauri trees are second in girth only to the redwoods of California - very impressive trees!
With three days left to go in NZ we were meandering our way down the scenic east coast when our camper, sensing our reluctance to end our adventure, broke down. But it couldn't have happened in a more beautiful location
- at the beach in Waipu Cove. Our arrival in Auckland was via tow truck rather than in what was our comfy home-away-from-home for the past 11 weeks.
The upside of this was that we were able to spend an extra day in Auckland - touring the art gallery (completely free!), strolling along the waterfront, taking one of the many ferries across Auckland Harbour to the volcanic islands in the Hauraki Gulf, and having our last tramp up to the crater on Rangitoto Island.
This is a delightful country with delightful people. We have however observed a few idiosyncracies that we would like to share.
- Driving is a blood sport - 100 kph is common on all non-urban roads regardless of conditions, and road markings permit passing even on hills and curves, unlike Canada.
- The majority of bridges are one-lane; and with all the rivers and streams in NZ, that is a lot of bridges.
- They have name signs for all streams and culverts but somehow do not see the need to have street signs at even the most significant intersections in cities and towns.
- Eggs are not refrigerated, they
are sold on store shelves like cereal and other canned goods.
- Kiwis have a sharp sense of humour - as evidenced by their signs - both formal and informal.
- Standard casual wear is shorts, t-shirts, sandals accompanied by a wool toque - regardless of temperature.
It is with sadness that we leave this wonderful country, but also with gratitude that we were able to have such a tremendous experience.
There are more photos below