New Zealand 2007 
                                            4,100 kilometers (2,400 miles) of car travel and over 100 kilometers of hiking allowed
                                            us to see the many sides of New Zealand.  No road corner or continuous hike did not present
                                            yet another vista of the country's magnificence.  "Never ending" beauty is a very true statement.
                                            Differences between the North and South island sometimes seemed like two countries.  Since
                                            only a quarter of the populace lives in the South, towns were widely spaced and low density.
                                            "Southern Hospitality" was advertised.  Another population fact was that 40 percent live 
                                            in the city of Auckland.  
                                            Road infrastructure is a challenge.  With the exception of motorways into and out of Auckland
                                            or Wellington, all the main highways were two lane roads.   And since mountains are plentiful,
                                            many are winding with tight curves.  With a total population of only 4 million, the tax base will
                                            not provide enough funds.  Yet, it can be viewed as part of the charm.  Would imagine their
                                            logistic costs are higher than "autobahn" based countries.  Their one lane bridges could be 
                                            viewed as the covered bridges of Pennsylvania.  As a whole, the road surfaces are in great
                                            On the flora and fauna side, the shift from woodlands and rain forests to open pasturage
                                            in the early 1900s forever impacted the number of bird life.  Also, introduced small animals
                                            (possums, rabbits, etc) has impacted the balance.  It's a sense of pride when a possum is 
                                            run over.  The irony is that some kiwi bird souvenirs are actually made of possum.  Lack of
                                            large animal life in the mountains means very clean water to drink.  Oh yeah - no snakes is
                                            always appreciated.  Now the 40 million sheep are the known image.
                                            New Zealand is the must see for the nature lover.  Hard to select just a short list of sights;
                                            however, here is our top 10 plus 1:
                                            01 - Milford Track
                                            02 - Waitomo Lost World Abseiling (Rappelling)
                                            03 - Abel Tasman Kayaking
                                            04 - Franz Joseph Glacier
                                            05 - Waipoua Forrest Kauri Trees
                                            06 - Baylys Beach
                                            07 - Marlborough Wine country
                                            08 - Christchurch English overtones and Botanic Garden.
                                            09 - Lost Highway
                                            10 - New Plymouth Pukekura Garden
                                            11 - Any road - anywhere.
                                            Return to New Zealand?  it's a given because the hiking trails are called "Great Walks" for 
                                            a reason.  However, next adventure is Greece.




                                                                                            Last Updated 2007 March