I’ve arrived back in the States after a week long trip to New Zealand. I’m contemplating how best to go about a trip report and I’ve decided to break it up in multiple segments. I’m going to use this post to describe my general thoughts on life in New Zealand and then use a few different posts to detail our trip. I have tons of pictures which we took and also quite a bit more from Nicole’s camera. If you’re her friend on Facebook you’ll probably have seen some, but for those who aren’t her camera will give better detail than mine. I want to add that I spent the last 24 hours traveling and I’m not sure how long it will take me to get detailed posts up, probably a few days. Considering this is probably one of the most exciting things I’ve done in a while, I recommend checking back over the course of the next short period of time for updates.
When your plane arrives in New Zealand you immediately realize the incredible nature of the scenery. It’s strikingly beautiful and nothing like I’ve ever seen before. We spent most of our time in Queenstown which is where Jeff and Nicole have found residence and the pic below gives you an idea of the city. There’s a huge lake in the middle and the town wraps around the lake.
Once you get past the beauty you have to adapt to the city and the people. Queenstown is more of a tourist attraction and it took quite a bit of getting used to how things are priced. The New Zealand dollar is a bit weaker than the US dollar but they make up for that by jacking up the price. Beers are the first thing to notice and a $5.00 beer is considered a very good deal. A 20oz bottle of water will run about $3.00. A major difference though in New Zealand is that there isn’t tipping. Meaning that the tip (and tax) is calculated in the price which also makes everything look super inflated. When you first get there and see a cheeseburger for $22 NZD you get a little dizzy. You start to get used to it but on a whole the US has significantly cheaper prices on mostly everything. It was odd seeing a $250 icebreaker sweatshirt and a $350 pair of Uggs.
The next thing I noticed was that there is much less “free” internet. Businesses aren’t handing out free wi-fi and I can only imagine that people aren’t streaming Netflix like here in the States. The TV is also on a much lesser scale from what we Americans are used to. I think our hotel had 10 channels or so and Jeff was used to getting 5. They don’t censor anything on their TV either which was interesting when Laura and I were watching Daisy of Love and they weren’t bleeping out F bombs. We hardly watched any TV though and I don’t think many people are as infatuated with it because there is so much outdoorsey things going on. I think this has it’s pluses and minuses. Another point of interest is that sports are cricket and rugby with a smattering of soccer.
The final thing which I’m going to write about in this post is that THIS IS THE LIFE. Although not a practical lifestyle for 7 days, this is exactly what I would want to do with my free time. We spent quality family time together, good exercise in hikes and biking, and the fact that I didn’t have my phone on me for 7 days was unbelievably liberating. You could live a long, stress free life this way. Just going on a run next to a lake with amazing rolling mountains in the background is such a better feeling than running on a treadmill or on the streets of Manayunk. I just felt alive climbing Ben Lomond and trips like this make you want to travel more. You work so you can spend time this way. No big screen TV could make up for this experience. It was a mere 7 days in a different country but this time spent and memories made will never be forgotten. I see what’s out there and now I know how good it can be. Here are a few pics below which might pop up in later posts.