New Zealand is a wonderful island nation. With only 3.6 million people it is just a small country but being isolated and populated by tough pioneering types it has built itself into a thriving independent country. The people of New Zealand call themselves Kiwis after the Kiwi bird (not the Kiwi fruit). The Kiwi bird is very different than its appearance would lead you to believe and we give a our impressions more completely in the Napier page.
The human Kiwis are soft spoken, polite and friendly but they are also hard working, determined and proud of their home. Though they live on an island about as isolated as you could get on the planet they are extremely well traveled and very internationally sophisticated. The New Zealand economy has suffered lately from the Asian downturn but it is still strong and rebounding. It is well diversified for such a small country and they have only a small trade and government spending deficit. Wages are low relative to the US but food and housing prices are equally low and the standard of living is good.
Another common symbol of New Zealand is the silver fern. They are not easy to recognize in the "bush" because they are silver on the bottom of the leave. The early explorers would bend a leave upside down every few hundred yards to mark their path. You see the silver fern on the side of the New Zealand America's Cup boat and on many of their sports team jerseys.
The Kauri tree is a native tree to New Zealand. The lumber from these trees is very strong and resistant to rot. Boat building with Kauri was common until just 15 years ago when the supply began to dry up. It takes a very long time to grow a Kauri so commercial production has not caught on and the native forests are no mostly protected. You can still buy Kauri in small quantities. It comes mostly from tree trunks that get washed out during floods. We fixed a Kauri board to our stern for our outboards as seen in the New Arch page.
The following are the places we visited during a 7 week tour of New Zealand. It was a wonderful trip and we will always remember New Zealand fondly. New Zealand is the first place we have stopped where we think we could live for a long period of time. It really has a lot going for it. It would also make a fantastic tourist destination. A plane ticket and a car rental would be all that is needed to get started and it would be easy for a couple to travel on US$100 a day including the car rental. Double that and you could go first class. We will try to elaborate on this later, for now check out some of the highlights of New Zealand.
New Zealand Destinations
|Rotorua||Craters of the Moon|
|Lakes of Fjordland||Sounds of Fjordland|
|Russell / Bay of Islands|