We definitely agree with all the promotional material that it is a country that offers many outdoor and active opportunities… mountains, coastlines, national parks everywhere.
Most of our drives had continuous gorgeous views, the scenery generally a combination of peaceful pastoral rolling hills with mountain ranges in the background.
After travelling around, it is easy to see why Lord of the Rings was filmed here. It all fits together!
The country’s small population is obvious. There are generally no signs of civilization outside small towns, except for rare farm buildings. We saw the most beautiful picturesque lakes, and there was never a cottage or other building visible along any shoreline.
However the sheep civilization is well-developed and widely spread. My predominant memory of NZ is rolling green hills dotted with hundreds of little white sheep standing so still, they seem to be statues…until you get close enough to see their little mouths chewing up and down constantly!
We have spent a lot of time trying to decide our favourite areas but it is impossible to say – we loved everything we saw and did.
We can say however that we didn’t spend enough time here. Although we are very happy with the amount of territory we did cover:
- I would like to see the northern tip of the North Island (as a contrast to the very southern tip of the South Island which we did see.)
- Peter really wants to hike the famous Milford Track which the weather prevented this time around.
- He wants to spend more time photographing the “Ent” trees.
- And he wants to come back during Spring or Winter for what he hopes would be more dramatic scenery with either wildflowers or snow-covered peaks.
In conclusion, this country lived up to our hopes and expectations and we are very happy we spent time here.