Without a doubt the scenery. What stood out as really unique and special was the South Island: prominent mountain ranges, glacier blue lakes, spectacular fjords, diverse flora, and a hotbed for any and all outdoor activities. Second was diving Poor Knights Islands, featuring different types of marine life in cold water conditions. Marlborough Sound was also worth the visit.
Nothing new, but generally quite good with fresh ingredients (farm to table). The meals that stood out were breakfast at Vudu Cafe Queenstown, lunch in Arrowtown, fish and chips at Fishbone Queenstown, and upscale dining at the Grove Auckland.
Spend more time on the South Island, maybe even the rural Stewart Island, to do more tramping and diving the Milford Sound. Hit more of the Great Walks such as the Milford or Kepler Tracks. Wanaka sounds fun and is surrounded by mountains. Also, late December doesn't generally have the greatest weather; we caught quite a few rainy days and cooler temperatures. February is the best month for summer weather.
- Corona is surprisingly popular here, and is generally served without a lime!
- Driving regulations are very strictly enforced. We were told that NZ has the highest rate of children hit by cars in their own driveways.
- Lots of digs at the neighbors: "The best thing about the Tasman Sea is that it separates us from Australia." Or, in reference to introduced possums eating native birds, "Most of our problems come from Australia." Finally, "despite the boat being built in Australia, it lasted quite long."Read more
Final Thoughts NZJanuary 1