Posted by: Anna | September 3, 2011

New Zealand Wrap Up

Everyone loved, I mean loved, New Zealand. They raved about the natural scenery. We each found an activity in New Zealand to be our favorites of the whole Australia and New Zealand trip. I liked New Zealand — it’s beautiful. The people are nice and friendly. Somehow, it didn’t win me over as a dedicated fan.

New Zealand offers stunning landscapes: mountains, rivers, rolling green hills, and beaches. I was excited that it looked like the movie images in my mind of New Zealand. We started our time in Christchurch, then on to Queenstown, Rotorua, and one last day together in Auckland.

We all enjoyed a bit of New Zealand style winter pampering, lounging in the Onsen Hot Pools with a garage door style wall and roof that opens up to the starry sky. We had our own little private pool and the crisp cold South Island air to keep us refreshed, while we star gazed, unable to identify any of the Southern constellations. In Rotorua, on a rainy day that cleared just in time, we braved the sulfur smell to visit the Polynesian Spa, one of the best 10 spas in the world according to Conde Nast. I didn’t get a treatment, so I can’t speak to how it merits its accolades. The seven hot pools, piped in from the nearby lake were a fun way to enjoy the upside of the pervasive sulfur smell of Rotorua. I appreciated the opportunities to “chillax” as my brother Jack would say.

Dad loved the great day of skiing in August, when everyone at home feels like the Wicked Witch – melting. Jack loved Hobbiton (one of the sites where Lord of the Rings was filmed and where The Hobbit will be filmed). Tommy loved the Zorb…in his words, possibly the most giggly fun activity of our whole trip. Mom loved the snow capped mountains and the small town, sophisticated ski town atmosphere of Queenstown.

On our first day of Queenstown, we rode the gondola up to a viewing area, bar and restaurant. We spent our first afternoon enjoying cocktails overlooking the town and the mountains. Lovely!

I really enjoyed our day visiting wineries, but I always love visiting wineries – anywhere. I zorbed – it was fun, and I did giggle in terror. Queenstown was a groovy little resort town, full of charm and bars. I don’t know; I’m just not left with that feeling of love that Vietnam and India gave me. What is missing – I couldn’t exactly say….that certain “je ne sais quoi”.

For me, it might be that New Zealand was second, after Australia, so the novelty of a sort-of America down under was worn off. The culture is not strikingly unique to a Westerner, or at least we didn’t spend time exploring the indigenous culture which probably is interesting. The mainstream culture of New Zealand is pretty much like Australia, which is pretty much like the USA. Nothing wrong with that, but after so many really foreign cultures, calling MacDonald’s “Mackers” just isn’t enough to intrigue me.

My favorite day —
Snowy peaks viewed from vineyards
Happy birthday Mom!

Rugby team: All Blacks
The basketball team? Tall Blacks.
That’s hilarious.



  1. I did love New Zealand especially Queenstown. It was beautiful and cool after hot, hot Dallas and my whole family was there with me. What is not to love?

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