So today were on our way back home after a full day in Queenstown just killing time and enjoying some amazing weather and tons of visitors — or at least were flying to Los Angeles and then home the next day. We really have a great feeling about this trip to New Zealand. Now for my Summary Post after 21 days in New Zealand:
If I were to give a single word to describe it, I may have some issues but give me some leeway and I can give you a few;
Hiking, Hiking, Hiking, Cool, Scenic, Sparse, Sheep, Dairy, Water, Green, Chill, Conservation, White, Active, Marino, Track [trails], Free, Outdoors… Ok, enough of that stupid game.
For me and my world, New Zealand ticks all the boxes if your into hiking. If your into spa’s or beaches or golf or pampering yourself, or thinking you belong in the best cultural spot in Europe — Stay away from New Zealand! Go to Italy or a nice warm beach somewhere or wherever turns your crank.
New Zealand is all about being outdoors, enjoying hiking, biking and finding as many tracks in the thousands of free trails available because the culture is so much about the outdoors, being active in super clean environments — all wrapped in a super chill culture — aka west coast USA without the stupid save-the-world and liberal attitude. Kiwi’s dont have to put it down your throat that they are into nature and freedom — they just live it — and I like it that way. Cant imagine you would go all the way to New Zealand to check out their wine groves, spas,… That would be nuts. Of course I did see people do that go-to-spa/lodge thing — but they are from Australia so they get a pass — Other pampered Americans, stay away and dont mess up the culture here.
I played the single word game for the first few weeks that I was there — and my word? “Green”. I was struck that their really was green everywhere. Of course later on in the trip I hit a massive amount of white-capped mountains, more of the clearest water probably on earth where humans roam, beige sheep. But its the wide-open green landscape that makes you stop and take notice. In a country of only 4 million people they work extra hard to keep their little slice of the world special. You can go for hundreds of miles and not see a house. You cant walk 25 miles on a track and not see another person. You can drive 50 miles without seeing another car. Point given. Its still a mystery place if your into the outdoors and moving your legs.
I almost forgot now and its only been less than 24 hours — How about a hand for them sheep? Over 30 million sheep blanket the countries mountains, low grounds, high grounds, cities, rural and anywhere they can roam around and eat that tasty natural grass. More sheep than I will ever see again — anywhere. Of course I would be totally untruthful if I did not tell you about my obsession for Marino wool. Of the 30 million sheep, only 2 million are of the Marino breed. To me, that means the best wool in the world! OMG, it is the wonder wool — softer than anything you can imagine, does not ever smell of sweat oder, warm, cool and its just the best of the best in the garment category — Go buy New Zealand Marino Wool if you can — you’ll thank me. Best Company who makes great clothing in great styles — IceBreaker. Check it out!
Anyway, we loved our short stay in New Zealand and I would not hesitate to go back for another round of hikes but it will have to wait its rotation. I have way too many other places to visit. I am going to list all of the lodges and places we stayed on this past trip:
Depart to Los Angeles
Three days in Los Angeles — Playground.
Day 0 in New Zealand — Arrival Day – 17th November, 2016 — Hotel DeBrett
Day 1 Auckland — Waitomo Caves — Rotorua — Treetops Lodge
Day 2 Rotorua — Poronui Lodge
Day 3 Tongariro Crossing
Day 4 Poronui Lodge
Day 5 Trip to Nelson — Split Apple Lodge
Day 6 Abel Tasman National Park
Day 7 Nelson — Punakaiki — Takutai House
Day 8 Punakaiki Hiking over 7 Streams
Day 9 Arthurs Pass — Wilderness Lodge
Day 10 Arthurs Pass — Aoraki/Mount Cook — Hermitage Hotel
Day 11 Aoraki/Mt Cook
Day 12 Mt Cook — Minaret Station Lodge
Day 13 Minaret Station
Day 14 Minaret Station — Queenstown — Azur
Day 15 Free Day in Queenstown — Catch Up Day — Milford Track Registration
Day 16 Queenstown — Milford Track Starts
Day 17 Milford Track — Milford Track Lodges
Day 18 Milford Track
Day 19 Milford Track
Day 20 Milford Track — Tour of Milford Sound — Queenstown
Day 21 Departure Day from Queenstown to Los Angeles
Day +1 Departure from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale — Home Lodge.
Total Travel time is 30 days —
Did I achieve what I had expected or more so, hoped for, from this trip half way around the world? — Yes — A resounding Yes!
Is New Zealand what I had expected? — No — A resounding No! Why? I guess I thought New Zealand was about adventure sports, bungee jumping, lakes, oceans, hang gliding and all that stuff wrapped in a commercial place where of course great hiking is available. What I actually saw was the exact opposite — Other than the small town of Queenstown, New Zealand is this super quiet gem with a small amount of tourists and tons of just raw outdoors — still untouched — and best if used by those who appreciate it that way.
My Tag Words: Hiking, Hiking, Hiking, Cool, Scenic, Sparse, Sheep, Dairy, Water, Green, Chill, Conservation, White, Active, Marino, Track [trails], Free, Outdoors