October 2011

Traveling to New Zealand is not without some choices. Generally they are from some sort of walking-shuttle tour, to driving yourself in a car (or camper) to being driven on a bus. We didn't find a lot of difference in price, and felt having everything arranged for us would leave us more free to enjoy the country, so we chose a bus tour. While we were very satisfied with our host Grand Pacific Tours, the major complaint was the lack of exercise (combined with overeating). We averaged probably 4 hours on the bus every day, and the rest either tottering from one activity to another... which usually involved more tottering or sitting. As active adults (even though in our 60's) we didn't have enough time to explore walking sights (and work off some of those incredible pastries that kept jumping into our mouths).

New Zealand is mostly subtropical mountainous landscape with some plains, and most of those plains have been denuded of forests for farmland. So as you drive around, it will be a combination of mountainous terrain coupled with green pastures as heavy industries have largely moved overseas. You will also see a lot of  New Zealand's number one industry: tourists. They get quite a bit of rain, so expect climates similar to America's north east or northwest. The country is made up of two islands, north and south, with the principle cities being Auckland and Christchurch. As we had almost three weeks, we covered the major sights, so come take a look and read our commentary on these sights. I took almost 1000 pictures. Of those, 32 are presented here.