How can I possibly tell about New Zealand?
I thought about calling this post "The Land of Superlatives", but I admit it sounds kind of hokey. All I can say is that every single day we experienced something that was Spectacular.
We went from beach to cave to beach to buried village to waterfall to mountain top to geyser to Maori Village to The Shire to mountaintop to train ride to waterfall to beach to shops to mountaintop to beach...
Our expectations were exceeded in every way!
When we arrived we picked up our RV. Our plan was to drive the RV to about six different places in our ten days in NZ. After seeing the reality of the terrain (mountainous) and seeing the limitations of driving, we decided to throw out our entire plan. Each evening we would discuss what we wanted to do the next day. That was our plan! And no matter where we were, no matter what we did, we always thought our day was amazing!
We prepared almost all of our meals in the RV, carried our laundry with us, took over 1200 pictures and 20 videos, bought tons of souvenirs, swam in cold waters, watched a gorgeous wedding on the beach, saw a village that had been completely covered by a century-old volcanic eruption, felt the splendor of a geyser, felt the warmth of the ground beneath our feet, heard the Maori sing the "Welcome" song, traveled up the mountain in a gondola, glided down the mountain on a luge (three times!), rode a train car through the countryside, swam in the shadow of a volcano called Mount Maunganui, tried delicious seafood, enjoyed the company of dozens of fellow travelers, bathed in the warm waters, swam beneath the Southern Cross, visited one museum, stargazed under gorgeous clear skies, trekked on pathways through tropical rainforests, stood at the foot of two thundering waterfalls (Bridal Veil Falls and Wairere Falls), visited a whare (Maori home), heard the glopping of boiling mud, collected shells of all sizes and shapes and colors, parked our RV on the beach and listened to the waves all night long, visited Bag End and had a pint at the Green Dragon Inn, explored rocky crags of magnificently rugged beaches, traveled light, spent fun time with Olivia and her family, found pink sea stars, uprooted crabs from their watery homes, watched ten breathtaking sunsets, experienced sublime sunrises, sang with seventies songs, saw a rainbow from one end of the bow to the other, drove in Auckland Rush Hour traffic twice, played cards with Deutsch backpackers, met people from nearly every continent, enjoyed a meal with Hannes and Bob, went into caves, sat with Americans in a heated sauna and talked of home, lived on "island time", played on remarkable natural stone mazes, drank tea in a rain shower, lingered just to see the beauty and grandeur of the view, went through about four boxes of Kleenex, wore the same clothes for days upon end, shopped with Kiwi dollars, met Liam and his dog Sophia, got brown in the sun, gathered in family hugs, met a person who lives less than two km away from our Brisbane home, raised our glasses to ourselves, soaked in the warm mineral springs, parked the RV on gravel made of seashells, drove in the rain, left The Doctor behind in the RV to nap, walked along the boardwalk of a bay, drove on one lane roads with sheer cliffs and air on one side in a gigantic RV with a left-hand stick shift, heard many stories from many wonderful "locals", went on long beach walks, played in the sand, found sand dollars and sea stars, went to the village shops, splashed in the waters of black sand shores, stood on a point where we could see a blue lake and a green lake side-by-side, respected the tribal lands, shared more time with Hannes and told him to call his mom back home in Stuttgart, heard the amazing song of the Tui bird, saw some sheep, didn't buy a single souvenir t-shirt or cap, walked hand-in-hand, wanted Jessica there every single day, thought of family and friends back home and wished we could share this with them, began to want to stay forever, and made memories that have made homes in our hearts.
I do hope YOU get to go to NZ one day, or to the NZ of your heart.
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