Sunday, April 14, 2013

En Zed

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.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: 
A Brief Interaction
Road Trip:  Somewhere Between Sunshine and Gold   
New Zealand:  The Majesty


  1. Karen. Thank you for summing up a beautiful country. I had tears reading your post. It reminded me of all the beauty and wonderful family times we shared also over our last two weeks visiting New Zealand.
    It truly is a spectacular vision to see. Your words however, give such depth that I hope others feel as if they too have visited NZ with you.
    I do hope one day you return to visit the splendour of the South island.
    Kathy Cullen

    1. Kathy, I knew you would understand!
      I think I shall miss NZ forever...

  2. What beautiful photos!
    I especially love the daughter and papa hug,
    and her silhouette with the sun.
    Truly fantastic.

    1. Thank you, Gabriela! I love my pictures too and those are among my absolute faves.
      YOU take some gorgeous pics. That son of yours is a total beauty. Seriously!

  3. So good! Can't wait to see the hobbit Shire! The kids are excited to see where their Dad was born.

    1. The Shire is FAR cooler in person. These pics don't do it justice!

      What you don't see here is my kids the Green Dragon, having a drink of something in these thick mugs.

      Elizabeth says: This, my friend, is a pint!
      John: It comes in pints? I want one!


  4. What a joy-evoking, tear-evoking, smile-creating, just indescribably beautiful post! I am awe-struck.

    My husband has talked for at least 10 years--no, more like 12 years--about visiting New Zealand (mostly because of LOTR). I always smile and nod and say "Oh sure, someday we'll visit..." But, your sharing your family's experience has stirred in me my own desire to see that beautiful country.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the amazing descriptors and jaw-dropping photos of your trip. So happy for your family that you all had the wonderful experience you did!

    1. Jer and I started talking about NZ while watching the "Lord of the Rings" movies. THEN, when Bush was re-elected, I started making plans to MOVE to NZ! LOL NO WAY was I going to live in a country that would re-elect that man...

      Anyway, we finally got there and it was worth the wait.
      If I had the money, I would send everyone there who wants to go!

  5. You made me homesick! Gorgeous photo's. And you are right about just how big NZ actually is. When we toured the South Island it took us just over three weeks and on most days we were in the van for up to 10 hours a day!

    Glad you enjoyed my homeland

    1. It might just be the most beautiful place on earth...

  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself in NZ. I grew up there, have been away for 15 years and have recently returned. I'm re-discovering my own country and I found your wonderful description very interesting. I'm also delighted to have come across your excellent blog, via the Blasphemous Homemaker's pinterest board! :)

    1. I know your rediscovery will never end....


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