We are in our last days. Nan and Bruce are off to Australia, and Aussie adventures for a few weeks. Dave and Linda, Steve and I will fly the long journey home. We will leave NZ in the afternoon, and return to the US just a few hours later, thanks to the time change.
I've been compiling a mental list of Kiwi things we all love. Of course, the New Zealanders are at the top of the list. They are unfailingly kind, and interested in us from the USA. They think we have a funny accent! They have a visually beautiful country, and stunning scenery everywhere we looked. We love their signage, which in some ways made better sense than our own. They have universal health care that seems to work out well for all. They also have the option of purchasing extra care, if wanted. Their taxes are included in ALL pricing for everything, so what you see, is what you get. We really got used to that! There is no tipping. People here get paid a "living wage", so tipping is basically non existent. Political candidates are allotted a monetary stipend for their candidacy, so there are no PACs. Also, the nominating and voting process only takes a few months. America-get a clue!
Prostitution is legal and taxed. NZ has no death penalty. Their police do not carry guns, because no one else does either. They have wonderful trails (tracks) everywhere. It is easy to walk places.
The have McCafe's, which are great. They have tea time. They have great wines. The go ballistically happy over "All Blacks", their national rugby team. Everywhere we stayed, the accommodations had kitchens,tea pots, refrigerators, and were exceedingly clean and comfortable. I could easily keep going, as we enjoyed this country so much. If there was a down side, it was no easy access to internet. They seem to be a tad behind in this. We could usually find it, but for a price. Even Starbucks charged, and all the hotels did also. They have narrow roads and look at bicyclists as stationary objects that are basically in the way of their cars. I would not call them bicycle friendly. And the biggie is they drive on the other side of the street! ha! Queenstown has no lights, so crossing any street was always a challenge.
We loved New Zealand.