We returned to Chicago on New Year’s Eve. Due to the attempted bombing of the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit during Christmas, we received hand search to our bags and pat down to our bodies at Auckland Airport. But our flight departed for Los Angeles on time and we able to get upgraded on a United flight from LA to Chicago.
Over the last few days, we have looked at the photos we took in New Zealand several times. We continue to marvel at our experiences—the beautiful sceneries, our daily hiking, and the delicious food. It is fair to say this is the best, and the longest, vacation we have ever had.
My “record” experiences include the following:
- I have never seen so many sheep and cows in my life;
- I have never eaten so much lamb in such a short period of time and loved every bit of it;
- I have never gone through so many different climate and vegetation in a given day;
- I have never viewed so many waterfalls in a sound or mountain; and
- I have never witnessed so many creeks/rivers along a hiking trail.
A few observations/recommendations:
- Kiwi people are very friendly and patient;
- The water in the lakes, rivers, and ocean fronts is clearer and sky bluer in the Kiwi land;
- Abel Tasman, Routeburn Track and Milford Sound are places one must see in a lifetime;
- My highly recommended places include: the botanic garden in Christchurch, Te Puna Wai Lodge B&B in Nelson, Boat Shed Restaurant in Nelson (do the “trust the chef”menu), Hunters Wines in Benwick, Marlborough (wines and food), Franz Josef Glacier, Boardwalk Seafood Restaurant in Queenstown and Redcliff Restaurant and Bar in Te Anau.
- Make a trip to New Zealand when you can—it’s definitely worth it!