2122.2 km is the distance we covered on the north island of New Zealand over 11 days.  For most places that amount of time in a car would be unbearable.  However, the scenery and landscapes in NZed are so spectacular that the time flies by.  In the span of an hour you can pass cascading waterfalls, cliffs plunging into the sea, never-ending wildflower fields, snowcapped mountains, redwood forests, sprawling vineyards, apple or olive orchards, or dense jungles. The most difficult thing to do is keep your eyes and vehicle on the road.  I was constantly reminded of this as Nug would yell at me “What are you doing?!?  Pay attention!!” more times than I could count.  Of course this always occurred moments before my lackadaisical driving would have careened us over a cliff (by the way those are her PG warnings to me).  Besides the incredible backdrops, the other thing about NZ that blew my mind was how friendly, helpful and welcoming the Kiwis are.  Every motel, hostel, gas station, winery, or grocery store had some Kiwi who would pick us out as foreigners and lead to a 15 minute conversation about our background, what we thought of their country, where we had been in NZed, where we were going, a local opinion on the must do or see places and the unanimous…11 days in their country is not enough time to see what New Zealand has to offer.  Luckily we had no set plan when entering the country because everywhere we went people had reccos that changed our “solid” blueprint.  We were led to boutique wineries, epic farmer’s markets, a stand that had freshly made blueberry frozen yogurt, invited to people’s homes and drinking clubs, told of hotels down the road that may be more in our budget, informed of local organic cheese makers, informed of a local medical honey that would cure my cut foot and invited to go fly fishing for rainbow trout.  These numerous side trips and conversations did help me realize something that I was afraid of from the beginning and that was verified as we were leaving…11 days is not enough time to spend in New Zealand even for 1 island.

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