New Zealand

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February, 2018

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This was our second visit to New Zealand and this time we spent a lot of time off the beaten track, tiki touring ( going where the mood took us).Home was a small campervan from Wenderkeisen that was small enough to fit in a car parking space but big enough to house a shower and toilet so that we could be self contained and make use of free camping and Department of Conservation ( DoC) campsites. We had visited the main tourist areas on our first visit so decided to spend as much time as we could exploring all those unmetaled roads into the middle of nowhere. If we got fed up with the view, would drive for five minutes and the view changed dramatically. The 66 days sped by but gave us an opportunity to see many new places in North and South Island as well as visit a few favourites from our first trip.

Nature and natural forces certainly have a great impact on New Zealand and we managed to dodge two cyclones and some periods of heavy rain while we were there, as well as seeing the mountains turn white as the snow fell in Fiordland. Our route was also changed or journeys delayed due to the damage done to the road system by the cyclones and an earthquake a year ago. We were so impressed by the speed that roads were repaired and made passable for traffic. We leaned to be prepared for anything and to change plans at the drop of a hat.

New Zealand looks small on the map but getting from one place to another takes at least a third longer than it does in the UK and that is not taking into account the many stops for photos along the route. New Zealand is a country to take your time in and enjoy the differences between the different regions. Enjoy New Zealand fish and chips, pies and muffins. Walk, walk and walk some more along the fantastically maintained and waymarked DoC footpaths and visit the many heritage sites that chronicle the mining history of New Zealand. Stay in out of the way places, often for free, and sit and watch the sunset or sunrise. Admire the beautiful scenery and the ever changing colours. For us blue always reminds us of New Zealand as on our visits we became aware of just how many shades of blue there are, aquamarine lakes, turquoise rivers, sky blue streams, midnight blue mountains and ice blue glaciers. Hence the title Fifty Shades of Blue.

Gillian Green

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