Deb & Roger’s YB Travel Adventures to New Zealand 2008 – Present
Who hasn’t wanted to visit New Zealand and Australia! And while our previous travels usually took us close, it wasn’t until my daughter moved there in 2008 that it made the agenda, and is now a frequent stop on our way elsewhere.
We were living in Germany when she went there for the first time in 1998 and fell in love with the place and saying she would live there someday. It was like having all of her favorite places in America rolled into one. She also liked that there weren’t that many people. The population on both Islands is about the same as where we live in Tampa Bay.
Having now spent months traveling all around the North and South Island, I can positively say that the claims are not exagerated. New Zealand has such a variety of magnificent and scenically beautiful geographical regions. And they are within easy reach of each other. The scenery is diverse and includes impressive mountainous areas, fertile farmland, beautiful sweeping beaches and coastline, verdant forests, and numerous rivers and lakes. With New Zealand’s low population density, all New Zealanders and visitors alike have convenient access to an extremely wide range of recreational facilities and opportunities, many of which have made New Zealand internationally famous.
As a mother I am comforted by the fact that New Zealand has a worldwide reputation for being a welcoming and safe destination. And the New Zealanders are renowned for their honesty, friendliness, and openness. And there is a high level of tolerance and respect for individual cultural differences throughout New Zealand.
In 2011 we decided to fly directly to New Zealand instead of Asia. Shan and her fiance Kleber had fortunately survived the Christchurch earthquake February of this year but they lost their house and businesses. Shaken up and not wanting to deal with this again, they headed north and finally settled in Tauranga which is two and a half hours southeast of Auckland, right on the water. It is a beautiful place, much warmer than the South Island, almost sub-tropical with a great surfing beach. And Mount Maunganui as a backdrop and for climbing. The New Zealand government, and the people of New Zealand went out of their way to help everyone that lived in Christchurch with money, food, opening up their homes, support groups to help with finding jobs for those that wanted to relocate, cheap flights out of the city and so many other things. I can’t say enough how grateful for all the help they received. And that she lives in such a sophisticated, and caring place.