Thursday, April 15, 2004

If anyone is considering going to New Zealand on vacation, I would HIGHTLY recommend it. My girlfriend lived there last year, and I flew down twice to visit her - for a total of about a month. There are some truely amazing places, and the whole country just has such a nice feeling.

I spend most of my time in Wellington - the capitol city, and home of Peter Jackson. This is a lovely city, about 200,000 people with lots to do. New Zealand is proud to boast the most Cafes per capita of anywhere in the world (even Seattle!).

If you visit Wellington, I would recommend visiting Te Papa which I believe means "our place" in Maori. It is the national museum, and is full of interesting New Zealand specific exhibits.

If you are going to travel around the Islands at all, make sure you go to the West Coast of the South Island. It is still mostly undeveloped, so you are presented with a raw and rugged New Zealand. There is everything from beach to rain forest to snow covered alps - and often within miles of each other. We thought it looked a bit like Hawaii, without the hotels, and with a bit of Switzerland thrown in. Don't see that every day!

Our last visit, we stayed in Punakaiki which is home to the famous Pancake Rocks. An absolutely amazing geological formation, set right next to the rain forest, and a large national park. We stayed in the Rata cottage (see above website) which was lovely, and had a view of the ocean from the shower.

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