Lambic House - New Zealand Vacation - May 2004

On 25th April 2004, we flew to New Zealand, for a fantastic four week belated honeymoon. We had an amazing time, and I kept a journal throughout.

We also took nearly 900 digital photographs, 100 film photographs, and 45 minutes of video. Some of that is here for your enjoyment.

Choose a day from the right to go straight there, or start at day one.

Notes from two small islands

Timing

We were worried about the fact that we were arriving in New Zealand in the middle of autumn, but it turned out to be the perfect time to visit. It was low season so the crowds of tourists had all gone home, the room rates were at their lowest, and the weather was very reasonable.

Food

Restaurant food is mostly excellent, but can be very expensive. Be prepared to pay for all the extras, including bread, and sometimes even condiments! On the other hand, there is little to no tipping, which makes calculating the bill easier. Specialities are lamb, venison and seafood.

New Zealand has a strange concept of pizza. Most pizzas have weird toppings, finished off with some kind of sweet sauce.

Meat pies seem to be the staple snack food. They are sold in most convenience stores but it's better to find a dedicated pie shop. All kinds of fillings are available, from mince and cheese to mussels.

'Entrees' means appetizers or small main dishes in most places, 'mains' are the proper size main courses

The Roads

Everywhere takes a long time to get to. Most roads are twisty, often climbing over mountains with wicked switchbacks. Most roads carry the national speed limit of 100kph (NZ is fully metricated), but the tight corners prohibit that. The corners are very well signposted with optimal speeds.

There are some small motorways around Auckland, but they seem to be one big traffic jam.

The Weather

We enjoyed mostly sunny days, with a few rainy days. It became a lot colder the further south we went, to the point where we experienced a frost on the South Island. When the sun is out, it is very strong.