I know it went a week without any blog posts, but there was a good reason: we went to New Zealand! We went for 8 days to drive around the south island of New Zealand. It has the reputation as being one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and of course I forgot my camera. Don't worry, Dawn brought her camera and took over 700 pictures (and nearly drove me crazy). We drove over 1700 miles on nothing larger than a 2 lane road. There are plenty of stories to tell, but please be patient as I sort through the images and write up the blog entries. I'll try to have them finished by this weekend.
Here is where New Zealand is located in respect to Australia and the route we took around the south island.
Some facts about New Zealand:
- The term "kiwi" can refer to the rare bird found in New Zealand or a person from New Zealand, but the fruit is called a kiwifruit.
- The Australian and New Zealand accent are similar, but are NOT the same (the Kiwis are sensitive to being mistaken for Australians).
- New Zealand is the world's youngest country (the last major land mass to be populated). It was originally just a marsh land that broke away from the South America/India/Australia/Antartica super continent. Volcanic activity and it's placement along two tectonic plates created the steep mountain ranges and made the area more hospitable for life.
- New Zealand had no native land mammals. Birds were the only land species until other animals were brought over on ships.
- New Zealand has about 4 million people, 40 million sheep, and is about the size of California.
- New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote.
- New Zealand was forced out of the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States) alliance in the 1980s when it outlawed nuclear arms and power (and prevented US ships carrying nuclear devices from entering their waters). To this day, there are no nuclear power stations in New Zealand, and a change of law would be required before one could be built.
More about New Zealand is coming!