On our journey through New Zealand we gained various impressions and experienced numerous things that are strange to us. We also sampled the Kiwi humour in large amounts. Here are a few of these snippets that we collected along the way (in no particular order).
There are very few motorways in NZ, only a few around the main cities, this is purely because there is such a low population in relation to the land mass that there isn't a requirement and not likely to be for a long time yet! One Saturday morning we travelled for 20 minutes without either meeting another car or one coming the other way!
There aren't many, road signs nor are there many advertising hoardings along the roadsides out of towns. To me there was sufficient for you to notice what they said but not so many that you were over whelmed.
Drivers are very courteous and tend to pull in and let you pass if they think you are going faster than them.
There are a number of different and clever road signs asking you to drive slowly and be careful – some of them pictorial – and they are not all the same. As we came into one place there was a sign saying 'Slow Down' followed by another sign about 20 metres further on saying 'No Hospital, No Doctor, One Cemetery'.
Driving along in the coach one day the driver did an emergency stop as the car in front stopped suddenly without any warning. The car in front then carried on but was going fast then slow and winding across the road most of the time, eventually he suddenly slowed and pulled off the road and we were able to go past. The tour organiser had taken a note of their number and phoned up an agency and reported the erratic and non-courteous driving. Apparently they pull them over at the next time and could even be given a ticket. The following day the coach came across the same car again – still driving a bit erratically but was able to get past fairly quickly. The following day we were in Queenstown and Pete and I were walking back to the hotel after supper – it was just getting dusk and a car without any lights on made an odd turn – guess what – it was the same car again!
As the country, and the towns and cities are so small you tend to keep bumping into the same people all the time. After the cruise in Doubtful sound we met a couple that had been on the cruise with us the following day at the Albatross Colony, we then went on to the Penguins and there was another couple there from the cruise. When ever we had a free day (e.g. in Wellington) without fail we would meet a large number of our fellow tour members. Once we had finished the tour and said goodbye to everyone, we still kept meeting them in various places.
On the whole the Kiwis are very friendly and helpful and are always interested in striking up a conversation which invariably starts with either 'Have you had a good day so far?' or 'Where do you come from?'.
We never really had any bad food, the fish and the variety of fish available was excellent. The same with the wines – grapes are grown every where in NZ and the wines they produce on mainly what is called 'Boutique Vineyards' are very good.
There is friendly rivalry between the North the South Islanders but to a greater extent between the Kiwis and Aussies.