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the pride of new zealand: blog4nz

Christchurch flowers

View of Christchurch flowers last year

"Sydney?," the gap-toothed, sun-blistered Kiwi asked me as he loaded his taxi with our luggage.  "Too bad.  Nothin's better there.  Not enough fresh air."  He shook his head, regretting our departure from New Zealand, convinced that nowhere could be more beautiful than the Land of the Long White Cloud. 

View of New Zealand

A random point where we stopped driving, got out of the car, and ogled

When we planned our trip to New Zealand 18 months ago, we knew it would be beautiful; after all, like nearly every other living being on the planet, we had seen Lord of the Rings.  We expected green fields, cliffs, and rollicking ocean waves.  We knew there would be sheep and we knew there would be adventure sports. 

Christchurch

Moeraki boulders

We did not account for the pride of New Zealanders in their country. 

Christchurch

Christchurch last year

Last month, as you know, Christchurch suffered a devastating earthquake and, quick to action, Kiwi travel bloggers organized Blog4NZ, a community project intending to highlight travel bloggers' favorite spots, activities, adventures, and food of New Zealand to encourage tourism to that country.  Since I heard about this project, the words foremost in my thoughts have been the pride in which New Zealanders place in their country.

New Zealand view

Another spot where we stopped by the side of the road and took pictures

We heard over and over again while we were there, "It's a little country.  But, it's the best."  We sat patiently through many a speech about the glory of the All Blacks.  We listened to Kiwis complain about water (yes, water) everywhere else in the world, because their water tastes the best of anywhere, they said.  (Actually, on that point, we don't disagree with them.  Their water is really darn good because it is pure and mountain-fed.)

Yellow eyed penguin Yellow eyed penguin

Yellow-eyed penguin

That pride is apparent everywhere but, most notably, in the tourism industry itself.  New Zealand's tourism industry is a reflection of the respect and inventiveness Kiwis share for their country. 

Near Milford Sound

The Key Summit hike at Milford Sound

The stunning natural parks, hikes, and reserves remain that way because littering is next to a sin.  On the weekends, the New Zealanders flee their cities and hike through their natural parks, thinking nothing of multi-day Great Walks, part of the national pasttime of tramping.  A "short walk" in New Zealanders' parlance is, after all, a 30-minute longer walk than in the United States.

Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier

Adventure sports ---- canyon swinging, bungy jumping, Zorbing, and glacier hiking ---- are offered to the tourists as a laid-back alternative to the wild activities in which many Kiwis take part; our glacier hiking guide jogged up and down the glaciers when he wasn't carving out the ice stairs for us cossetted tourists and, in the spring, thrilled in white-water kayaking. 

Drive to Milford Sound

Drive to Milford Sound

When we spoke to the people of Maori heritage, though they continued to hope and request certain accomodations and reparations, they took pride that their culture lived on in the schooling of the nation's children which requires teaching the Maori language to all Kiwis.

Marlborough 

Marlborough wines

Forty years ago, when French and Italian wineries were considered to produce the only wines suitable for drinking, an upstart winery began producing wines in the Marlborough region.  Today, New Zealand produces what is widely considered to be the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. 

Near Hokitika

Hokitika beaches

Pride . . . . pride can be a bad thing, a sin that leaves us committing so many others, and one that we should avoid in ourselves.  But, pride in a country can lead to beautiful, bountiful successes that results in something better for the nation as a whole.  It is that same pride that allowed New Zealanders to work together and recover from a devastating disaster.

Hokitika beaches

Sunset at Hokitika

If you are planning on visiting New Zealand, we hope that you won't be put off by last month's earthquake.  New Zealand is open for business.

*Read more of the #Blog4NZ posts at their Facebook Fan page.  [And, if you're wondering why this is supporting New Zealand given all that is happening in Japan right now, I expect that once Japan recovers more, we will be participating in something similar.]

03/22/2011 20:49
Incredible photos and great text! I can't stop looking at those caved-in boulders. I'm so glad to discover your blog, and I was happy to participate in the initiative by writing a post on the best way to cut across the South Island to reach Christchurch: Driving Across NZ on Arthur's Pass with Kids. Thanks for what you've done on the blog4nz initiative.
03/24/2011 10:29
Thank you so much Sarah! We loved the Moeraki Boulders, too. We really wanted to do Arthur's Pass and your post makes me regret that we didn't end up doing the drive. There is just too much to see in New Zealand.
Akila's recent blog post: the pride of new zealand: blog4nz
03/23/2011 08:52
If your pictures don't create wanderlust in every reader I would be completely shocked!
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures's recent blog post: The Bahamas: Day 5 (Part 3)
03/24/2011 10:27
Andi, Thanks! Wanderlust is our goal!
Akila's recent blog post: the pride of new zealand: blog4nz
03/23/2011 10:17
These pictures made us dream... We would love to see New Zealand in person one day and we hope that day is not too far. Currently we live some 17,000 km away, so you can imagine that a trip to New Zealand would be quite expensive. Anyway, we are optimistic about that, so this contry is on our travel wish list for the near future.
Adrian B.'s recent blog post: A Review of TravelMatch.co.uk
03/24/2011 10:24
Adrian: I hope y'all make it to New Zealand! It is a truly stunning country with wonderful people. It's a bit of a haul but once you get there, you can save costs by camping which is what most people do anyway. We used a campervan throughout and found it to be the best way to travel in that country.
Akila's recent blog post: the pride of new zealand: blog4nz
03/23/2011 15:45
These photos bring back so many good memories, had such a great time there in NZ. The Key Summit hike does looks like something I need to do next time :)
Tijmen's recent blog post: 4 Things to See and Do in Mali
03/24/2011 10:21
Tjimen, The Key Summit hike is awesome! One of our favorites from New Zealand - it's a relatively low key walk but the views are stupendous if it's a clear day! It's on the way up to Milford Sound.
Akila's recent blog post: the pride of new zealand: blog4nz
03/24/2011 09:01
10 days and we'll be there!!!
Amy's recent blog post: An Afternoon by the Sea in Kep
03/24/2011 10:19
Yay! You are going to LOVE it. I am so glad y'all decided to go. :)
Akila's recent blog post: the pride of new zealand: blog4nz
03/26/2011 06:09
Wonderful pictures of a wonderful country. We traveled there almost 10 years ago and longed to return. More recently we spent a month traveling through Patagonia, Argentina and kept thinking of the similarities between the two. The rugged mountain and lake landscapes, love for the outdoors, and superb and well-priced wine. What a combination.
Dave's recent blog post: Cruisin' for Oldies
03/29/2011 09:52
Thank you Dave! Now, you make us want to go to Argentina. We have actually heard great things about how beautiful Argentina is but I didn't realize that it was similar to New Zealand.
Akila's recent blog post: a girl in the bonaventure cemetery
03/27/2011 22:12
Beautiful pictures, and a lovely pithy round-up of reasons to visit New Zealand. Thanks.
03/29/2011 10:04
Thank you Theodora!
Akila's recent blog post: a girl in the bonaventure cemetery
04/16/2011 09:08
These pictures are GORGEOUS!!!! I wish I had seen this when I featured a Blog4NZ roundup. Wow. Now I want to visit NZ more than ever before.
Kirsten Alana's recent blog post: Friday Five for 4.15.11
04/18/2011 15:22
Thank you so much Kirsten! That means so much coming from such an amazing photographer. :) You should go - NZ is wonderful.
Akila's recent blog post: introducing the road unleashed
01/05/2012 07:21
Amazingly beautiful land scapes, tremendous amount of natural beauty and charming man made attractions sum up the brilliance in New Zealand that a traveller can experience.
02/16/2012 17:16
We actually visited New Zealand recently and your blog was one of the motivators for picking that country. Cheers!
Arundhati's recent blog post: Snapshots of Angkor
03/12/2012 05:23
Arundhati, Thanks so much! I hope you enjoyed yourself in New Zealand - it's such a beautiful country, isn't it?
Akila's recent blog post: spain: the low-down
09/25/2012 17:40
Pip Stroud
As a Kiwi living in the USA for over 10 years now, I want to thank you for your review of Kiwiland & your opinion of our Kiwi pride in her. What happened to CHCH & the continued earthquakes & rebuilding being done was devastating to all Kiwi's everywhere. I visited just a few weeks after the 2nd most devastating quake & was SO grateful & impressed at the Kiwi courage & camaraderie in the face of such utter destruction, loss & fear. KIA KAHA! is what we say 'Be proud' 'Live strong'. Cheers!
10/24/2012 20:13
Thanks Pip! I'm glad to hear that the country is moving forward after that awful tragedy.

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