I have spent many hours trying to compare New Zealand to some other place I have been to or heard of. New Zealand is like the heart of the world. It takes the best of every country and makes it is own- it cannot be compared.
Although I have spent some hours at the beach, New Zealand is not Hawaii, I don’t spend my time wearing a sarong and slippahs (or jandles as they are called here) bumming it on boring or sunny days. The closest beach is 10 min away and filled with pebbles, not sand, so it makes the beach a great place to take long walks or a humbling bike ride, but not so much to just bum on.
There are some breathtaking sandy beaches along the coast if you are willing (and I am willing) to take the hour drive of pure beauty. The roads here twist and wind on the edge of mountains. After what seems like hours of green pastures, hills, valleys, and sheep. . The mountainous regions taper off into the white sand beach where the ocean dazzles you with its blue/green color. The water is chilly, not as cold as New England, but not as warm as Hawaii . I swam in it, even though I had to keep catching my breath since the chill had taken it away. Just this past weekend I spent 2 days at a Bach on a beach, A Bach is a simple no-fuss beach house. We had no phone, no cell service, no Internet and the closest store was 35 min away. But you had all the beach you can see, and it was good enough for me! I found a few Paua shells, beautiful shells that can grow the size of your hand with rainbow colors on the inside.
The town of Napier (where I am staying) was destroyed in 1931 due to an earthquake. They were determined not to give up after such a disaster and re-build the town, it was done is a beautiful and unique ArtDeco style. I spend my days wandering town, up to five hours, just laying in the garden sketching or swimming at the Ocean Spa (its only 8 NZD for the whole day for 5 ocean water pools and 2 hot tubs) but the town is a good enough size to navigate your way through.
The house I am staying in is big and open and wonderful! It has many rooms and full of windows, I live in wine country so the landscapes are breath taking. I have my own room, dresser and my own bathroom, (with a whirlpool tub!) Im practically being spoiled, no hostels and washing my clothes in the sink here! (so far)
Slangs I have caught on to are: ‘would you like tea?’ means ‘would you like supper?, ‘Are you keen to get pissed?’ – Do you want to get drunk?, Jelly is not jam, its jello, Jandels are sandles, (thongs in Aussie, slippahs in Hawaii), togs are bathing suits, a chilly bin is a cooler, tomato sauce is ketchup, they don’t have fluff or Pandora station. … and they call Sprite-Lemonade!
Everything has been an amazing experience! (esp the food!!) I wish a were a writer so I could better capture the beauty and experience of Kiwi life, but hopefully this at least gets you interested so you will come too!