New Zealand Impressions

Apr 08, 2011 Avatar Dan Ilves Dan Ilves

Unlike most who take vacations, when we travel professionals travel, we’re usually packing everything we can in into the shortest amount of time possible. We are, after all, on a mission: to see all the best hotels we can see (like Huka Lodge here), take in some sightseeing, and most importantly, make personal contacts with those we rely on to assist us with our clients.

A recent TravelStore trip to New Zealand was a whirlwind 10 days to the North and South Islands. While New Zealand seems to be on everyone’s list of places to go, not enough take the time to go there. It just seems like a blip on the map, not large enough for one’s vacation focus perhaps, when there’s so much more of the planet to explore.

For the nature lover, New Zealand is incredible. No, it doesn’t have the rich history or art of Europe or Asia, the architectural monuments or World Heritage Sites. But it does offer beautiful landscapes, a warm and friendly people, and some of the world’s best luxury lodges. As Katherine Mansfield noted about New Zealand: “”It was one of those days so clear, so still, so silent, you almost feel the earth itself has stopped in astonishment at its own beauty.”

Of course, maybe this quaint and quiet is what causes so many Kiwis to go nuts coming up with the latest adventure activity. Bungee jumping is surpassed by so many other off-beat activities. Zorb, anyone?

But I came back from New Zealand realizing I’ve just visited a country with a population fewer than Los Angeles, where everyone has some form of health care, all the roads are well-paved, the streets are largely spotlessly clean, and there is no evidence of homelessness in the streets. What’s wrong with this picture and how does a country with more sheep than people afford it?