WOW! We have been in New Zealand only a week and that is one word which we both have used the most. And we haven't even been to South Island yet! If you enjoyed the natural beauty of Fiji, wait till you see our New Zealand pics. The beauty of this place is unbelievable!
Our backpacking journey in New Zealand started a week ago in Auckland (North Island) where we rented a car. For next forty days we will be driving from North Island to South Island, making stop overs in different towns....sometimes staying in hostels, some days in holiday parks and rest of the days trying to camp in this chilly weather :) Since it's two of us, renting a car made a lot of sense since it will give us the flexibility to plan our trip and not be bound by the times and destinations that bus tours offer.
One thing to note, in New Zealand, distance between points does not mean much because the speed limit and the road conditions pretty much determine how long it will take you. It is funny that whenever you ask someone how long will it take to reach to a certain point, they will tell you in hours not kilometers. It took us a while to get used to this :)
Our first four days in North Island were spent driving from Auckland to Coromandel and then Thames. Both of these towns are in Coromandel peninsula, which is surrounded by ocean on all sides. When we drove from Auckland to Coromandel, we were spellbound by the views. Every where we turned our head all we could see was lush green hills, flowers, trees, ocean, sheep, farms and cows. The roads were winding....it was like watching a suspense movie....we did not know what spectacular view we would see next. I don't even remember how many times we stopped our car to take pictures and just admire the surroundings.
If you are a nature lover like we are, New Zealand is the place to be :)