Things I Liked
Sense of humour
Kiwis have a great sense of humour. I did find that the States were on a “different” wavelength to us Brits, however Kiwis are very similar. As Brits we tend to take the piss out of things quite abit and thats what Kiwis do too…if anything more than us Brits. Their adverts and Breakfasts shows are alot more humourous than the UK ones. I mean the whole “don’t drink n drive” adverts were one of the first thing I saw and the whole “If You Stop Someone From Drink Driving, You’re A Bloody Legend” is great. Even the use of the word “Bloody” is brilliant as its kinda like slang. When we hit the roads in Rotorura there are signs with a Wise owl on them telling you what things not to do when driving…the signs look so comical that me and Bec constantly made reference to them as we drove past them. They were fun to look at (our favourite one was a picture of the owl with “dnt txt n drive” was a genious the way it was written as it was in text speech lol.
Sounds weird but I love the cars over here. I am a great fan of old muscle cars such as the 69 Mustang n Dodge Charger. I never thought I would see so many in Tauranga. I was in the USA for 3 months and didn’t see half as many as I did in Tauranga. Fridays seemed to attract all the muscle cars up and down the main strip (the strand). I was in car heaven as they were all in amazing condition too. Even when i drove down south I saw lots of old American cars driving around. Putting the classics to one side I even like their new cars. I loved the Holdens, Swifts and Hondas. They have models I have never seen in the UK before. Their 4 door cars just seem alot more sportier and beefier than ours in the UK. Theres not many times when I looked at a car and thought “THATS A SHIT HEAP”. Fair place New Zealand for getting these cool cars!
Fast Food Places
So im talking McDonalds, KFC etc.. they are better than the UK ones. The reason is because they have “inbetween” meals. So they have a meal in between a happy meal and a main meal. It costs $6 for a chicken McCheese, fries n coke. There are lots to choose from too at anything up to $7. Now thats like £3 for an entire meal which is a bargain. We don’t have those in the UK, so if you just fancy a snack from McDonalds then you have to buy a happy meal or just a cheeseburger etc as otherwise your spending more money… where as over here you can pay £3 n get a small snack meal which is great!
I’m not convinced its the “best” in the world, however especially in Queenstown it was so pretty. I would say its the prettiest place i’ve ever been (as of May 2014), however Bec has been to BAMF in Canada n her photos looked amazing of the Lakes their so I rekon this could be a good competitor for scenery. This place is basically Middle Earth off Lord Of The Rings exactly how you see it on the films. Its amazing. The north island is mainly hills (looks similar to Wales in the UK) so its nothing amazing however in the south the scenery is rather spectacular. We were lucky as when we were in Queenstown it snowed on top of the mountains meaning we got to see white mountains with blue skies when we were there. I got some great shots of the mountains next to the lake.
Things I Disliked
Fish n Chips
Now being from the UK, we have chip shops all over the place. They are all made in the same way. Now we have been to a few places in New Zealand (both North n South) and only found one chippy that was decent. The others just seem to cook “oven style” chips which are no where near as good. The chippys that are the best are the ones that cut their potatoes and then fry them. The other thing that New Zealand haven’t mastered too is the time it takes to get the chips to you. In the UK it takes literally about a minute for them to dish up your chips, wrap um n give them to you. In New Zealand it take ages. We were in Bobbys Fish n Chuip shop in Tauranga and it took literally 30 minutes for the chips to be in our hands. The reason it takes so bloody long is because they don’t cook anything until the order is taken. In the UK they have chips ready to serve all day long. Cooking them to order takes too long. It also bugs me when it has a British flag outside a “chippy” and you go in there and again their “oven style” chips not freshly cut up so it’s nothing like the British way!
Now I had read online about the fact that New Zealand don’t have as good WIFI as alot of places in the world. When we got to New Zealand it seems so many hostels / hotels only give you like 20mb/50mb for free and then you have to pay. Some don’t even give you that you have to pay extra. In Tauranga it was the worse I have ever seen as the entire area uses the same network “EOL” and thats only 50mb free. . . so that means theres no additional free internet in the bars or restaurants there. Even Starbucks only gave you an additional 30mb if you purchased from there!
However saying the above we did stay in a hostel in Queenstown that gave unlimited free internet and you could get access in your room too (so it wasn’t those ones where you have to be in the lobby etc to get signal). This internet was really quick too. I did see other hotels / hostels offering “unlimited free wifi” too so this confuses me even more as to why cant all hotels n bars have their own free wifi? In the UK practically every hotel n pub has free wifi. I mean it was a shock in Harbourisde Hostel in Tauranga that they didn’t have their own “Wifi” network and just relied on the local EOL 50mb free. . . i mean backpackers rely on internet to book things so surely a hostel should give free wifi to accommodate this? Grrrr
Cost of alcohol.
So this is mainly aimed at bars. I never found a pint of beer for less than $5 which is about £2.50. I no it don’t sound that much but in the UK they have a chain called “Weatherspoons, Golden Lions etc” where pints are like £1.90. They are reknown for being chip and everyone starting their night there, where as over here I couldn’t really see a “starting out” bar. Guinness in some places was like $10 which is £5 which is the same place as bloody Dublin so its way too expensive. . . which brings me onto the next dislike – their Guinness. Never found a good one. This could be due to the fact that it takes so long to get to New Zealand that it loses its proper taste as Guinness is bloody fussy in terms of how its Brewed etc.
We opened up a WestPac account and we had to use it in a WestPac ATM machine otherwise we would get charged $1 per transaction. In the UK it doesn’t matter who you bank with, ATM withdrawals are always free. So this was a let down and a pain in the arse as I know its only $1 but when your backpacking your trying to save as much as you can.