So ...we have just finished our holidays on these remote islands. The first impressions: a country roughly the size of Romania with 5 times less people which results in huge areas without anything else but sheep and/or cow farms. The villages scattered around the country are mostly formed by a couple of houses and most of the towns are quite small (couple of hundred to couple of thousand people). We just visited the south island but I suppose the northern one should be similar. We drove around the island starting from Christchurch (were Cris did her 3 months internship)towards south in the Catlins, then heading north on the west coast passing trough Te Anau - Milford, Queenstown, and back south visiting the Abel National Park and Marlborough region. Before reaching Christchurch we stopped in Kaikoura for a meeting with the whales and dolphins. Around 3200 km on the wrong side of the road (left side) sleeping in our campervan Lollie. All in all it was a nice trip despite of the weather issues (rain) on the west coast. Although we did not see anything spectacular (like the Perito Moreno glacier and Iguazu falls in Argentina or the Kilauea active volcano in Hawaii) the whole south island was nice starting with the native rain-forests, the beaches,the mountains and finishing with the incredible reach marine wildlife (we saw penguins and seals almost everywhere). Also the people were nice and helpful. We did not need to confirm and re-confirm everything twice like in Argentina. Actually, last day we went for some ice-cream and wanted to pay with the credit card...for some reason they were accepting only the local cards (at the end it was a small shop) and we did not have enough cash to pay for both so they just charged us one ice cream instead of two.
All in all it was a nice holidays. One day we have to go back to see the famous Milford sound on a clear day and to visit the north island as well.
P.S. Cris promised to post a more detailed version of the trip ....let`s see when :)