January 24, 2015 I (Rolf Dahlberg) was glad to join a group from People to People International (PTPI) in Denmark and travel with their team to New Zealand. We travelled also between Christchurch on the South Island to Whangarei on the North Island during our twenty-four day trip…..
Our first stop was in Bangkok before heading onto Christchurch. Our Bangkok stopover provided a welcome break, before completing the final stretch of our journey to New Zealand. In Bangkok we were guided around the city and enjoyed the magical aromas, colours and sounds that paint Bangkok’s streets.
Once in New Zealand there were a host of families whom we had the pleasure of meeting, and staying with for several days. We travelled across the South Island by mini-bus for five days, followed by a few days in hotels on the North Island. We bid our hotels farewell and welcomed another visit with a new and wonderful host family while we continued our travels around Whangarei.
The views through the Southern Alps took my breath away. We visited the famous Fox Glacier and experienced how the weather can change from rain to sun to snow and then back to sun – all in one day – typical of New Zealand! It was incredible to enjoy the New Zealand summer time considering they had just finished celebrating Christmas!
We started as a group of globally minded travellers ready to share an adventure together. As the days rolled by we were no longer a group but a circle of friends. We were truly amazed by the beauty of the country that inspired our kindred spirits.
Gibb Lee of PTPI Christchurch and his amazing wife Val were our wonderful guides and leaders throughout our stay in New Zealand. They took care of all of our transportation, accommodation and supplied us with amazing food and drink. Other local friends included Jim Palmer and Raewyn Jecentho, who helped by driving and sharing stories along the way.
Both of my host families were proud to share the cultural traditions and splendour of their native country. By the final day I was watching the Cricket World Cup, eager to try and learn the rules!
The whole trip was well organized and a great deal of fun. We saw waterfalls – a member of the group even bungee jumped off the Kawarau Bridge! We spotted Kiwis and Kia’s (local birds), saw how sheep are sheared, visited an old mining town, observed a fish farm and climbed up to the observatory on Mount John where it was only 3°C (37°F)! We learned about local trees and plants and some of us even took a dip in the Pacific Ocean. We learned about the history of the native Mauris, viewed the pancake-rocks at Punakaiki, and rode in a steam engine built in 1912 in Queenstown.
It has been an amazing trip that blew me away on so many levels. The nature, people and sights touched me and will always remain with me. It will take days to go through the 1400+ pictures I took. One thing is certain – I will be back again soon! New Zealand now has a piece of my heart.
I would like to express my thanks to our tour guide: Anna-Marie Bohsen for an incredible job. The chapter organises a lot of trips around the world, to places like Mongolia, Japan, New Zealand, Albania and Bulgaria. See what they are planning next on their website http://www.peopletopeople.dk
Short facts on New Zealand: Capital: Wellington with 325.000 inhabitants; the largest city is Auckland with 1,200,000 inhabitants; highest mountain is Mount Cook at 3724 meters; total population: 4,400,000. New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. 1 New Zealand dollar = 0,66 EUR