(Topic ID: 219157)

Yet another RotorDave Travel Odyssey - NZ Edition


By rotordave

1 year ago



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    #1 1 year ago

    Righty-ho.

    We are going for a 2 week drive around the South Island of New Zealand. In my previous Odysseys, a few people have asked for a NZ road trip, so here you go!

    Hopefully, it’ll give some of you guys a look at NZ and some of the things we have happening over here.

    There’ll be a little bit of pinball - but not much.

    rd

    #2 1 year ago

    Here is New Zealand!

    It is at the bottom of the globe. Next to Australia. Above Antartica. About the same size as Japan. But only 4.6m residents. Around 1m in the whole Sth Island.

    Three main Islands -
    - North Island
    - South Island (inventively titled huh!)
    - tiny Stewart Island way down the bottom

    It’s winter here at the moment. We will see some snow around the Sth Island.

    This map shows you our rough route.

    We live in Auckland near the top of the Nth Island. We fly to Nelson (up the top of the Sth Island) and drive all down the east coast, around the bottom and up to Queenstown, where we fly back to Auckland.

    We have 2 weeks.

    rd
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    #3 1 year ago

    We arrived into Nelson Tuesday night. Nelson is a nice provincial town at the top of the Sth Island. Notable for having the most sunlight hours of any town in NZ.

    Lots of Christchurch people have holiday homes over in Nelson.

    Didn’t take any pics there as it was darkish when we arrived - we went straight to the pub and had some beersies.

    So there’s Nelson!

    rd

    <inserts stock image off the internet...>

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    #4 1 year ago

    What I do notice (and find amusing) is most mid-size NZ towns often have a really ugly Brutalist style building slap bang in the middle of town. Usually the City Council building.

    These things were all built in the 1970s, they’re god awful looking things, probably all designed by the same dude.

    You see them all over the place. Wellington is full of them. I guess one day they’ll be cool again ... everything comes back into style one day!

    So here is the Nelson City Council building. It actually looks a lot better in the photo than in person. Enjoy!

    rd
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    #5 1 year ago

    Wednesday morning, we left Nelson and drove to Blenheim.

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    No freeways in the South Island! In fact, hardly any in NZ! All windy country roads. Tourists often get caught out by the roads here, they can be quite challenging.

    Blenheim is a famous wine growing area, famous for its Sauvignon Blanc white wines and Pinot Noir red wine. They are exported around the world. I even saw some in Walmart last time I was there!

    Fiona had been wanting to go to the Wither Hills vineyard for a long time ... so to Wither Hills we did go!

    We had a nice meal in their restaurant, and she sampled some of their wines. I’m not a wine guy so I made do with a couple of beers.

    rd
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    #6 1 year ago

    Thursday morning, we leave Blenheim and drive to Christchurch.

    Usually, you’d drive down the coast via Kaikoura. Kaikoura has whale watching and seal colonies you can just walk up to (pro tip - block your nose cause seals stink!)

    However there was some bad weather a few days ago, and the road was closed. So all traffic had to use the inland Lewis Pass route. No major problem - it’s about 5.5 hours drive instead of 4.5.

    rd
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    #7 1 year ago

    That doesnt look like wine in your glass there Dave ?

    #8 1 year ago
    Quoted from golfingdad1:

    That doesnt look like wine in your glass there Dave ?

    Nup. Don’t really like wine. Unless it has bubbles in it.

    rd

    #9 1 year ago

    Driving around the Sth Island is a bit like driving down the middle of Nevada, like we did recently.

    Except the barren desert gets replaced with deserted green countryside. Humanity is far apart in some areas. Lots of areas of native bush and trees, and lots of hills. Basically you’re driving in the valleys between all the hills, exactly the same as the settlers would have done 200 years ago. Except you have the luxury of tarseal to guide you.

    rd

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    #10 1 year ago

    Basically NZ is one big earthquake fault line.

    The whole middle of the South Island is a long spine of mountains with a fault line beneath them.

    Hence we have earthquakes all the time .. esp in the Sth Island and the lower Nth Island. Not so much up where we live - but Auckland is built on top of 48 volcanos, so there’s that ... lol

    rd

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    #11 1 year ago

    One such earthquake was the Murchison Earthquake of 1929. It was around 7.3 magnitude, and changed the landscape. As it is today, this part of the country was sparsely populated so there were only 17 deaths, mainly from landslides from the surrounding hills.

    Today you can visit the Maruia Falls, which was created by this earthquake. One piece of land went up - the other went down, probably about 5 meters (20 ft)

    So now you have this nice water feature.

    rd
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    #12 1 year ago

    While at Maruia Springs, we were graced by a visit by one of NZs flightless birds - the Weka.

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen one, he walked right up to me. Quite a friendly little guy. Obviously used to the tourists that come to the falls.

    I had some seeds in the car so I gave them to him, and he was a happy little chappy.

    rd

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    #13 1 year ago

    We reached Christchurch last night.

    First stop was to catch up with old mates Mikey kiwipinhead and his crazy 35 pin collection. Mikeys house doesn’t really have any furniture - just pinball machines. And a beer fridge. Oh, there’s a TV on the wall now. Brenda will be happy!

    Mikey just took delivery of his new Maiden LE. Only 3 of these in NZ. No pros or premiums so far.

    We got a few games in on Maiden, got some good scores off the bat. Nice pin - one day a pro will come to the RD Arcade, I’m sure.

    Thanks for having us around, Mikeyyyyy!

    rd

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    #14 1 year ago

    This morning, I caught up with Iain, the owner of Pintech, Chchs pinball company. We met up at New Zealand first real barcade! Boooom!

    15 pins and some arcade machines. It’s opening “officially” this weekend, even though it’s sort of been open for a while. The TV news have been down there and there is a buzz in the air! Iain says there was a big crowd last night and he was grinning ear to ear with the pinball earnings.

    We will be holding the 2018 NZ Pinball Championship here next January.

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/tvnz-reporter-tries-pinball-christchurch-s-first-arcade-bar-arcadia-officially-opens-its-doors

    rd

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    #15 1 year ago

    I always wondered if Fiona's kicks would be upside-down there or not; thanks to Wither Hills, now I know I'm looking forward to following your family adventures again as well...

    #16 1 year ago

    You may remember that there was a large earthquake in Chch in 2011. There had been another EQ around 6 months before, which had weakened a lot of the older buildings.

    The 2011 EQ was very shallow, and due to the soil type under the central city, caused massive damage to the central city. 185 people died, including 115 in one building which collapsed.

    Today, 7 years later, the city is a very different place to what it was pre EQ. Just in the central city area, over 1200 buildings have been demolished. They are being replaced with modern, low-rise towers.

    Some of the old buildings have been saved, like the historic Arts Centre, which was originally the Canterbury University, built around 1880. This is where Ernest Rutherford used to hang out (he’s the guy who split the atom, don’t you know...)

    The Arts Centre was closed for years for EQ repairs, and the centre part is still not open. But most of it is now reopen for your tourist visiting pleasure.

    rd

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    #17 1 year ago

    So Chch has a lot of great new buildings ... modern, efficient ...

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    Interspersed with a lot of still damaged and condemned ones. And a huge amount of carparking (where buildings used to be...)

    The most notable is the famous Chch Cathedral which they are still bitching about - the church wants to fix it up for some astronomical amount of money (like $150 millllllion dollars) but despite being maybe the richest organisation in the world, they want the taxpayer to pick up the tab for. Maybe one day that’ll get sorted out.

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    #18 1 year ago

    A common sight around here - historic brick frontages propped up with steel, while buildings await repair.

    The large hotel in the background was Noah’s Hotel (later the Rydges Hotel) it’s also abandoned and awaiting repair. They reckon they can repair it. It’s been empty since 2011, like a lot of the taller buildings that were structurally damaged in the EQ.

    rd

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    #19 1 year ago

    Chch has a cool little tram system that runs around the city centre.

    It was closed for a while after the EQ but it’s been up and running again for a while.

    It mainly caters to tourists.

    Little known fact - Fiona’s father was one of the first tram drivers when the tram opened in 1995. When we came down for a ride back then, he was on the intercom doing his tourist spiel while he was driving the tram, and it went something like this...

    “And on your left, we have the historic Christ’s College ... and up on the right ... AHHH WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU STUPID F**KING WOMAN! GET OUT OF THE WAY!! ... aaaahhhhhhh”

    Which was particularly funny at the time. And so typical of Fiona’s father. Haha

    rd

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    #20 1 year ago

    Oh yeah ... missed some photos from yesterday.

    When we were in Blenheim, a lady asked us if we had tried the pies from the Burleigh bakery. She said they were the best pies she’d ever had. So as we were leaving, I decided to have one for breakfast. As one does.

    The lady said the Pork Belly pie was great .. however I went for the Steak and Blue Cheese. $6.50.

    Maybe the best meat pie I’ve ever had. Chock full of meat. Just a hint of blue cheese ... too much would be overpowering. This was a 10/10 pie. All hand made on site (as most NZ bakeries do)

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    Before we hit the Maruia Falls, we arrived in the town of Murchison. The centre of the 1929 earthquake I mentioned earlier.

    This is typical small town NZ.

    - One pub. Always on the corner.
    - One general store. Generally a 4 Square (a NZ icon)
    - usually a second hand store
    - sometimes a hardware store for the farmers
    - generally some sort of cafe for the farmers wives to meet at and have a coffee while they gossip. Haha

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    There was a cool store called “dust and rust vintage store”. They are only open in the weekend. The store had lots of vintage machinery, gas cans, that sort of thing.

    The white tow truck is a Bedford J1 - this is the ubiquitous truck of NZ in the 1960s. Straight 6 petrol engine, 3 speed manual box with like 3 acres between each gear ratio. Haha. You still see them driving around occasionally. The rusty one (rustier ..) is an Austin truck. Both of these are English design, probably assembled in NZ when they actually built cars in NZ.

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    rd

    #21 1 year ago

    Omg that pie looks incredible!

    #22 1 year ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    Omg that pie looks incredible!

    It really was.

    Fiona said “how do you rate it?”

    I seriously thought about it for probably 10-15 minutes before declaring it the B.P.E.

    Best
    Pie
    Everrrrrrrrrrrrr

    rd

    #23 1 year ago

    Today’s road trip .... Christchurch to Oamaru.

    Oh - ah - mar - u

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    The first stop, just out of chch is the world famous (in New Zealand ...) Cookie Time factory!

    Cookie Time makes great cookies! Available nation wide at most gas stations and supermarkets.

    Yum!

    rd

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    #24 1 year ago

    Our trusty rental stead for this journey - Toyota RAV4. New model with Bluetooth etc. goes along nicely.

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    When we travel anywhere, we play a little driving game. JUCY!!

    When you spot a JUCY rental vehicle, you yell out JUCYYYYY! and smash the closest person as hard as you can on the leg. Or arm. Good times.

    Now, these Jucys pictured below are quite conspicuous... they are large and very green. However, they also do “plain” rental cars, which only have green licence plate surrounds and little stickers on the back screen. That’s when the pro JUCY player really makes hay ...

    rd

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    #25 1 year ago

    Next we hit the town of Rakaia.

    Rack - kai - ah

    This is famous for Salmon fishing.

    As this large garden ornament will tell you ....

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    We are now entering the gold rush area of the South Island. Like Nevada, there was a huge gold rush in the lower Sth Island in the late 1800s, which drew miners from all over the world, looking to strike gold and make their fortune.

    So we will see a lot of stone buildings from the 1870s-1900 on the trip ... and every little town we hit will have 2-10 historic hotels (aka pubs) which served the miners and the travellers back in those days.

    Here you can see a picture of the 1895 shared railway bridge that comes into Rakaia. When a train came along, guards at each end of the bridge would stop the traffic to let the train go over.

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    And here is the town jail from the 1890s. Those miners were always up to no good ...

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    While in Rakaia, we made use of the local amenities... good times.

    rd
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    #26 1 year ago

    Next town is Temuka.

    Tem - moo - car

    Temuka is famous for the pottery that has been made in the town since the 1930s.

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    The factory started making things like insulators for power poles - and soon got into making homewares.

    Temuka pottery is like indestructible. Back in the 70s and 80s, it was very desirable and crazy expensive. Fiona has collected a huge amount of it from Op Shops (church stores) and the like, and we use it as our daily crockery. We have the Riverstone range, same as this set ... we have probably 100 pieces of it.

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    Temuka was a cool little town. Probably 10 old pubs down the Main Street. The stone fronted building is marked as being made in 1872.

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    Always interesting looking in the Op Shops and second hand stores to see what treasures are around. This grocery store sign would be from the 60s or 70s. They still sell “golden gaytime” ice creams in Australia.

    So next time your mate says to you “I really want a gay time”, you know he wants an ice cream.

    Probably.

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    rd

    #27 1 year ago

    Next town and final destination for today is Oamaru.

    Oamaru became a major port town in the 1860s, exporting meat to England, and bringing in supplies for the south Canterbury/North Otago areas. The Central Otago goldrush of the 1860s bought a heap of wealth to the area, resulting in the grand buildings you still see in the town centre.

    Most of the historic buildings are made out of Oamaru stone .. a hard limestone milled near the town. You see Oamaru stone all over the Otago area, and they even exported it in the late 1800s.

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    When the port was closed in the 1970s, and jobs dried up, Oamaru started to go down the drain. But the locals realised the original history of the place was pretty unique, and they were one of the first areas in NZ to promote themselves as a heritage destination.

    - another area that did this was Napier in the north Island - after being almost totally wiped out by a huge earthquake in the mid 1930s, the town was rebuilt in the Art Deco style that was popular at the time, and is now one of the main destinations for lovers of Art Deco from around the world.

    This is the original Oamaru port area - most of the original buildings from 100+ years ago are still there, and trading as tourist stores and restaurants.

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    rd

    #28 1 year ago

    While we were down the port area, a huge Leopard seal came to have a chat to me.

    He was over 2 metres (7ft) long.

    He wasn’t a particularly good looking chappy but he seemed friendly enough.

    These things eat the little penguins that nest along this coast.

    rd

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    #29 1 year ago

    Oamaru has a thriving “steam punk” thing happening.

    I’m still not quite sure what that’s all about - but people get into it, so that’s cool by me!

    There’s a big Steam Punk museum here, where they have Steam Punk get-togethers, and do Steam Punk things.

    This is the public park that’s down near the port, you can see some Steam Punk influences here. Good to see some “stunt” objects in a kids park, like the flying fox and the really high slide.

    It was getting dark, if you look in the background you can see the fog rolling in.

    rd

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    #30 1 year ago

    Did you at least pick up, and look at that bagatelle in the thrift store?

    #31 12 months ago
    Quoted from Darcy:

    Did you at least pick up, and look at that bagatelle in the thrift store?

    To be honest, nope. It was pretty crappy. I have a couple of old ones at home.

    The owner of the store had decided he wanted to own a museum, not a store.

    (That’s what we say when the prices are too high ... the store turns into a museum cause nothing ever sells! Haha)

    rd

    #32 12 months ago

    Had a good walk around the historic area of Oamaru this morning.

    Here are a few shots of the area, including the Steam Punk HQ.

    The grey stone Oamaru police station is still in use today.

    rd

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    #33 12 months ago

    While we were there, we visited a nice lady who hand carves the local white Oamaru Stone.

    This Māori style figure took my fancy ...

    5E9FBB4F-99E7-4FD8-A40C-D22D16B73DEA (resized).jpeg

    Whooops ...

    3B75DE93-14E3-4EBE-96E8-EC8DFCEE7F52 (resized).jpeg

    No idea how I’m going to get it back to Auckland - it weighs a shit load!

    I’ll have to find a freight company ...

    rd

    #34 12 months ago

    Then we headed off to Dunedin, called the Edinburgh of the south, because so many of the early settlers were from Scotland.

    719CA226-E2EE-4572-8348-DC59059528C8 (resized).jpeg

    On the way, we stopped off at the famous Moeraki boulders.

    Moe - rack - e

    They aren’t actually rock boulders - they are “concretions”.

    From Wiki: the boulders consist of mud, fine silt and clay, cemented by calcite. The degree of cementation varies from being relatively weak in the interior of a boulder to quite hard at its outside rim. The outside rims of the larger boulders consist of as much as 10 to 20% calcite because the calcite not only tightly cements the silt and clay but has also replaced it to a significant degree.

    They come out of the hill in the background. You can see one poking out in one of the photos.

    They reckon these things are between 4 million and 5 million years in the making ...!

    rd
    8739EC1D-6E62-4323-B366-26E29D309A42 (resized).jpegB00A1B99-F53C-4D00-A4D8-4F0A43D8D212 (resized).jpegB79B296B-0F50-4EC7-865D-255381768A1A (resized).jpegFFB2F1F3-3A81-4665-B8CD-4AF134780BAD (resized).jpeg

    21AFC1F6-7F21-4760-931E-C3381BE58AA9 (resized).jpeg

    #35 12 months ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    Today’s road trip .... Christchurch to Oamaru.
    Oh - ah - mar - u

    The first stop, just out of chch is the world famous (in New Zealand ...) Cookie Time factory!
    Cookie Time makes great cookies! Available nation wide at most gas stations and supermarkets.
    Yum!
    rd

    How much is $8.50 in US dollars?

    #36 12 months ago
    Quoted from MustangPaul:

    How much is $8.50 in US dollars?

    About 6 bucks. That includes tax of 15 percent.

    #37 12 months ago
    Quoted from clg:

    About 6 bucks. That includes tax of 15 percent.

    Thanks

    #38 12 months ago
    Quoted from MustangPaul:

    How much is $8.50 in US dollars?

    Yep, as Chris said around $6 USD all up including tax.

    All displayed prices in NZ include all taxes.

    Those 600g bags are around 1.3 pounds.

    You could get 1kg bags of cookies for $11.50. That’s 2.2 pounds of fresh sugary deliciousness for $8 USD.

    Sweet deal. Sweet. See what I did there ...?

    rs

    #39 12 months ago

    We hit Dunedin. First stop is the worlds steepest street! As per the Guinness Book of Records!

    Baldwin Street.

    Now, it’s hard to get a gauge on the steepness in a photo... but we walked all the way up to the top, and take my world for it, the back of the calves were aching by half way up!

    Every year, the local chocolate company has an event here where they roll 30,000 Jaffas - a 1/2” round chocolate ball covered in a hard red shell - from the top of the street.

    Every Jaffa has a number etched on it —- the first Jaffa to the bottom wins something! Probably some jaffas!
    32F31A78-31B6-41F3-8BBE-74ECE9746D12 (resized).jpeg

    JAFFAS!

    3C465BAA-1BDC-4D80-AE39-82C6B81D70B6 (resized).jpeg6E9E26B2-3565-40FB-A65B-D7940AC39664 (resized).jpegD03E3B08-CF9B-44C3-A5B6-A5CBF82A2A65 (resized).jpegFDDA5BCE-88EC-4A2B-AF5C-D9EC0A2863D5 (resized).jpeg

    #40 12 months ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    Yep, as Chris said around $6 USD all up including tax.
    All displayed prices in NZ include all taxes.
    Those 600g bags are around 1.3 pounds.
    You could get 1kg bags of cookies for $11.50. That’s 2.2 pounds of fresh sugary deliciousness for $8 USD.
    Sweet deal. Sweet. See what I did there ...?
    rs

    And they use butter not some weird frankenfat!

    #41 12 months ago
    Quoted from clg:

    And they use butter not some weird frankenfat!

    I think that’s the biggest difference between NZ food and US food ... generally NZ food is made on site, fresh .. away you go, eat it. Like the pie I had the other day. Made a few hours before I bought it, by the owners of the place I bought it in.

    Whereas America is so huge, the chains have a massive central factory, and stuff is made there en mass, and trucked to all corners, then reheated. That requires ingredients that don’t go bad - like frankenfats.

    It’s interesting- in the US the younger generations are spurning the traditional chains like Applebees, Chillis etc and frequenting food trucks and family restaurants. The big chains are closing 1000s of locations across the country.

    rd

    #42 12 months ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    hey aren’t actually rock boulders - they are cementations.

    I have a small basket full of clay concretions that I though were weird, but you win with those Unfertilized Godzilla Eggs!!

    #43 12 months ago

    Thanks for a great morning read and adventures Dave!
    Damn, I want that meat pie, blue cheese. Looks so yummy.

    #44 12 months ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    It’s interesting- in the US the younger generations are spurning the traditional chains like Applebees, Chillis etc and frequenting food trucks and family restaurants. The big chains are closing 1000s of locations across the country.

    and ya know what, those food trucks, family restaurants and small mom and pop corner stored buy their meat and produce from the same distributers as the big chains. The real problem is that there are TO many places to eat. On a mile stretch in any city in the US you'll find 30 or more different places to eat. How many are there in that same mile in a NZ city?

    #45 12 months ago

    Thanks for taking us along on another of your family travels Dave. Always enjoyable!!!
    I see winter type clothing. I always thought NZ was a warm environment? What's the temperature range there?
    And Happy Fathers Day Dave! If you guys celebrate that?

    #46 12 months ago
    Quoted from t2:

    Thanks for taking us along on another of your family travels Dave. Always enjoyable!!!
    I see winter type clothing. I always thought NZ was a warm environment? What's the temperature range there?
    And Happy Fathers Day Dave! If you guys celebrate that?

    Summer in the USA = Winter in NZ

    #47 12 months ago
    Quoted from MustangPaul:

    and ya know what, those food trucks, family restaurants and small mom and pop corner stored buy their meat and produce from the same distributers as the big chains. The real problem is that there are TO many places to eat. On a mile stretch in any city in the US you'll find 30 or more different places to eat. How many are there in that same mile in a NZ city?

    There are some pretty remote areas in NZ and choices can be pretty limited! The city's are good though with the bigger cities doing better. Wellington has more bars/restaurants/cafes per capita than NYC! https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/09/15/wellington-the-little-city-that-could-and-did_a_21450842/

    We have a lot of agriculture here and are not that big so food quality is pretty high on average as farm to table is usually a very short distance.

    #48 12 months ago
    Quoted from MustangPaul:

    and ya know what, those food trucks, family restaurants and small mom and pop corner stored buy their meat and produce from the same distributers as the big chains.

    That’s true ... but generally the finished product is served up fresh, rather than being frozen and reheated a week or two later.

    Quoted from MustangPaul:

    The real problem is that there are TO many places to eat. On a mile stretch in any city in the US you'll find 30 or more different places to eat. How many are there in that same mile in a NZ city?

    Not as many - we don’t have the population to support them all.

    We don’t have a big “eat out” culture like the US does, although that is changing. For example, when we are at home we’d go to a restaurant once a month maybe? I probably have fast food every couple of weeks I guess. My mates are all pretty similar.

    rd

    #49 12 months ago

    Loving this thread.

    #50 12 months ago
    Quoted from clg:

    We have a lot of agriculture here and are not that big so food quality is pretty high on average as farm to table is usually a very short distance.

    Just in case you didn’t know, Chris clg is a Californian native, so he is in a good place to make comparisons.

    Like he said, the cities have a lot of options. We do have a pretty big fine food/wine/coffee culture here (slowly replacing the beer culture NZ was pretty famous for)

    You can get a top quality coffee in just about any small town in NZ. I had a great coffee in Murchison, the little town I wrote about a few days into the trip.

    rd

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