I collected the current coins, the current bills, a slightly older set of bills, a couple of older coins, a special $10 note, and a squashed penny from The Interislander ferry.
Below is a chart showing when changes were made to New Zealand’s bills and coins. (The change from a yellow line to a green one indicates the switch to decimal currency.)
It seems like every government bank, bureau of printing and engraving, or monetary authority likes to taunt visitors with displays of cancelled bills no longer able to be used as money. Here’s the display at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand:
My husband and I went along with his parents on part of their whirlwind trip through New Zealand and Australia. It was one of the longer trips I’ve ever been on (8 to 27 December).
We covered a lot of ground in planes, trains, and ferries, though I feel like what we saw in Australia was just the tip of an iceberg—or rather, a continent.
I took 2270 photos.
There are lots of landscape photos, flowers and birds, a selection of Christmas trees, some architecture (including earthquake damage and graffiti in Christchurch), interesting textures, signs, and selfies with (among other things) various trees, a plush wombat, and the Sydney Opera House.
Since (even after weeding out the less good ones) there are still an overwhelming number of photos, I’ve split them up into different posts chronogeographically.
Since moving to Singapore, I’ve spent many Christmases in places that don’t have winter. This year I celebrated the holidays in a place that does have winter, but has it at a totally different time of year.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that winter can happen at different times of year. It’s almost easier to believe that winter is hot and summer is cold than that winter takes place during the, uh, summer months (June, July, and August) and that Christmas takes place during summer.
While in Australia and New Zealand, I took photos of Christmas trees and other holiday items that looked festive yet incongruous—none more so than this sign:
My husband Aquinas did, too. There are no photos and no video, though, so I’m afraid you’ll just have to imagine us skydiving. You can have a look at Nzone’s Instagram photos or their promo video; that should help. After all, one person in goggles and coveralls falling from the sky and grinning from ear to ear is much like another.
See below for my notes on why we went skydiving, what it was like, and why I’m glad I didn’t record the experience.
People go to Queenstown not to hang around the town itself but to explore the surrounding area. Many of the shops in town are souvenir shops, but even more of them are glorified concierge desks where you can book activities like boat tours and sightseeing flights. Oh, and skydiving. (I went skydiving!)
Below are 42 photos of the scenery on the way from Fox Glacier to Queenstown, including a stretch of road delightfully lined with purple wildflowers; an unbelievably precipitous stretch of road; gorgeous mountains by the lakes; and a genius construction traffic light.
Then there are also a few (15) photos in Queenstown itself, including photos of birds, flowers, and signs.
I’m not a rock climber, hiker, trekker, or mountaineer, but I love mountains. The silence, the trees, the mist and clouds, the twisting, rushing rivers in valleys full of rocks… it’s all more magic than a harsh, empty, burning bright beach could ever be.
New Zealand is full of mountains, and some have snow or ice on them all year. We didn’t walk on or fly over any of the glaciers on the South Island, but I was happy we had the chance to stroll up near one of them.
You won’t see a live kiwi in New Zealand unless you’re a dedicated birdwatcher or you go to a zoo. Unlike kea parrots, seagulls, and ibises, kiwis don’t hang out around humans and swoop down from the air to snatch crumbs from your lunch. They’re nocturnal. Moreover, they can’t swoop.
Nevertheless, tourist shops are overrun with kiwi bird keychains, t-shirts, mugs, shot glasses, paperweights, coasters, playing cards, baseball caps, fridge magnets, and figurines made from plastic, wood, glass, and metal.
Although I like animal figurines, and the kiwi is obviously the iconic New Zealand animal, I refrained from buying a kiwi figurine until I saw this inexpensive, tiny, rubber, made-in-China creature. Perfect.
Kumara is a town of approximately 300 people, yet it has a hotel with a remarkably good restaurant… From there we visited Hokitika, a town with about ten times the population. It had a lot of shops selling New Zealand greenstone (jade).
In honor of the holiday season, someone put some extra letters in front of the “Hokitika” sign so that it said: “Ho-Ho-Hokitika”. Among the 25 photos below, sadly, I do not have a photo of that.