New Zealand got it’s name from the Dutch, who named it after the Dutch province of Zeeland. The first European to land on the Island’s shores was Abel Tasman, a Dutchman, who is also the namesake of the National Park at the northern most part of the South Island of New Zealand.
DB and I went to NZ in February 2007 and spent 3.5 weeks only on the South Island. It was DB’s second trip there, my first. We flew via Singapore. You can’t really get much farther away from NL than NZ! It’s 24 hours of flying, no matter how you try to shorten it. The only place farther away is Fiji.
Looking back, it seems like a long time ago that we were there, like a lovely dream that fades too quickly. We definitely plan to go back, hopefully in the next 5 years. It’s not a cheap vacation, because of the flight, and we need to save up not only the cash, but also the time away from work, in order to make it worth flying such a long way. The actual cost of vacationing in NZ is quite low. We stayed mostly in hostels which can be very affordable. Food is cheap and excellent. We couldn’t help but look at the property sales ads and were drooling over acres of property for sale at prices lower than our little apartment in Amsterdam. We couldn’t help but dream about living there in Paradise.
When I first started to knit in earnest, many many years ago, I had read about New Zealand wool and saw photos of the countryside. From that time on New Zealand became for me a dream destination that I never thought I’d be lucky enough to really visit. While there I bought a lot of NZ wool, went to a NZ version of the County Fair where I bought hand spun, and visited a “factory” shop in Alexandra and bought yarn. Most of it is still in my stash – somehow too precious to use, or just waiting for the perfect project.
If you want to visit paradise, where people are friendly and don’t bother to lock their doors, where beauty surrounds you where ever you go, where life is relaxed and easy, then go to New Zealand. But go gently and with respect for what the residents have been able to hold onto.