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New Zealand

 We met walking in a NZ forest, an authority on Tourism in New Zealand, the famous Professor Kiwi. After insisting for an interview, he agreed as long as there were no flash lights, and the interview would be done in the dark. We agreed immediately, but before that we wanted him to pose for a picture (above). Reluctantly he accepted, as the Professor Kiwi and his kind are very terrified of daylight. He also said that another condition would be that the photo was made with his eyes closed.  The main sections of the interview are below.

1) Professor Kiwi, where are you? I can't see you!
A: I'm on your side, your right side, can you feel my beak? Please not this one, the other one, on the top!
2) Why New Zealand is considered one of the best places in the world for tourism?

A.: Because we have a such a beautiful  and pristine environment  dazzling and varied landscapes, the country is safe and everyone can walk on the streets by day or night without fear. On top of that we do not  have snakes or poisonous animals, and no predators in our forests where trails can take you to fantastic places. We have a tourism infrastructure that meets the all kinds of tourist, from those who are travelling backpacking to the most luxury and demanding people.
We had also developed the most spectacular tours that you can imagine and the Kiwi Dollar is less valued than the U.S. Dollar or Euro, making  New Zealand a cheaper travel option. Besides that, our people receive visitors with open arms, always with a smile and much respect. We are very proud of our country, and we want to show it to everyone and make them to love NZ like we do. NZ will not disappoint you, that I can guarantee!

3) Professor, many people ask me how long is the ideal time to stay and visit New Zealand?
A: To be honest, me and my partner Kiweca, we have been travelling the whole country walking, as you may know, we can not fly, and yet every day we discover a new place, different from everything we've visit before. But for those who have limits of time or money, I'd say the ideal stay would be about 21 days. Yet it is possible to do in 14 days, but you will lose a lot of interesting things. I would say at least seven days in the North Island, and another 7 in the South Island. 
4) What is the tip to maximise travelling in New Zealand?
A. The ideal is not to do the same route twice, because the country is small but it is very long, and the road would be almost the same in the way back. So I always go by plane to my final destination, and from there I go slowly walking and spending time to see everything interesting in this fabulous country, exploring by car rental, train, bus, bike, or my own legs.
5) When is the best time to travel in New Zealand?
A.: Well, for those wanting to ski there is no alternative, it will be in winter, because here only have snow for skiing from June to October. But the days are shorter and colder. Any time is excellent, but be aware that during the holidays of the Kiwi people, such as during the high season, from the period of Christmas until the end of January (in summer), things are a little more expensive, but nothing outrageous, it is valid and a very exciting time also. But my favourite months are October, November, February, March, April and May. To me, there is no better time than in October-November in the South Island in particular, when the snow is thawing forming rivers and waterfalls, making a spectacular landscape. During the months of Spring, the fields are very green with colourful flowers all around.
6) How much per day is the average spending travelling in New Zealand ?
A.: It is hard to say. Me and Kiweca we do not spend a lot because we sleep by day in the forest and by night we hunt insects and worms, you know,  only natural organic food. But for tourists, I would divide them into three groups: backpackers, staying in a hostel, eating pasta with egg, they will spend about NZ $40 per day. For those wanting a little more comfort, middle-class people, sleeping in 3 stars motels and eating out in take away and budget restaurants, they  will spend about NZ$ 80 per day. And for people wanting to travel with more luxury around NZ$150 per day or more. Note these prices mentioned are average per person and not including tours, transportation, shopping or anything else, just room and food. Also these costs are for one person, as in the case of a couple or group, the final cost per person could be even cheaper.
7) How can I save more while travelling?
A.: Have you ever heard about Motels?! When travelling with more than one person, it is a very good option as the price of a Motel is around NZ $ 80 per day per room. They charge for the room and not per person. The majority of motels would offer the option of 1 or 2 rooms including beds and linen and some may offer the option to stay up to 6 people or more. Besides that, it has a complete kitchen with stove, refrigerator, cooking utensils etc. It's like a real house. Dividing for example by 4 people, its about $ 20 per person, which is cheaper than a hostel. And on the top, buying groceries and preparing your food, you will save a lot. There is a motel on almost every town in NZ, and they are extremely comfortable and clean. Motel comfort is not very different from a Hotel. Just it does not have services such as baggage handlers, receptionists etc, but that's only in 4-star up and it is for wealthiest people, not for a mere mortal Kiwi like me.
8) What about the food in NZ, is it good professor?
A.: Very very good and tasty, make sure you try our Lamb (sheep), the meat is considerer on of tastiest in the world, moreover, it's extremely tender. The seafood is sublime, from clean waters and unpolluted. Our vegetables are grown without agro toxics that are used in other parts of the world. Our cheeses, the dairy and wine are to dream of. For example I may spend an average of NZ$30 for a plate in a restaurant, but without drinks or snacks. These are more expensive in the restaurant and soft drink that may cost a dollar at the supermarket, can cost $ 5 in the restaurant. Just do not abuse of the drinks and you will see that good dinner could  be very affordable.
9)  And the public transport between cities , how does it work?
A.: Well, then first thing you have to say is what the person wants to do and where wants to go. For example, you can get the train from Wellington going to Auckland, but the journey does not pass by the major tourist cities, such as Rotorua. The same happens if you take the train from Picton on the South Island going to Christchurch, it does not pass by Queenstown and Nelson. One important thing is to know that whatever the transport is used, they have schedule, and it's better to be booked in advance by at least 1 day or many months in advance is highly recommended, especially in the summer. The buses are from a company called "Intercity" in both North Island and South Island. The train has different names, such as Tranz-Coastal and Tranz-Alpine making different routes in the South Island.
Because almost everybody has cars in NZ, these transports are used mainly by tourists, or few Kiwis, who does not want or can not drive. So the available number of seats and the frequency are limited. The Ferry Boat is for people and cars, crossing from one island to another, alternatively, if want to pay a little more, you can cross by plane.
Speaking about travelling by air in NZ , we can say that it's not cheap, but in the case of limited time, it will compensates for the price. A suggestion would be fly from Auckland to Queenstown and from there start the way back (instead of making the same journey twice by land twice.) Car rental is an excellent choice, it is very easy to drive in the roads, often not very busy. Campervan and Motorhomes are other very interesting choice, but you should evaluate the relationship between car hire or campervan, stay in a motel or pay the overnight rate in a caravan park. Another important thing is that both the train and bus, may offer packages that you can drop off in a a city and continue the journey the next day with the same ticket and price. That could save you money if you know the itinerary in advance. 

Crossing the car with the Ferry Boat is more expensive than if you leave the car in Wellington, and then rent another car in Picton, using the same company, (the cost of the crossing car in the ferry is a bit high) but it has the inconvenient of changing the car and caring the luggage and bags. A good tip is that all the Tourist Information (tourist information stations in each city) can make the booking for you such as motels, bus, train, airplane tours, everything you need and the service is free.

10) Professor, what about the tours, adventures, tickets to adrenaline tours, to practice extreme sports , visit tourist attractions in NZ. How much do you think a person will spend per day to have fun?
A. 1 billion dollars would be not enough, because there are so many things to do there. Any way, to have an idea, it could be NZ $ 40 per person for a simple tour. The more extreme is the tour, the more expensive it probably would be, you may pay around NZ $ 300 or more per person. In Queenstown for example, almost any tour will not cost less than NZ $ 100. When I travel with my Kiweca, we may spend at least $80 in a tour per day, but doing just one tour. Now if you are one of those who wants to do everything, going from one attraction to another, you will spend a lot, but I can tell you you will have the time of your life. There are so many things to do and so spectacular and unique that it will be difficult to stop using the credit card and be happy.

With the sunrise, Professor Kiwi and Mrs Kiweca went to the forest without saying goodbye. We could only spot a bush vigorously bouncing at the top of the valley. As Kiwis come about to be in the list of animal in extinction, it is the Professor duty to do the hard work and repopulate its kind. Kiwis were declined to around 1800 animals, when New Zealand started replacing many forests for plantations and pastures. Who knows tomorrow night, with the professor a little more relaxed, he may want to talk more about tourism in New Zealand. Let's see ....





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