Sites for Seniors to Visit in New Zealand

Mar 11th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Travel

If you have kept up with my daily senior travel blogs you know of my support for working with a travel agent to work out your plans.  I visited with one recently.  We discussed where each of us would live ideally in the world. I chose Provence.  She chose New Zealand (NZ).  I wrote about NZ last January and previously in October, 2010.  I have not been to NZ yet so I wanted to investigate the islands and see why she chose NZ over all the 195 countries in the world.  Well, here are some updates to the previous information I shared with you a few months ago. 

Let’s start by planning our upcoming trip around NZ using this interactive map. See main towns and cities, main roads, national parks, rivers and lakes and NZ weather. Learn more about journey times and distances, and i-SITE, NZ’s official visitor information network. Note that I wrote “not yet” been to NZ.  In my classes I used to ask students if they had been to NYC, SF, Mexico, Paris, etc.  Many would say NO.  I would ask those students to respond with “not yet” rather than NO.  They liked that. Me too. 

NZ is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island, and numerous smaller islands. The majority of New Zealand’s population is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority. Sport has a major role in NZ’s culture, with the unofficial national sport of rugby being particularly influential. Other popular participatory sports include cricket, bowls, netball, soccer, motor sports, golf, swimming and tennis. With a temperate climate and fascinating animal and plant life, and it is no surprise that NZ’s pure natural environment is so attractive to visitors from other countries. And sheep… a few years ago the national flock stood at 40 million, but it has dropped further since to just 34.2 million, less than half the 1980s high and the lowest seen in almost 60 years and that leaves just seven sheep for each New Zealander. 

Wellington is the political capital of NZ and on the North Island. The city is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbor and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot – shopping, cafes, transport, accommodation and the city’s major attractions are compressed into an area that’s conveniently walkable. The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch, is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. The tranquil Avon River meanders through the city, historic buildings house a lively arts community and restored trams make it easy for visitors to get around.  This is the city that was recently devastated by a major earthquake. 

NZ is admittedly a long way from North America. But as our winter is their summer, you could consider retiring there part-time. In a pollution-free environment, it’s much easier to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Those of working age may have a skill that NZ needs. Most transplants find their work-life balance changes for the better. There’s less stress, and health care is affordable and often free. For both sexes, average life expectancy is two years higher than in the U.S.  Its “outdoors lifestyle” isn’t all about high-octane adventure or team sports like rugby. The most popular participation sports are walking and hiking. Surveys suggest that 64 % of adults go “tramping.” Many families own a small boat, and fishing and swimming opportunities abound. No matter where you live, you are never more than a 90-minute drive from the ocean.

I hope this update gets you interested in travel to New Zealand!  jeb

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