When people return from their travels they often hear questions about their impressions of the places visited. Leaving every place on our journey we often ask ourselves in a similar way: “What is your impression … in this case of New Zealand”.
Here are a few thoughts which our family came up with while hiking the hills of Marlborough Sound:
– big pasture
– land on a tree
– milk and honey land
– blissful nature
Before arrival of first settlers New Zealand was practically all covered with trees. Today the percentage of forested area is surprisingly tiny, smaller than in Poland. Vast green pastures comprise the lion’s share of the territory nowadays. They stretch endlessly from north to south of NZ. The undulating terrain, intense shade of green and shortly trimmed grass leave a soothing impression. The short trim is owed to millions of sheep grazing virtually everywhere, even by the airport in Christchurch. Now, during the spring time in the southern hemisphere, one can see a lot of young lambs keeping close to their mothers. Some time ago there were more than 20 lambs per every citizen of NZ. With a population of just above 4 m people it was a staggering number. Today the headcount is a bit smaller. Pastures and sheep seem to be well embedded into the NZ landscape. Interestingly, though, sheep as many other land mammals are not indiginuous species here. The only endemic land mammals are two kinds of bats.
Apart from sheep you can find plenty of cattle, horses and some other rare creature grazing in the pastures such as alpaca. This funny looking animal looks like a cross between a lamb and a lama .
Land on a tree
This nice impression has been shared by little Ania. Next to the abundance of succlent grasslands you can see beautiful virgin forests growing untouched for thousands of years as well as other lushy flora. The most common plant seems to be flax. This perennial is somewhat similar to yucca. It has a lot of applications, including oil and paper making, honey production and weaving, which is very popular among Maori.
Milk and honey land
The countless cows grazing in the NZ pastures make NZ one of the biggest producers, next to Poland, of milk in the world. Unlike in Poland here the price of milk is very high around PLN 5 (USD 1,7) for one liter. Allegedly it is due to the monopoly of the local company Frontera.
The vast meadows, orchards and wild flowers along with mild climate create perfect conditions for honey production. Its kinds are very unique to NZ. My favorite one is manuka honey, made of the white flower under the same name, also known as tea tree. I am most impressed by its high anti-bacterial and anti-septic qualities surpassing any other kind of honey.
The girls favorite NZ honey is one made of blue borage flower, with its delicate sweet and herbal taste. These purple-pinkish flowers are common in the south island.
Manuka and blue borage flowers
We highly recommend the honey-based products of the local brand called Arataki, as well as their educational center near Napier. It is a fascinating place where you can learn so much about honey and bees. It is a pity that there is no such center in Poland, where we have excellent honeys of our own.
There is something unique in NZ nature. The earth radiates calming energy. The mild climate and blissful landscapes make you drowsy. It is all topped off with wild flora and fauna which can be seen only here. BTW, black swans do exist. Just have a look.