We drove from Tasman to Collingwood and back today over a very winding and steep road with lots of sharp curves and high vistas. At times this main highway 60 had corner curve speeds of 10mph because the curves were so sharp. In NZ the roads tend to be very narrow and often no shoulders. In fact, some locals put little mirrors on their front bumpers so the driver can see how close to the line they are as they have to encounter cars coming from the other direction who also have limited space on the narrow roads. The drive was pretty but we would not go back to Collingwood and the spit -- not very impressive. So I'll take the rest of the posting to give you a few NZ tidbits we have gleaned. There are 9 sheep for every human in NZ-- we believe it! Yesterday New Zealand Airlines had a grand opening for their first 13 hour non-stop flight between Auckland and Houston and they gave a few tidbits about what NZ folks could expect in Houston. I think Quantas and Fiji Airways have been flying from Dallas to Sydney for sometime and perhaps even Auckland too. The exchange rate is currently about a third better for the US folks so when figuring out how much we are really paying we divide by 3 and subtract that from the amount being charged. Taxes are always already included in whatever cost is cited. They round up to the nearest nickel as no pennies are used here generally speaking. Gas is about 1.90 NZ a liter...try to figure your gas mileage with that little math problem! We think perhaps the Kiwi's (New Zealanders) have a similar sound for long a's and long e sounds --- somewhat like Texans use long i's and long e's the same way.
Many NZ towns are named from Maori names as the indigenous people of NZ - and those vowel sounds are hard to figure out. Many names will remind you of Hawaiian names of towns or locations. That is because tradition says the Maori were originally Hawaiians who were explores and came via canoes to NZ using old ways of navigating with the stars (at least that is what we heard from the Maori lecture). I've run out of space. 11,398 steps 5 hours driving. Seth is camping in Abel Tasman - we pick him up tomorrow