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In the spring of 2016, Henderson Productions took an extended do-it-yourself driving tour of New Zealand.   We’re excerpting portions of our trip in this blog.    Both a book and plan-it-yourself itinerary are available for sale in our Shop on www.focusbyhenderson.com.

Snug as a bug in a rug under a big ole comforter at our lakeside-view hotel in Queenstown.    By all accounts it looks like the snow that fell in town has melted and is gone leaving a fresh glowing cover on the surrounding mountaintops.    The first snow of the season for a resort community leaves them torn – the ski venues are delighted and quickly arming up ahead of schedule.    But the late-night shops and restaurants were grumbling about how cold it was and “no one is out”.    All I know is the girl who sold us both Sherpa-lined fleece jackets asked if we’d like to wear them out and indicated “that’s been happening all naht”.

So, about the accent.   Between service people – desk clerks and the like – and the newscasts on TV we can’t get a handle on recreating the accent.    That’s odd for us.    We generally adapt very quickly but this one is different.    It IS English so we’re not bothered with the actual words…….once we figure out what they are.     It’s a very flat aaa or ah; reminiscent of Boston’s caa.    But they add a little rolled r to the end making it more like caardrdrdrd.    Think Scottish rolled r’s.     Actually, it might be a complete lack of vowels at the end of most words.    Really has us stumped.     We’re able to make it through most transactions and converse but still taken aback by some of the phrases and pronunciations.

We knew coming into the country that we weren’t likely to spend much downtime in restaurants.    We never can eat enough for full sized meals and the prices are tourist-level in most places we’ve been so far.   I think this evening I shall be looking for some warm lamb stew in some form somewhere.    Queenstown appears to have no lack of restaurant options at all price points and levels so it might be hard to find authenticity.     It’s a very touristy place as we’ve already discovered.

Anyway, our experiences with grocery stores and lunchtime sandwich shops have reminded us of days in England.     Just wonderful meat pies and pasties – puff pastry burritos with various combination of fillings.    For instance, Rick had a steak and potato meat pie with a stunning gravy.   It was palm sized and free-standing.    No need for silly aluminum pans when you make a solidly excellent crust that holds up.   The meat pies are shaped like Starbucks-sized muffins with flat and browned tops.    I ate a turkey, cranberry, stuffing pastie the size of an apple turnover with exactly the right amount of condiment.  It was moist but not sweet.  Similar options abound in coffee shop cases and trekkers rest stops.    I’m a sucker for a good crust.    On just about anything.   

We’ve yet to find a solid fish and chip shop but that’s likely because we haven’t been in any large size town until now.   Breakfasts have been vast buffets where we can load up on egg and bacon and croissants and English muffins (they DO call them that here) and fresh fruits and yogurt, etc.    Good thing we are both morning and breakfast people.    We’ve made lunch our mostly mobile meal with sliced ham and a big chunk of local Edam and whatever breads we’ve found along the way.   The other day we had a big twisted garlic and basil loaf.    Rounded out by our old-time favorite British biscuits – mine are hobnobs or ginger cookies and Rick prefers the digestives or vanilla.  And fresh local apples and grapes for driving munchies.   I’m glad to have brought a couple reusable bags to corral the backseat stash.

What’s your experience in New Zealand?   We’d love to hear your

thoughts and suggestions on Facebook at “suehendersonphotography