3 Weeks in New Zealand

After two memorable nights in crowded but exciting Hong Kong, I was looking forward to the slower pace of New Zealand. My immediate family all live in Auckland now, so there was no need to catch an extra flight to Wellington where I have spent the past few winters. Eager to experience an Auckland summer for the first time, I thought I would try and do a comparison between living in British Columbia, Canada, and New Zealand, in general. The province and country are often compared and viewed as having a lot of similarities.

Let's start with the beaches. NZ beaches are a lot wider and longer than beaches in BC (Tofino). The sand is also whiter and the water is turquoise as opposed to dark green/black. I have seen giant eagle rays cruising the shallow waters under wharves Down Under, something you wouldn't see in BC. There are also seventy varieties of sharks swimming in NZ waters, including the great white shark, compared to 14 species in BC. BC is, however, occasionally home to the odd rogue great white and the phenomenon might become more regular as climate change warms BC's waters.

The forests are also markedly different. Below, we visited the Auckland Botanic Gardens and marveled at the large tree ferns and subtropical undergrowth found in northern NZ. It's different in many ways to the towering trees and lush ferns that grow along the Pacific northwest coast of Canada.

In the background below, if you look closely, you'll spot a volcanic island on the left. Vancouver also has a nearby volcano: Mt. Baker in Washington State (shown on the right).

In my opinion New Zealand and the province of British Columbia share many similarities. The mountainous, rugged terrain of New Zealand's South Island could easily be mistaken for BC's coastal mountains from afar. Both places were once under colonial rule and English is the most common language. NZ's largest mountain is Mt. Cook at over 12,000 feet, and BC's is 15,000 feet. NZ's coastline measures 15,000 km, BC's: 25,000 km.

The largest differences I have noticed between the two geographical regions are NZ's isolation from the rest of the world, the varied and potentially dangerous wildlife of BC, and the generally much larger scale of BC compared to NZ. But rest assured they're two of the most beautiful places to visit in the world!

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