With isolation from connected continents over millennia, the region’s animals and plants adapted uniquely to their geography and climate and thus evolved distinctly differently from those on other continents. The Silver Fern is not only New Zealand’s national symbol but also endemic to its forests and jungles. Australia has 600 different reptile species. New Zealand […]
In January 2011, Rick and Wendy toured New Zealand and a bit of Australia. For most of this trip, they traveled with one couple, driving for approximately one week on the south island of New Zealand, one week on the north island and a couple of days in Sydney. Despite January supposedly being the equivalent of July in the U.S., summer on New Zealand’s south island and the southern half of the north island was frequently rainy and cool. However, the rain provided what was needed for the country’s lush landscape (waterfalls!), hydro-electricity, crops and livestock. Most of the countryside on both islands was dotted with villages and small towns. In some ways, New Zealand’s widely varied terrain reminded the Walleighs of California, including glacial streams and waterfalls; huge mountain lakes and spectacular coasts; volcanic mountains, granite cliffs, and fuzzy, forest-covered mountains; and thermal activities and deserts.