I could tell you what an incredible cycle touring destination this is for the fittest of riders with plenty of time to invest but that's best discovered by you.
No, what struck me most are the very different contrasts with life in the northern hemisphere: there's lots of space and the air is fresher; striking up a friendly conversation with complete strangers becomes a natural thing to do; there's no road rage; motorised vehicles and bicycles comfortably cohabit the highways; there's no litter; there aren't any cigarette butts on the beaches; there are very few smokers; it's very rare to see a driver using a mobile phone and, exercising outdoors is epidemic!
Why is it so different? It could be that I'm just getting older and less tolerant however I decided to conduct a survey with a sample of one - one of our boys who lives and works in Auckland. What's the big difference between here and your home in the UK I asked. After some thought an unexpected but insightful response - 'people here in NZ have a much stronger sense of community and demonstrable civic pride'. Wow that from one of our boys! No wonder applications for working visas are at an all time high!
Just one mention for the scenery - the photo is East Island taken from East Cape lighthouse, the most easterly point in NZ and well off the main tourist trails. The whole East Cape is rugged and remote and many Kiwis we met had yet to explore here - head east from here and the next stop is the Chilean coast some 5,600 miles away!