I don't know if I'll get to another internet cafe/terminal before I head home, so I figured I'd put down my observations on New Zealand before I go out for a final slosh-a-thon.
* Merino sheep (the ones raised for their soft, soft wool, not meat) are actually sorta cute. I wouldn't nail one or anything, but it's fun to watch them run around the fields.
* At 31, I'm not the old guy on the block for once. NZ is full of older backpackers. Perhaps it's a more sophisticated destination. Perhaps it's because it costs so much to get here. Either way, I recommend this place to anyone of any age. Backpacking has dropped off here in the last couple of years after a nice plateau, so there are many deals to be had at very nice places, especially with the exchange rate.
* Among those older backpackers, there are far too many in North Face jackets, ugly sandals, and beards. Never mind that at this moment, I'm wearing my NF jacket, an ugly set of Keens, and haven't shaved in 4 days. At least I'm not kicking around a patchouli-scented hackey sack.
* If you think rugby is confusing, try watching a cricket match. All 5 days of it.
* Don't ask me to compare Oz and NZ. They may be in the same family, but they are worlds apart from each other. Think of them as two very hot fraternal twins - one resembles a swimsuit model, the other Lara Croft.
* Best. Trip. Ever.