We had a good time. Two weeks definitely was not enough. Even two months wouldn't be enough time to see all of New Zealand.
NZ is a very tourist-friendly place. We stayed in backpacker hostels which are more comfortable and far more numerous than youth hostels in the US. I understand that motels are also plentiful and are commodious and reasonably-priced. Restaurants seem expensive until you remember that the Kiwi dollar is only about 70% of the US dollar, the price includes sales tax, and no tip is expected. So a $25 meal is really equivalent to roughly $14 in California.
Despite the lack of tipping, we had excellent service, not only in restaurants but in stores as well. In general, New Zealanders were almost universally friendly and helpful.
The New Zealand Automobile Association (AA) has excellent free maps, available in the airport as well as AA offices. The maps on this web site are scanned from them. The AA has reciprococity with the AAA in the US, so if you're a AAA member you can get the more-detailed member-only maps as well.
Also in the airport, and in tourist offices around the country, are many other useful free books, pamphlets and maps.
The biggest chain of backpacker hostels in NZ is
BBH. You can pick up their
list of participating hostels in the airport or order one from their web site
before leaving home. Members receive a discount at hostels as well as a phone
card pre-loaded with (as I recall) $20.
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