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Need substitute for Florida. New Zealand apt for 4 to 6 months?

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My husband and I had a few too many beers last night because we are cleaning out our house for resale. Lots of painting, pitching, and on my part, panting.

Anyway, while drowning my aches and pains in suds, I said, "You know, instead of moving to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida for a few months, why don't we just try New Zealand? We LOVE it. Why can't we live it?"

My thinking is that our Golden Years is more likely 1.5 years. My kids are not yet married and do not yet have children. We've never been to Australia, and it would be so nice to be in a place to explore the Pacific. We are active. We cycle. I birdwatch. He golfs. In other words: Let's do while we can.

My husband said, "Anything is better than Florida. If you can find a way to rent for 4-6 months and take the dog (a Westie) you are on."

So I did my preliminary research last night, and I realize I am out of my depth. At 3 a.m. (when all beer consumption comes back to haunt), I realized: "I'll just post my query on Fodors...and then pray."

Just so you know...
We have spent three weeks in NZ. We know the South Island West Coast because every drop of rain fell on us whilst cycling down the coast. We visited Christchurch (loved it, too bad we can't live there because of earthquakes), Auckland, Bay of Islands/Pahia, Wanaka (loved that, too), Queenstown.

So again...
4-6 months base somewhere
Need to take dog (husband is WAYYYY to attached)

Ideas, please.

Thank you ahead of time for being brilliant.
AZ

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