Joost, our friend that just visited us and who is currently doing a world trip is currently in New Zealand (North Island). I spent some time there when I was living down in the Asia Pacific Rim, from 2000-2003. I was leading a consulting team there for 5 weeks doing a scoping exercise for a deal, down in Auckland. I fell in love with this country - its raw natural beauty, the sympathetic character of its people, its historical Maori heritage, the variety of the landscape. I ended up going back there a few times to ski down in the Southern Alps (South Island). I'm going to upload the pictures of that trip, because they were soooo beautiful.
I've always (romantically) held the notion that we could retire there - play some golf, snowboard, and hop in and out of Australia to visit friends... who knows ?