|2002 New Zealand
|What we've been doing - last updated January 06, 2002
New Zealand is proving to be extremely good value for the money. The Canadian dollar is worth $1.50 and the US dollar is worth $2.26. The wonderful campgrounds cost only $9 (per night in US money and they all have swimming pools and much more). We have found fresh fruits and vegetables at roadside stands where we bought a bag of kiwifruit for 88 cents in US money. There were 40 kiwifruits and the sign said that if you like kiwifruit, you will never need a laxative. This is correct. Especially if one has bought a bag of them and one eats 10 or more per day. We enjoy fresh strawberries and raspberries with cream every day.
On Christmas Day, we hiked 16 miles on the Able Tasman Track. It was a wonderful sunny day and 25C or 80F. This is a coastal track that normally takes 4 days with overnight stays at huts that sleep about 30 trampers on bunks. We walked in to the first hut and back out on the same day. There were many fantastic scenic views of the Tasman Sea and warm beaches of golden colored sand. We cooled our tired feet in the sea and regretted that we didn't have our bathing suits. A couple of days later, we did nine miles on the Wangpeka Track in the Kahurangi National Park. In contrast, this is a mountain track and it rained and only went to 20C or 68F. From the track, we could see Brown Trout of more than 5 pounds swimming in the clear water pools of the Wangapeka River. Bill tried fishing for them with no luck and is still shaking his head.
We are now camping in Christchurch which is New Zealand's third largest city. IT is deservedly known as the garden city and the English heritage is evident everywhere. We did the Victorian thing by taking a punt ride on the Avon River which reminded us very much of England. There are always street performers, preachers and overseas tourists (German and English especially)packing Cathedral Square in the City Center. We enjoyed a very British lunch of fish and chips in the Square. Bill stopped into the Casino for 20 minutes and won enough $2 coins ($50) to do the laundry for the rest of the trip. New Year's Day was 31C or 90F so we went to Waimari Beach to cool off in the Pacific surf. Most people use boogie boards and surf boards to catch the waves. We just got smashed by them.
We will be heading for the Central Otaga Region further south and then Stewart Island to do the Rakiura Track. This is a three day tramp totaling 24 miles with overnight stays in huts. This should be a good place to see Kiwi birds and Penguins.