|2002 New Zealand
|What we've been doing - last updated January 25, 2002
We are back in Christchurch after a three week swing to the south end of the country. Going south is like going north in North America so it was much cooler. In fact, we were struck by gale winds on Stewart Island where yachts were blown up on the beach. While the gale was blowing, we did the Rakiura Track which is one of the 8 "Great Walks" of New Zealand. On a previous web page, we said that we were going to get whipped into shape. That was meant to be a figure of speech but after 3 days of hiking in rain and high wind for a total of 29 miles, we declared ourselves whipped. The first day was supposed to be 8 miles but we hiked 4 miles from town to the trail head for a total of 12 miles. Theresa was carrying 25 pounds so when she took off her pack, she had the strangest feeling that she could fly. Yahoooo, we made it! We found ourselves with17 other hikers staying in the hut. They were about half our age and none were more than 30 years old. We put our muddy boots and dripping jackets by the wood stove and headed for the bunks. After a couple hours rest, we fired up our pocket cooker stove and boiled up some noodles in the billy (pot). Then we smoked a couple joints with the kids. Just kidding. We went to bed. We managed to finish the hike and treated ourselves to a dinner at the old hotel. We had freshly caught Blue Cod which is a fish to die for.
Back on the South Island, we went to spectacular Milford Sound and Queenstown. The movie "Lord of the Rings" was filmed in this area. It was unreal to step out of the theater and see the very same awesome mountain and lake scenery from the side walk. This city attracts retirees from all over the world because of the climate and surroundings. This makes for a very cosmopolitan atmosphere with a great variety of places to eat. It also draws young people from worldwide for adventure sports. Bungy jumping was invented here and now they invent new thrills every year. Jet boating, paragliding, fly-by-wire etc. It's a very special place.
Until we leave for Canada on February 15, we will be travelling back to the North Island where we will do birding at Tiri Tiri Matangi Island and tramping to the Tongariro volcanic craters.