Above/featured: Cobden Bridge over Grey River: Greymouth, Westland, South Island – 18 Jul 2012.
While in New Zealand, I …
- woke up every morning glad I was on RTW (`round-the-world) travel for 2012.
- was happy to return to the country a second time, this time for almost four weeks.
- was skeptical of the stories about how the North Island could be any “uglier” compared to the South Island.
- couldn’t believe how they were all true.
- was glad to have taken the ferry and Coastal Pacific train from Wellington to Christchurch.
- loved the spirit and perseverance of the people in Christchurch.
- won’t forget the sense of optimism in the city.
- was happy to stay in Christchurch an extra night, so I could spend the following day on a road trip to Akaroa.
- was happy to have taken the TranzAlpine train route from Christchurch over the southern Alps to Greymouth on the West Coast
- enjoyed sticking around in Greymouth for just one night; the town is small and compact, and just enough for a short layover.
- had a 45-minute conversation with the nice lady who runs the Left Bank Art Gallery in Greymouth.
- had frequent chats at various motels with proprietors about traffic in low- and high-seasons.
- didn’t mind coach service down the West Coast, especially because there were few people around and the drivers provided ongoing commentary about the scenery.
- saw the sheer physical scale of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, both of which are accessible by foot from their respective towns.
- forked over the cash to fly over at least four glaciers (Fox, Tasman, Murchison, Franz Josef), as well as buzzing around Mount Tasman and Aoraki (Mount Cook).
- forked over more cash to take a coach-boat-plane trip to, through, and over Milford Sound, respectively.
- discovered three types of people in Queenstown: young men and women dressed in plaid- or skiwear, armed with skis or boards; groups of Asians pouring out from tour coaches; and retired couples. I fit into none of these groups.
- crossed the Southern Alps four times: on the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch west to Greymouth, on the Newmans coach from Fox Glacier east to Queenstown, on a tour coach from Queenstown west to Milford Sound, and on a Cessna plane from Milford Sound east back to Queenstown.
- have seen how the vast numbers of small and cheap eateries, coffee houses, and pubs show just how much of a college town Dunedin really is.
- was followed by sunshine (or did I follow the sun?) for the entire time spent on the South Island.
- saw a lot of similarity and familarity with my home province of British Columbia, Canada: the Westland with BC’s Coastal Range and Rockies, the rainshadow in Central Otago with the central Okanagan
- was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Dunedin: the great Otago Museum, home of the first university in the country, and good coffee-café culture
- wanted to learn some Maori. And why not – Maori is one of three official languages in New Zealand, including English and sign language. I found myself enraptured by Maori Television and their courses in Maori.
- found it difficult flying out to Auckland and leaving the South Island behind.
- found leaving Auckland for Sydney doubly difficult, as I was saying “goodbye, see you soon” to the country.
- am learning that “soon” is not soon enough.
- am now able finally to profess the truth: dear Aotearoa, I love you.
I made the four photos shown above; this post is published on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.