Sunday February 4th, 2018
Welcome dear reader. On a few of our recent epic holidays, I have used this Blog site to document our travels; not for any vainglorious desire to be a travel writer but more to provide the simple discipline of recording Sue’s and my small adventures – a kind of diary, or continuous post-card. When we are in far-flung places, we tend to hoover up the sites and the experiences as set out in the guide book, take lots of photographs and keep the momentum going. So good for us, but reflecting on it helps us to digest it, as for a good meal, and recording it in words helps to set it in some perspective – what did we see; what did we do; what did we think of it and so on? It is also nice to revisit the diary and thus the experience – even some several weeks or months afterwards – and savour what we did. So here goes with a trip to New Zealand. We set forth on the 12th Feb and, all being well we shall return on March 8th.
Why New Zealand? Well, we had one of those “bucket list” conversations along the lines of: what would we like to see or where would we like to go before we get too old to afford travel insurance, or too wonky to stand up straight, or too lame to walk the path to the waterfalls? A short Rossell style discussion ensued and at the top of the list, by a long chalk, was New Zealand. So we marched into Travel Bag and asked a nice New Zealander to craft us an unforgettable experience squashed into three(ish) weeks. This trip is the result of that request. Why February? Well NZ (as we shall learn to call it) is in the southern hemisphere don’t you know, so winter in the UK is summer down there. A long dose of summer sunshine would seem to be the icing on the cake of our travels.
New Zealand comprises two principal islands. With characteristic Antipodean simplicity they are known as North and South Islands. The total of them is about the same length as the British mainland and they are more or less the same latitude South as we are North. So it rains but is largely comfortable to live in. Its population is about 4.75 million and, at the last count, there were about 30 million sheep. That’s six each if you share them out nicely. Once upon a time they (the sheep) were nearly all exported as lamb chops to England. Who knows? perhaps we shall see them again in our lifetime.
Our trip is to be a tour of first the North Island, for our aeroplane lands there in Auckland, the principal, though not the capital, city for that is Wellington. Then after a week of touring we finish in the south of North Island, catching a ferry to the north of South Island (pay attention!) for another two weeks. We have planned an itinerary that includes all of the “musts” and some of the “ought-to-reallys” of the guide book, with the possible exception of bunjee jumping. There is to be much driving. Fortunately the Kiwis also drive on the left (how civilized) though we are warned that there is so little traffic on the roads that other visitors from right-driving lands have been known to drift to their familiar (wrong) side of the road and collide head-on. On your guard David.
I will try to annotate the map as we go so that you also get a geography lesson.
For those new to blog-reading, each entry sits above its predecessor so you have to read the story from the bottom up, rather like a scroll. I shall date the entries so that the sequence is clear. It might take a while to upload photographs to support our narrative as we are dependent on the availability of internet connections of a suitable bandwidth. Be patient dear reader, they will come. Happy reading.