Australasia | New Zealand | South Island | Christchurch – New Zealand
I’ve been in New Zealand for six weeks now. Summer is ending and so is my trip in here. New Zealand is comprised of two islands, north and south. I have been on the south island. Me and two friends, Mark and Morgan, have been rock climbing and camping at every crag we could find. There is lots of good climbing here. There is lots of good everything: kayaking, surfing, climbing, sailing, skiing, mountaineering, rafting, biking. New Zealand is an adventure sports mecca and has something for everyone.
The people here are very friendly and helpful for the most part. They have kiwi accents which sound to me like Australian accents, but they say there is a difference. The days have been warm with a cool breeze mostly. Many cloudy days or atleast cloudy for parts of the day. Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t always clouds over parts of this island. The clouds are so low most the time you are wading through them. Beautiful waterfalls everywhere. Most of the coast hasn’t struck me as particularly pretty, greyish sand, lots of drift wood and dead trees, and beached seaweeds, lots of rocks, but the beaches that are particularly beautiful are often isolated and uninhabited. The water is cold around the South island but warmer at the north end. Toes go numb after a few minutes of submersion and everyone surfs in wetsuits. The mountains are covered in glaciers and often convered in clouds. The valleys are full of braided half full streams and lush vegetation and filled with clouds and sheep. The lakes are mostly glacier fed and are a startlingly vivid baby blue color and very reflective and not at all clear.
There are seals and penguins and mountain parrots and of course kiwi birds that don’t fly and lots of deer and elk and cows and of course sheep. The sandflys are are plentiful but mosquitoes aren’t a problem. No snakes of any kind or poisonous spiders or any sort of venomous insects or dangerous animals at all.
The Kiwi dollar was half the US dollar when I arrived but has gone up in value since then and is now .56 or maybe even better now. Most things are marked up twice as much so it isn’t as good of a deal as it sounds and it is shocking to go into a store and see a pair of shorts that costs $70 and looks like they should be $30 or a jacket for $300 and it looks more like $150 value. Other things are very cheap though, like, food, parking, hotels. I spend about $15 kiwi dollars on a meal and $50 kiwi on a private room at a backpacker’s, $10 for a camping site at a campground, $12 kiwi for a movie ticket.
These days the streets are littered in anti-war propaganda and slogans and there was a peace vigil in the square in Christchurch last night. NZ is against the war, which is hurting their relations with Australia and is quite a bold and gutsy move for them.
I leave for Hawaii in two weeks. I’ll spend six weeks on Maui and then probably head home for a visit. Hope to see everyone this summer.