Sunday 30 January 2011

New Zealand - South Island

So much time, so little to do. Oh wait, no, it's the other way round...

Trying to fit the world in a year is hard enough, squeezing New Zealand into three weeks even harder. The South Island into eleven days? Almost impossible. I didn't have a clue where to start until Hugh kindly scribbled some notes on my map and sent me on my way. I felt sure I'd skip the section of east coast where he'd written "Shithole" and keen to visit the bit on the west marked "Nice bush".

I knew I wouldn't be able to see everything, my only criteria were not to waste time and to try and hike for at least two hours a day. The whole place is ridiculously stunning; every moment, every mile, another gasp of awe. The landscape changes so much; vineyards on the mountain slopes, bush of ferns and palms, rugged coastline, temperate rainforest, glaciers, volcanic peaks, vast turquoise lakes, rolling green fields of grazing sheep and cows that feel like home.

Travelling is not so much about the dots as the joining of them. A road trip more so - it's what you see from the car that makes it, not where you stop. The big things; the memories, the places, the photographs; they're important. But the subtle things, harder to write about or recall, are the soul of the journey.

Here then are the dots from my camera; the pillars of my final trip. If your imagination can trace the lines between them, you might see beneath their surface, where words would only fail. I've been privileged - sensing the heart of the island not standing at lookouts or lakesides, but tramping through her countryside, alone and free.

Lake Rotoroa

West Coast

Greymouth Beach

Franz Josef Glacier

Lake Wanaka


Lake Wakatipu

Lake Takepo

Rakaia Gorge

East Coast

The Road

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