Tuesday, 21 August 2018

What to Do in New Zealand (Part I)

This is the longest trip I have ever taken  17 days and 15 nights in New Zealand, also my most memorable and enjoyable. When asked which three places I liked best about the trip, my instant reply was "too many". Indeed, the country offers so much diversity that it was difficult to choose. And in a relatively small geographic area, that there is something for everyone. I have instead curated a list of 12 things to do in "Home of the Middle-Earth", including a few that we have not tried like bungy jumping:

1. Ride the Hägglund, experience the Antarctic storm and feed the rescued Little Blue Penguins whose physical disabilities have left them defenceless (many would not have survived on their own in the wild) at the International Antarctic Centre  built where other Antarctic programmes were already operating at Christchurch International Airport, the gateway to Antarctica.

2. Stargaze at Lake Tekapo, part of the UNSECO Dark Sky Reserve, with the Southern Alps as its backdrop. Loved the lake colour  turquoise due to suspended-in-water fine rock-flour (ground by glaciers), and Japanese lunch we had at Kohan after visiting Church of the Good Shepherd.

3. Drop by Baldwin Street. The world's steepest street is less than 350m in length and rises 70m from its junction with North Road, to the top. While the average slope is 1:5 (that is, elevation rises by 1m for every 5m travelled horizontally), it is less than 1:3 at its steepest. For safety in Dunedin's frosty winters, the steeper and higher parts is surfaced in concrete as bitumen  whether in chip seal or asphalt, will flow down the slope on a warm day.

4. Be in awe with Milford Sound  board the cruise with option of combining it with a visit to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory at Harrison Cove, and kayaking for an up-close spectacular view of the Pembroke Glacier. As it is 400km from Dunedin, we stopped over at Te Anau for the night. Deterred by the long road trip? Fret not, just fly or take the coach from Queenstown  300km away.

5. Ride a hot air balloon at Christchurch or Queenstown in the South Island and Auckland, Hawke's Bay or over Waikato in the North. An experience we wanted to check off our bucket list.

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