Camping in Christchurch

Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
1
7
20
Trip End Feb 21, 2008


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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Friday, January 18, 2008

We woke this morning to the gentle sounds of the wood pidgeon at South Brighton Holiday Park in Christchurch. Every town in NZ has a motor camp like this one,with small cabins, spaces for travel trailers and campervans, and ten sites. This morning it was blessedly quiet--no RV generators, unlike in the U.S.

We sailed through NZ immigration yesterday in about 5 minutes--a triumph. The customs officer looked at one of Jim's boots and one of mine, and on hearing Jim had vaccuumed the tents before we left, waved us through. Danny Bernstein (author of Hiking the Carolina Mountains, which we publish at Milestone Press) would be proud--she advised us on boot scrubbing. Apex rental car picked us up at the airport and after collecting our car, we found our way to the motor camp. Driving on the left side of the road is always a scary proposition at first.

We had reservations at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, to see Ko Tane ("the Maori Experience," an introduction to traditional Maori culture and NZ food), which we kept, even though we had planned on being more rested. Although on the pricey side for us, it was worth it. Willowbank has been in the news recently because of its efforts to stem the decline of the kiwi, the national bird. They take eggs from the wild, incubate and hatch them at the reserve, place weeks-old chicks on a preditor-free island, and then move the birds back to thier place of origin once they reach adulthood. Currently something like only 1 in 5 kiwi bird chicks survive in the wild; there are way too many predators--all non-native.

We crawled into our tents and were instantly asleep; this morning we feel pretty rested. Today we are off to Nelson, to stock up on provisions for the first tramp, Abel Tazmen--one of New Zealand's 9 Great Walks. We begin that on Sunday. Here in NZ, it's now Friday. We are 18 hours behind US Eastern time.

Mary Ellen
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Comments

dannyhiker
dannyhiker on

Good on you!
I'm so proud! You folks passed boot inspection and you went to the 'Maori experience'. Willowbank is careful not to call it an 'hangi' because their food is not cooked in an earth oven. But they're a great intro to Maori culture.

Have a great time at Abel Tasman. Danny!
P.S. You're 18 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard time!

ronarps
ronarps on

visualizing summer...
We woke up this morning to the sound of several inches of snow melting - it was beautiful last night falling on the lighted Christmas tree (we are really behind your time zone!) We didn't take it too seriously until Ron saw that half of the tunnel had collapsed under the weight - oops. Thanks again for the great recital - everyone is saying how good it was. Hope it is warm enough for swimming when you get to those beautiful beaches. Cathy

drewhammond
drewhammond on

wintery conditions
Hi Sidney,

NO SCHOOL in Swain County today. We got about 2 - 3 inches of snow here in Asheville and then it rained. It's a slushy mess! Wet enough to build snowmen (quite a few in the neighborhood) but to wet to really do any sledding without getting soaked.

I love reading your commentary. Keep it up!

Uncle Andy

kmickler
kmickler on

Jan 17th
Hey you guys! I had no idea you started the blog before you left and that I would have to register and all that to respond, but register I did and I am so excited to be included. Send lots of pics. Slushy snow on Yellow Branch! Hugs! Karen

judyhammond
judyhammond on

What an adventure
Hi,

You write a great blog, Sidney. Can't wait to hear what you think of a country that has such a fragile ecology - and a government that is trying to protect it. It must be hard a hard job with all the globilization - everything and everyone moving all over the place. Are there parrots in N.Z.? I don't know how different it is from Australia. I'll keep up with your travels on your blog. Great idea. Love to your folks. Stay healthy. Love Aunt Judy

nz2008
nz2008 on

Re: What an adventure
Aunt Judy: There are parakeets in NZ, although most of them are endangered. Hope everyone in WNC is enjoying the snow!

Sidney

nz2008
nz2008 on

Re: Good on you!
Oops, Danny--you can tell we're confused.

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