Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kiwi fruit

3,2,1...I'm back in the room.

New Zealand is greasch. Similar but different, parallel universe sort of feel - well, at least until you reach the heart of the South Island, then it's very, very unlike anywhere in Australia, or I imagine the world.

Anyways, won't bore you with a long travelog, so here are some easily digestible bullets:

NORTH

Auckland: Meh, just another city, really. Not offensive, just...meh. Go to a spot called Devonport at Auckland's North Shore, that's kinda cute. And check out Karangahape - 'K' - Road and Ponsonby, the closest Auckland has to a homo ghetto.

Rotorua: Amazing geology - lots of sexually suggestive exploding geysers. But man, it really, really stinks to high shit. Wouldn't have been able to manage more than 2 days there.

Napier: The 'art deco city', so named because after a big fuck-off earthquake all but decimated it in 1931, it was rebuilt smack in the middle of the art deco period. Got a nice, English seaside village thing happening - the sort of play where Emily and Florence would prance around being 'layyydies'. Weird though - it's on the coast and markets itself as a seaside village, yet the pebbly 'beach' and massive rips and currents make any swimming there impossible.

Would recommend Marineland too, where you can get up close and personal enough with a Little Blue penguin that the sod will bite you given a chance.

Wellington: Absolute gem. Big city compacted into a beautiful setting of harbour and hills. Much more exciting and attractive than big brother Auckland. Has a cool, funky, Melbournesque vibe. Just a tip to NZ city planners: putting all your shipping and docks right in front of the CBD rather than less visible parts of your harbours is not a good look.

SOUTH

Picton: Small, cute. The best part is getting there via the InterIslander, and coming into the vastly different landscape of the South Island.

Greymouth/Haast: The West Coast is the duelling banjos territory of NZ. Pretty spectacular scenery, of course, but disproportionately higher human/sheep ratio, really, really bad roads and an ominous feeling that NZ's equivalent of Mick Taylor would be the person most likely to drive by if you broke down. Go there for Franz Josef as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

Queenstown: 'Noosa of New Zealand', quipped my dad. He's about right. Unlike Haast, Queenstown has a Louis Vuitton outlet, very few native accents and ridiculously overpriced - well, everything. But hey - it's Queenstown. No trip to NZ would be complete without at least a couple of nights there. Do shit you wouldn't otherwise normally do, like jump off a bridge. Still not quite sure how I managed that without alcohol and/or drugs. And after a few days in the West Coast, civilisation will be muchly appreciated.

Te Anau/Milford Sound: Again, kinda scary road to get there, but worth it. Milford Sound is probably the definitive South Island experience. If you're lucky, as we were, while you're waiting for through traffic at Homer Tunnel (scariest tunnel I've ever driven through), you might get some very inquisitive Kea come up for a chat.

Christchurch: Very reminiscent of Adelaide. Like, unsettlingly so. Magnificent botanic gardens, punting on the Avon is very fa, fa, and there were actually quite a few cuties at Cruz, Ch'ch's only gay club (avoid its only gay bar, 'Heaven's Above', like the proverbial).

OVERALL

Definitely a more progressive place than Australia. Fascinating to hear newsreaders open a bulletin with the Maori 'Kia ora' before 'Good evening'. And a much more successful integration (compared to us anyway) of Maori people and European settlers - perhaps because it started off on a slightly better note.

Helen Clark seems to have a Howard factor about her - has also ruled since the 20th century and seems a bit on the nose. Also interesting to see the inverse of what's happening with our Opposition - their National Party under new leader John Key looked to be shifting to the left to mirror Clark in the hope of gaining some of her voters, as Labor under Beazley and Rudd has steadily shifted to the right for similar reasons.

Each year NZ's population rises by literally 50% in tourists alone. You can understand why - it really is a paradise.

Plus, we didn't see one farmer having relations with his sheep. Not a one.

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4 Comments:

At 10/4/07 7:49 pm, Blogger JahTeh said...

Awww, little blue penguin. Probably just a love bite Sam.

 
At 10/4/07 9:03 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Plus, we didn't see one farmer having relations with his sheep. Not a one.

Well they're not just going to shag a sheep in front of ANYONE, are they? I expect you at least have to pay to watch.

 
At 11/4/07 9:26 am, Anonymous Bazza said...

Do all the farmers wear Wellies!

 
At 14/4/07 3:20 pm, Blogger Hugo said...

Enjoyed NZ Entry maybe cause Im from there ahaha,well i was born there. Keep the bloggin up, now i shall bookmark tis fantablous blog... Cheers Dude

Hugo

 

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