Posted by: Liz | August 19, 2008

South Island Swing

I hope you all will enjoy a note from Madeline…thanks all, for reading – Liz.

I’m sure you all know that I am an old friend who has been traveling the South Island with Liz and Matt for the past three weeks…and for the past three weeks I have been procrastinating on my “homework” blog assignment. Embarking on my last scenic stretch, I will leave you these thoughts and memories:

I don’t want to go back to reality and say goodbye to New Zealand, where small talk begins with inquiries about the person, not what they do for a living; where simple living and conscious efforts to “be green” are the norm and expected, and where quality of life is a priority.

Awaroa Beach in Abel Tasman National Park, sweet as!

Awaroa Beach in Abel Tasman National Park, sweet as!

Keeping this in mind, their efforts to avoid being superfluous mean no home/building insulation, minimal heat save for a small wood stove or nearly broken space heater, and the ever-present miniscule sink with a separate hot and cold faucets that either burn your hands or leave them numb. I was pretty excited about the fact that they have recycling (and promote it!) in even the most remote places and that efforts to conserve energy are posted everywhere. It is so refreshing to witness a country that embraces the three R’s, setting aside land for National Parks, and Veggies (well, sort of…they do have “heaps” of meat and a zillion sheep dotting the landscape). I suppose conservation is a little easier to do when you realize that NZ is ¾ the size of California with a population of nearly nil (or at least it seems that way!).

The Best Sheep Pic Ever

The Best Sheep Pic Ever

It has been a fabulous trip with Liz, Matt, and Bongo! My grandparents would aptly name our adventure journey the “Northern Swing” of the South Island but of different sort. I am glad I saw NZ at this age and not at 80, as it is more properly experienced as an outdoor adventure journey rather than a luxury bus tour. (I don’t think their tourism offices would ever cater to the faint at heart.) I wouldn’t have done it any other way! What could be more fun than riding around in a 1986 hippy bus with a choke and a “funk”? Or with my best friend and her absolutely wonderful bearded boyfriend?

Fantastic overlook in Kaikoura...Matt handled us girls very well!
Fantastic overlook in Kaikoura…Matt handled us girls very well!

From cheering on the All Blacks* with Bundi** and money shots in Queenstown with “the Todd,” to cruising through serene wilderness in Fiordland, from impressive glacier hikes to fresh “C.B.***” bread in the Punakaiki rainforest, from three days of hiking/camping on beautiful golden beaches in Abel Tasman N.P. to an unforgettable seafood feast on the water in Nelson, from getting unexpectedly tipsy in wine country to soaking in hot springs in Hanmer Springs, a Frisco, Colorado-esque mountain town – we certainly made the MOST of our time in this magical land.

I will miss Liz dearly (tear) but I am so excited for Matt and her to continue their adventure!!!!!

~ Madeline

*NZ rugby team
**my favorite rum: Bundaberg
***aptly referred to as Colon Blow


  1. That picture of the sheep is AMAZING! I heart sheep.

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