Journal: Pages 25-26


The walk through any forest in New Zealand will always be serenaded by at least ten different kinds of bird songs, each competing with the other in volume and duration. Here at Peel Forest Park, a little island of native bush amid long-tamed farmland, the avian chorus is joined in by the baying of cattle, amplified by the gorge.


"Big Tree" walk to a scant grove of majestic Tokara (?) trees, worthy brethren of the American Redwoods -- both the Sequoia Sempiverens, the Tokara and the Kauri thrive in the wet, foggy air of the temperate rain forest.

Lake Coleridge and Mt Olympus lie inaccessibly beyond 18km of unsealed road at 17:45 under heavy overcast and drizzles -- the breathtaking scene of the ravens from "The Fellowship of the Rings" (where our heroes took cover amid fantastically-shaped boulders to elude the flying spies, the Crebain of Dunland), will have to wait for my presence next time.

The initial, cursory and woefully incomplete survey of South Island is thus finished. For my next trip, I plan to cross the Cook Strait by ferry from Wellington, then visit the mountains, lakes and coastlines of the north end. Another option is to return to Milford Sound, and hope for better weather. Until then, I thank God the rental car (Honda Civic) kept itself in one piece despite the worn brakes that rattled upon acceleration and emitted a frightfully grating noise upon application.

30th November '02, Saturday: Auckland - Matamata

05:00 wake-up call...tiring but unhurried departure from Christchurch, with two more convenience-store meat pies for breakfast

Summer has made her presence known to the North Island: intense sunshine, more intense heat and humidity

In search of the Shire: What remains of the hobbit holes filmed near Matamata is now a tourist attraction, but it is closed over the weekend...Instead, I drove along highways 2, 27 and 29 between Matamata and Pokeno to take snapshots of verdant farms and ranches as substitutes. Matamata is NZ's premier breeding ground of racing thoroughbreds.

My incredible luck in navigating the downtown streets of Auckland borders on prescience -- but that still didn't help me find a parking space on a busy Saturday night. Tourists and locals

Switzerland (2002, 2003) 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9-10 11-12 13-14 [Liechtenstein 15] 53 
New Zealand (2002) 16 17-18 19-20 21-22 23-24 25-26 27-28
New Zealand (May-June 2004) 54 55-56 57-58 59-60 61-62 63-64 65 72 
Australia (2004) 66 67-68 69-70 71
New Zealand (November 2004) 73-74 75-76 77-78 79-80 81-82

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