Camping in Christchurch

Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
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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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!

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!


nz2008 on

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

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