Darren Hoyland - Blog

A Very Happy 27th Birthday

The art of flashpacking continues to be perfected as we go. Relative luxury can be found for under $70NZ a night (that's currently about £27), if you look hard enough. If we were doing this for any longer than three weeks we'd have to slum it, but with things as they are, we'd saved enough to be able to splash out with such extravagance.

I'd like to have written more often, but I can only blog when I get access to the internet and just how am I supposed to find time when I'm having the time of my life? Speaking of which, I'm now writing this from Queenstown. This place is great and after passing through the blights of Christchurch and Dunedin, it even rivals the North Island as a place I'd like to live. This town (you can't really call it a city) has got everything: The Remarkables, the mountain range that borders it, are beautiful and allow for loads of crazy extreme sports, while lake Wakatipu provides equally crazy water sports. It's even warm here - at least it has been for us and when its not, there's always snowboarding in the winter. Yep, I really like the place.

I got a good view of it too - I had my (27th) birthday here yesterday and Marj paid for me to go hang-gliding for my present. It was reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaally cool - even better than skydiving I'd say 'cos you felt like you were flying rather than falling. Even the way you position your body to do it is reminiscent of the superman pose, although the pictures I got makes it look more like superman with a (super) zimmerframe!

Piahia was the last place we visited in the North Island before returning to Auckland (except for Whangarei Falls on the way back that is) before catching a plane down to the South Island. Everyone we'd spoken to who'd been here had constantly told us how much better the South Island was than the North, but that's bollocks*. They're equally amazing if you ask me. The north has a tropical climate while the south is temperate, but they are both very very nice. There's less folks down here as well, and - maybe I'm obsessing, but - I spotted 4.5 acres near Dunedin going for around about £10,000. That'll do!

Our timing for Dunedin was a bit crap though: it was St. Andrews day and the place is very very Scottish (Dunedin being celtic for Ednburgh) with the locals even managing to maintain a Scottish accent. Now the Scots are understandably renouned for liking the odd drink and here was a nice excuse for a piss-up so all hell broke lose. If you've ever been in Rusholme in Manchester on the Pakistani independence day or on Eid you'll understand what it was like, but this was worse as they were all pissed too.

Never mind - it sounded like they all had a good night.... those that survived anyway. I had to go to Dunedin as there is a neuroscience group there who do very similar work to us and it would've been rude to not pop in and say hello, but if it you're ever in the South Island and don't need to go, there are probably better places to spend your time than here. It's just another big city** really. The same's true of Christchurch - a big city** with an airport, avoid it unless you have to go there. In between those two places, we popped over to Lake Tekapo - popped being the operative word: explainations will have to wait as this gets its own post and everything (see next blog entry).

After Dunedin, we headed for Queenstown and we'll use this as a base to go over to Milford Sound tomorrow. Can't wait, but alas the quicker it comes, the quicker the holiday will be over as that's our last excursion :-(


* - This is coming from the same people who kept telling us that we'd drive for hours without seeing any traffic on the South Island's roads. This is also bollocks. Its New Zealanbd, not Mars.

** - By New Zealand standards, of course.

Darren Hoyland, Sunday 02 December, 2007
Tags: general mutterings, travel diaries, new zealand