We always said that we’d be travelling slowly. It was one of the reasons for a nine month trip. Not for us the rushing around that many people do, ticking off sights with barely a chance to register what you’ve actually done. Where’s the fun in that?
And we started well, with a week in each of five places. It was just right. Enough time to see what we want to see, pesky lava excepted, and also time for the odd morning doing nothing, watching TV for the children and catching up on washing and emails for the adults. We were spending plenty of time on the beach, and once we’d recovered from jet lag, twice, were feeling pretty chilled.
Two weeks ago we arrived in New Zealand. Because of our Christmas plans, we decided to ‘do’ the South Island before Christmas and the North Island after. That gave us two weeks to see something of the beautiful, varied, largely empty, long southern part of New Zealand. The key word there is long. Distances are big, roads are slow, attractions are far apart. You can’t come all the way to the other side of the world without seeing at least a bit of it, who knows when we’ll be back? So we’ve tried to see what we can. This has meant six days travelling out of the last fourteen, six separate ‘homes’ in New Zealand to date, and non travelling days crammed with boat trips, tours, helicopter flights, museums and trampolines.
We certainly haven’t seen everything the South Island has to offer, and I’m sad to have missed the west coast glaciers, Milford Sound and Abel Tasman, but I think we’ve given it a good shot. We’ve met the most gorgeous wildlife, learnt about New Zealand’s great hero Sir Edmund Hillary and the other Antarctic explorers, seen glaciers and icebergs and been serenaded by bagpipes.
Today saw us getting up at 5.30am to catch a bus to the station where we boarded a train which took us for five and a half hours across stunning mountainous terrain, past black sand beaches with sunbathing seals, and through some of the world’s best vineyards. We then took a three hour ferry with an onboard magician and soft play area and were finally delivered by taxi to our new home twelve hours later.
Tomorrow we’re going to Te Papa, one of the world’s finest museums, so we’re told, and the reason we came to Wellington. It’s bound to be good, they’ve got a real giant squid. I’ve been looking forward to seeing that since I first read about it in the Lonely Planet three years ago.
The following day, the 23rd, we’ve got a five hour bus journey to where we’re spending Christmas. We’ve done an awful lot in two weeks and we’re tired. I’d say it’s been too much, but I wouldn’t have missed anything we’ve done. Penguins, icebergs, dolphins, helicopters, it’s been amazing. But I do know that we can’t keep this up. I’m longing for Christmas and a break from the constant moving. It’s hard to come so far and feel like you’re missing out, but do too much and it’s no fun. And it’s supposed to be fun, right?