Visiting the antipodes is a top item on my bucket list. In the past I’ve tended to focus on Australia (mostly because I have friends there) but today I want to talk about a different country on the other side of the globe from me. Today I’m dreaming of a family trip to New Zealand.
What would we do there? Cycling would certainly be on the list; I’ve got my eye on the South Island’s Otago Central Rail Trail, which follows the former train line built for New Zealand’s 19th-century gold rush. It looks to be a beautiful area full of historic small towns.
The trail ends about an hour from Dunedin on the Otago Peninsula, which is home to huge numbers of wildlife including penguins (some of them on spectacular view at Penguin Place) and albatross to say nothing of seals, dolphins, and sea lions. Dunedin is home to the world’s steepest street, which I’m sure Tommy would want to run up.
In Christchurch we would visit the International Antarctic Center (which has been closed since the earthquake in February but is due to reopen on March 28). Apparently they have four dimensions at this museum, at least in their movie theater. This fourth dimension is apparently weather, as viewers experience actual wind and snow during a film about the South Pole. I’d also love to check out the views of the Southern Alps and am hoping that the Christchurch Gondola opens again soon – I’d love to do one of the walking tracks at the top, which apparently offer really stunning views and the chance to see many lambs.
On the North Island there would be lots to see as well, including Te Papa (the Museum of New Zealand) in Wellington, reputed to be among the world’s best with a not-to-be-missed exhibit of Maori life and culture. I’d also like to visit the caves in Waitomo where stalactites and glow worms are on view.
I’m of course scratching the surface here – there would be more cycling, hikes, museums, and maybe even helicopter rides, and bungee jumping on the agenda. But this is of course all speculation. Happily for me, I can fuel my imagination (and get ideas) easily: For the next couple of days there are many, many other people sharing all of the reasons why New Zealand is a great place to visit and sharing photos and videos. This effort is called Blog 4 NZ and you can find links to a wide variety of posts on the Blog 4 NZ Facebook page or using the Twitter hastag #blog4NZ.
(This post is also heavily indebted to the recommendations for both the North Island and the South Island on It’s a Small World After All. Victoria Wallop is currently traveling with her three young children and spent a good chunk of time in New Zealand several months ago.)
What are you dreaming of this fine Monday? Please feel free to share below.
Whale photo courtesy of Gemma Louise Lowe via Flickr.
Rail trail photo courtesy of HerrSchnapps via Flickr.
Penguin photo courtesy of Sarah M. Stewart via Flickr.
Gondola photo courtesy of Benny(no one) via Flickr.
Cave photo courtesy of ccheviron via Flickr.