NZ’s Southern Scenic Route is more than just the Catlins! That stretch of road is famous for a reason, but what many people don’t realize is that there’s another side to it. The Southern Scenic Route actually extends West of Invercargill along the Southern coast of New Zealand and up to Manapouri. It winds its way through farmland, historical and cultural sights, and past endless gorgeous beaches, with far less tourists around than in other parts of the country.
“If there’s an eruption”, the guide said, “stay calm, and stay with your group. We’ll head back to the boat and get you off the island as soon as it’s safe to do so.” I looked around me at the clouds of steam billowing out of the crater, and wondered just how long might it be before it was ‘safe to do so’ in the midst of a volcanic eruption?
After so many amazing experiences in my year in New Zealand, everybody’s been asking me where I”m going now. While I still have plenty to share about NZ, here’s what’s next in 2015 for Jenny Far Away!
Well it had to happen sooner or later: they’ve kicked me out of New Zealand. Ok, not actually kicked me out. But yes, sort of. I mean I got that email from New Zealand immigration the other day: the one that was sent just to remind me that my visa is expiring and that if I want to stay longer I’d damn well better be making other arrangements. We hope you had a nice time, but now you need to get the hell out. That sorta thing.
Many of the hiking tracks here in New Zealand cross private land. That’s no big deal in itself, but the thing is that the private land is usually farmland, which means there’s stock on it. Sheep are no big deal, but I’m scared of the cows. Yes, that’s what I said. I’m scared of them. I really do tense up and get quite nervous when I have to walk through a field of cows.
I wasn’t really interested in birds before I went to Ulva Island, and now I’m a dedicated birdwatcher! For just $20, you can take a ferry ride there and get picked up again a few hours later. There’s nothing on Ulva Island besides a small private property and a few walking tracks through beautiful forest, making it an incredibly peaceful place to spend some time.
“We all have different taste in women!” the girl exclaimed. Of the three swimsuit lanterns we’d each chosen a different one as our favourite. From nearby we heard the band start up, and we went off to check out the live music, complete with swirling lasers and smoke machine. This was the Illume Festival of Light, when on two of the cold, long nights of winter, the normally quiet Coromandel Town came to life, with lights, lanterns, music, dancing and food.
I put a protective hand over my camera and grimaced as the wind whipped up the sand again, flinging it once more against my bare feet, my face, and in fact all my exposed skin with the agony of a million tiny pinpricks. Too late I ducked behind a rock and as the wind died…
The water started coming down, in a light spray at first, then heavier and more intense, until tiny reflective droplets coated my glasses and I could barely see. The wind picked up too, rocking our little boat precariously as we paddled further into the waterfall. I suddenly remembered to look up, and saw only…
A few months ago I found myself waaaaay down the South end of the South island of New Zealand, wondering just which direction to go in next (Duh…North?) when I realized that the Southern Wild Food Festival was coming to Invercargill. I like food. It’s no secret. And wild food? Sure, why not? …