Tag Archives: New Zealand

Travelogue, Pt. 5: New Zealand (South Island)

2 Feb


Some visitors’ first look at the islands (not pictured, if that wasn’t obvious already) in Marlborough Sound, via ferry. I recommend that option for anyone looking to go from North to South Island.

My friend Jenny once told me that she felt so moved when she beheld the beauty of Canada’s Banff National Park that tears began to well up in her eyes.

I was not like that in New Zealand. Instead, I occasionally wanted to hurl invectives at its landscapes out of pure shock and jealousy.

Ugh!
New Zealand is hoarding the earth’s mountains.
How come this shade of blue exists nowhere else?

And so on. Of course, New Zealand isn’t exercising any will of its own in all this — its is plainly a barefaced beauty. Maybe too audacious for urban dwellers used to the more modest natural beauty of the city: one tree planted at every 4 parking meters, one line of shrubs to decorate freeway walls, obligatory rows of posies happily swaying in front of office complexes. And hence, the silent curses at New Zealand.

Worse, I think, is the realization that the scenery is hard to capture. Lens and filter issues aside, the scenery is not meant to be recorded. Take this image for example:

I didn’t edit that photo of Lake Wanaka at all to make a point, which is this: the lake doesn’t even look real! This is a poor approximation at best! I wish there were a standard onomatopoeia for sputtering, because that’s exactly what I’d type right here.

So I quickly gave up on taking nature photos. You can find them in Google Images if you like, anyway.

I should note that I didn’t feel like choking on my own vitriol the entire trip. About 1/4 of my time was spent growing bored at the continuous sinusoid wave of hills and valleys, as well as the brooks, waterfalls, etc. Another 1/4 was filled with sleeping or eating, i.e., generally forgetting where I was and getting on with life as it would be like anywhere. As for that other 1/4, it was for better or worse used trying to figure out if certain locales were Lord of the Rings filming locations.

Here are some photos.


A centuries’ old koan emblazoned on the back of this rental van. Yes, this is a rental van. Others in the company have different wacky phrases on them.


In Greymouth, the best fish and chips I’ve ever had in my life. You can find them at a humble shop called Bonanza Takeaways. Not only were the chips expertly double-fried, but this is also a fried chicken joint. I only mention this because it means the same herb and spices chicken rub that went into the frying oil also found its way into the fish batter that sizzled in the same fryer. Novel, unintentional, delicious.


There are interesting stacks of stones on the edge of Bruce Bay.


Some have inscriptions on them.


A British couple that passed by as I took this photo said that these cows looked quite hostile. Oops?


I just liked these colors.


At the end of Milford Sound.


A fallen tree at Dunedin’s Larnach Castle.


Dunedin is also home to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory.


A statue of a former Prime Minister in the southern-most town of Bluff, is coneheaded.

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Travelogue, Pt. 4: Auckland, New Zealand

19 Jan

Image 1: Downtown Auckland, Image 2: Downtown Auckland view from One Tree Hill, Image 3: Behind the stone wall, grazing sheep