Christchurch – Canterbury

Anil and Rishi seem to be having the time of their lives in NZ. They’ve been having too much fun and I feel like joining them right this minute! In fact, I’m giving it some serious thought. They didn’t check out Fox Glacier because Rishi caught a chill and was down and out for two days. But even staying cloistered indoors wasn’t too boring for the boys. They went through their last bottle of Sauvignon and even got an aroma therapy done.

Anil and Rishi have now moved due south to Christchurch. I got a long sms from Anil romanticizing about the place. I’m sure he copied it from one of the travel brochures, but I must write it down here, it’s quite amusing.

‘From the silvery beaches of the coast to the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps, the Canterbury landscape is impossible to ignore. The scenery stretches for miles to include panoramas of ocean or mountains, great sweeps of pastureland and massive amounts of sky.’ Massive amounts of sky!?? Clearly!

Anil & Rishi are staying at the Matariki Bed and Breakfast for NZ $ 110 a night. The breakfast’ supposed to be quite nice. But that’s it from the kiwis for now.

Visiting the Capital

My pal Anil is now in Wellington. He flew down to the capital city a couple of days ago to meet a friend. I’ve read a bit about Wellington and my wife’s got a few friends living there. It’s supposed to be a nice city with a beautiful harbour and a few wildlife sanctuaries.

But Anil’s been up to plenty more in this place. His friend and he being great fans of The Lord of the Rings, went on a tour of the LOTR sites! Interesting, I thought. The boys went on a mountain biking expedition on Makara Peak and bird watching on the Tasman Sea coast. Anil was staying with his friend in Wellington and quite enjoyed the change from the hotels.

If you want some good theatrics, then Anil suggests a trip to BATS, Wellington’s theatre. He missed the Fringe Festival, which took place in February, but was very intrigued with the Laugh Fest, which happens in May. Anil said he watched two performances, but refuses to give a review [art is not up his alley].

“Wellington is a good place for hunting game. We went on this guided hunting tour with New Zealand Adventure Specialists Ltd. These guys have got their own exclusive hunting estate! Firearms and ammunition were provided for and the hunt was on! We were told there was plenty of deer and chamois. We spent the whole day waiting and watching, traveling around guns cocked and ready for some action, but nothing happened! We got a few sights on deer, but those things move like the wind!”

The only hunting Anil has done before was shooting chameleons with his catapult; I’m not surprised at his luck, nevertheless, lucky deer!

Anil’s NZ travels

My wife and I watched the film The Beach a couple of years ago and desperately wanted to go see Thailand after that. The same happened after watching Lord of the Rings; we were dying to see New Zealand. Has that happened to any of you?

My cousin Anil who has just recently moved to Auckland, NZ, went on a trip to a couple of the neighbouring towns and had quite a lot to report on.

Anil is an architect and amateur rugby player with a life mission to bungee jump off the Empire State building. I think that’s the most succinct description I can manage.

What I found interesting about Anil’s expeditions are his ‘Day in the Life’ touches of random drives, walks, etc. For instance, Anil’s first stop was a rural town called KatiKati, in the Bay of Plenty area, which is about a 30 minute drive from the town of Tauranga.

Katikati is also commonly called mural Town for its handpainted streets!

‘Katikati has a two kilometre Haiku Pathway,’ he writes, ‘which is a one of its kind in the world.’ The entire walkway is filled with boulders inscribed with haiku poetry written by local and Australian poets.

Anil stayed at the Cotswold Lodge Countrystay which boasts large kiwi fruit and avocado orchards. Cost of stay is approx $NZ 150 – 165, which is pretty reasonable he says. However, there is also a backpacker lodge in the area which is around $NZ 20 – 30.

The town is filled with murals, sculptures and paintings that depict the history of the place.

And here’s what got Anil [and me!] really kicked about the place – Matakana Island, which is one of NZ’s most popular surfing haunts. Anil hitched a ride on a boat to get to the island, which was his only option. He also visited the inner harbour side of Matakana island on a guided tour of historic sites and bbq lunch.

His next stop was Waihi, half an hour from Katikati. It’s interesting to note that Waihi has got the richest gold mine in the world producing about a million dollars worth of gold and silver every week. Apparently there’s a tour of the open pits conducted on weekdays by the mining company, which sounds quite exciting. His next stop was at Paeroa [5km] where he spent just a couple of hours at the Bullswool Farm Park which is a pretty popular picnic spot with unusual rare-breed farm animals for company!

Anil’s NZ travels to be continued.