Hello my lovely fellow deviants. How are we all doing?
I returned from
New Zealand last night, and to say I had an amazing time could only be a massive understatement.
I got my geek on all over New Zealand. I strolled through Hobbiton and drank ale at the Green Dragon. I carried the One Ring through the black gates of Mordor and all the way to Mt. Doom itself. I sped through the Ford of Bruinen at 80km/hr muttering "Nîn o Chithaeglir lasto beth daer; Rimmo nîn Bruinen dan in Ulaer"
, before singing at the foot of the Misty Mountains. I woke to sunrise over the Misty Mountains, before travelling beyond them to search for gold. That said, our gold hoard at the end of it would have made Thorin embarrassed for us.
When I wasn't having a geekgasm no one else in my company related to, I spent time drinking in the scenery. Rotorua was magical, from its bubbling mudpools and geysers, to the traditional Maori welcoming, cultural celebration and hangi feast. I walked to the foot of Franz Joseph glacier, and flew to the head of it, the latter of which being one of the most incredible experiences in my life. I spent time with endangered critters, such as the yellow-eyed penguin and the adorable kiwi bird. I travelled the country from the tip of the north island to the base of the south, travelling by plane, coach, bus, helicopter, gondola, steamship, locomotive, ferry, jet boat and minibus -- half of which I'd never been on before. I walked along the stunning harbours of Auckland where I arrived, to the broken streets of Christchurch right before I left, where I was inspired by the ability of the residents to stand up and begin to rebuild despite the constant quakes that still plague the city even while I was there.
But the best moment was travelling out to sea on a small boat and stumbling upon a wildlife encounter so amazing it eclipsed anything I've experienced as a Zoologist. A large school of barracuda could be seen feeding on schools of smaller fish below the surface, who were attracted to the area by a school of krill. This in turn attracted the fur seals, who surfaced with their enormous catch to slam it on the surface of the water in an attempt to break it up into bite sized pieces. This attracted an enormous flock of hundreds (if not thousands) of birds, including the impressive and endangered Southern royal albatross as well as two other species of albatross, 4 species of cormorant, and a number of species of gulls, petrels and terns, all vying for the scraps being flung about by the seals. It felt like stepping into the middle of a wildlife documentary.
I was sad to leave such a beautiful country, but if the experience taught me anything, it is that I am incredibly lucky to live here in Australia. For New Zealand reminded me so much of home, a home I have only seen a tiny fraction of and is every bit as beautiful. My only hope is for a long life spent exploring as much of these two countries as is possible, and working to conserve it all.
My external harddrive tells me I accumulated over 13000 photosgraphs during my visit. Many of these will be for my own memories, but some of them I will in time share with you all.
Thanks to everyone who watched, commented, replied or sent me notes while I was away. I will work to reply to all of you as soon as possible. I'm still buzzing and attempting to catch up on everything that built up while I was away.