Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Zealand, December 2001 - Excerpt from The Life and Times of Love and Vines

Shehu and I had just returned from a Great Barrier Reef SCUBA diving trip in Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia, followed by a few more South Island
adventures in New Zealand in our 1982 Nissan Vanette, affectionately named “Mac”. In this passage, we are in Queenstown staying at a friend’s home and doing temp work while we prepare for our next adventure: The Milford Track, a legendary 3-day hike through what’s left of paradise!

December 9, 2001
Kim and Jane at Adstaff found us lots of work in Queenstown. We each worked two days, and then we found ourselves chilling at Steve Olsen’s crib getting ready to go on a three day camping trip in Milford Sound, a pristine, barely touched world of calm waters flanked by steep mountains, lush pure forests and majestic waterfalls. It’s the pride of New Zealand, a bona fide World Heritage site. Everyone who talks about their experience on “The Milford Track” seems to have trouble finding the words to describe wheat they’ve seen there.

As for driving through Arthur’s Pass and down the west coast, that can be described in two words: tumultuous rain. We drove out of Christchurch and right into a mass of
rain cloud many acres broad. Mac needed the shower after sitting idle for 3 weeks in the mildly urban Papanui neighborhood while we spent a week in Auckland and 2 weeks on Mission Beach doing just as little.

The waterfalls at Devil’s Punchbowl, just outside the tiny hamlet of Arthur’s Pass, were magnificent. It was worth a half hour hike in the rain to see, and the rivers that flowed out from under the falls were raging. These green, bushy hills lay at the north of the Craigieburn range where the club ski fields lay, and we reminisced as we drove through Springfield and past Porter Heights. Maybe we can return next year, if we get residency.

There were waterfalls everywhere coming down the West Coast. The jungle around Franz Josef glacier was lush and beautiful, but the rain made the town dreary. We could get no signal for our cell phone out there in the boonies. So we poked our heads into a couple of hostels and found the local pub, where we saw our first New Zealand rednecks. I figured they really didn’t see black people much (or at all) in these parts. They made some crack about us “getting lots of sun” or something.

From the upcoming book release:
The Life and Times of Love and Vines – The Travel Memoir of Rashida Veronique Serrant DWS

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