Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kiwi Travelogue

Hundreds of years ago groups of seafaring, adventure-loving Polynesian explorers set sail in canoes (or wakas, as they called them) and discovered an uninhabited group of islands in the South Pacific. They became the first settlers in the lush and green wonderland full of exotic birdlife. Many of them perished in the cold. But then they learned to heat up rocks to keep themselves warm at night, make tools out of sea shells, and make warm clothing from flax fiber, feathers, and fur. They carved out a niche for themselves in what they named Aotearoa, or the land of the white cloud, a place that was renamed New Zealand by the Dutch in the 17th century. Today, more than 75% of New Zealand's inhabitants live in the North Island. The South Island, to a large extent, continues to be nature's sanctum full of forests, mountains, volcanoes, lakes, fjords, glaciers, and more. In this travelogue, I will share my experiences as I traveled across the North Island from Auckland to Wellington and back.