Land evolution passed by
I am in love with another woman, and Aotearoa is her name. Aotearoa is the Native New Zealand Maori (pronounced mau-ree) word for New Zealand. Maoris have lived in New Zealand, at least since the mid-16th century. New Zealand is a land that evolu...
I am in love with another woman, and Aotearoa is her name. Aotearoa is the Native New Zealand Maori (pronounced mau-ree) word for New Zealand. Maoris have lived in New Zealand, at least since the mid-16th century. New Zealand is a land that evolution forgot.
Before the Maoris arrived, New Zealand was inhabited just by birds (many were flightless like the Kiwi and the extinct Moa), and no mammals but two species of bats. J.R.R. Tolkien fans think now of New Zealand as a country inhabited by hobbits, dwarves and elves. We certainly saw places where they could be.
For two weeks before fishing with my friend, Lon Christianson, I traveled with my wife, Sue. Fortunately my greatest catch loves Aotearoa as much as I do. We traveled on the North and South Islands six years ago, but this time we traveled only on the southern part of the South Island.
New Zealanders or kiwis are friendly, helpful and generally considerate of one another and travelers. We found only one crabby kiwi in four weeks of travel in New Zealand. Kiwi hospitality is real, not theoretical.
Traveling to New Zealand is a 12½-hour flight from Los Angeles to Auckland. From Auckland one can fly to all other major New Zealand cities in three hours or less. Overnight, 'Air New Zealand' coach flights are really pretty comfortable. Traveling by rental car in New Zealand is fairly easy if you don't mind left side driving. This takes a little getting used to, but if one is careful and goes slowly, it is really very safe.
Bed and breakfasts, homestays, and farmstays are numerous in New Zealand, relatively inexpensive, and a great way to see the country. We stayed at the George Hotel in Christchurch, but stayed in bed and breakfasts like the Bella Retreat in Invercargill the rest of our time.
We booked all our stays through the "Best of New Zealand Fly Fishing," which also booked the fishing package at the Cedar Lodge. Six years ago we traveled from B&B to B&B without a plan, but had no problems, and enjoyed all of them. Some B&Bs are clearly better than others, but all of ours were superb.
Nowhere in New Zealand is much more than a day's drive from the ocean. Sheep are seen everywhere, except in the most rugged mountains. For most of the late 1800's and early 1900's New Zealand was all about sheep and wool.
New Zealand is the birthplace of bungee jumping, a curiously unique and dangerous sport. There are trout right below where the tourists jump. It is much safer to fish there.
We did see brown kiwis in captivity in specially lighted Kiwi houses where they think it is night so they come out to feed. They look just like the kiwis on the kiwi shoe polish can. Other flightless birds including some parrots live in New Zealand, but to me the most interesting flightless birds were the penguins. Penguin watching is like hawk watching at Duluth, Minn., but one is much closer (30 to 40 feet) to the penguins.
In New Zealand, entrees are just that, the entry - or what we call the appetizer. What we would call entrée, Kiwis call the "main".
Whether in a Christchurch or Invercargill restaurant, a B&B, or a roadside café we had great "mains." Some foods are very kiwi, like blue cod, kaikoura crayfish and pavlova. Blue cod is a tender whitefish, kaikoura crayfish is pretty much lobster, and pavlova is a tasty meringue dessert.
If you choose New Zealand for travel with or without fishing, go to www.bestofnzfishing.com for good advice on where to go, where to stay, and where to fish.