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Phespirit goes to New Zealand
Christchurch     November/December 1997

AROUND NEW ZEALAND

Map of New Zealand

1 Christchurch

When Phespirit stepped onto terra firma at Christchurch airport, it was at the end of 22hr50 flying time from London, with a one hour ten minute break at Singapore; 12hr45 in the air before; 10hr05 in the air afterwards.

He felt reasonably sprightly at first, but then steadily deteriorated to a state of fit-for-nothingness.

It wasn't jetlag, merely exhaustion, so when he regrouped he was able to enjoy a spacious verdant city with a warm busy heart.

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2 Akaroa

Akaroa is a harbour town on the Banks Peninsula, some 82km by road from Christchurch. Purpose of visit: to partake of an 'eco tour' on the M.V. Canterbury Cat (a boat) in search of dolphins.

Hector's Dolphins were observed close up and in healthy numbers capering around the Cat: mission accomplished.

The price of success? A reasonable NZ$27.00.

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3 Lake Tekapo

On the road, from Christchurch to Wanaka, part 1:

This was first of two huge, stunning pristine blue glacial lakes that Phespirit passed on the way down to Wanaka.

A clear, clean, deep blue lake. Very fine.

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4 Lake Pukaki

On the road, from Christchurch to Wanaka, part 2:

Tekapo is very fine, but Lake Pukaki is utterly astonishing. It, too, is a stunning pristine blue glacial lake, but of a spectacular hue. It could almost be a flourescent turquoise soup.

Apparently it is the extremely finely ground rock particles from the glaciers, known as 'glacial flour', that creates the effect.

Whatever it is, it's good.

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5 Wanaka

Phespirit walked up Mount Iron, tasted wines at Rippon Vineyard, took a scenic flight over Mount Aspiring (a barfed up over the Rob Roy glacier), had fun at 'Puzzling World', and river-fished for fresh trout - cooked and eaten within the hour.

Best of all: the hospitality of his hosts.

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6 Queenstown

Queenstown brands itself an 'adventure capital', so Phespirit knew to expect streets paved with testosterone.

Phespirit did the Shotover Jet, and played bar pool and air hockey with occasional flashes of testosterone (not literally, of course).

He drew the line at bungee jumping, however.

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7 Hanmer

Tom, Kirsten, Debbie, Netty, Phespirit and a host of well-met Kiwi friends, left Christchurch to seek leisure at Hanmer Springs. They took the waters at the Thermal Reserve and overnighted in cabins. All were comfortable.

As can happen in cabins, the group fell into playing Trivial Pursuit. Topical to his visit, Phespirit was asked the country that would be reached by a line drawn from New Zealand, through the centre of the Earth, to the surface opposite. He knew that Queenstown was close to the 45th parallel South, and that London was close to the 50th parallel North, so he figured out it must be ..... Scotland! The answer is Spain. Like an idiot, Phespirit had counted his parallels in the wrong direction.

It didn't spoil his visit, though.

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  1. Christchurch
  2. Akaroa
  3. Lake Tekapo
  4. Lake Pukaki
  5. Wanaka
  6. Queenstown
  7. Hanmer
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Christchurch Akaroa Lake Tekapo Lake Pukaki Wanaka Queenstown Hanmer