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  • Our one-week journey across the South Island of New Zealand

  • started with a day in Christchurch.

  • Christchurch, or Ōtautahi, in Maori

  • is the most populous city

  • of the South Island, with more than 340,000 inhabitants.

  • The city of Christchurch is slowly recovering

  • from the devastation caused by major earthquakes in 2011

  • but even now in 2013, the damage is still apparent

  • in a number of areas.

  • Driving along the coast towards the south, it's possible to admire

  • breathtaking scenery

  • in the form of coastal cliffs, rich vegetation and unspoiled beaches.

  • Christchurch Botanic Gardens

  • are one of the most famous attractions in this city. The Gardens are renowned,

  • not just for their endemic and foreign flora,

  • but also for the numerous artworks scattered throughout the grounds.

  • About 180 kilometres north of Christchurch

  • is the little town of Kaikoura.

  • In Maori, the name Kaikoura means "meal of crayfish".

  • This settlement was actually once a centre for the whaling industry.

  • Although the crayfish industry plays a role in the economy of the region,

  • the town has now become a popular tourist destination,

  • mainly for whale watching.

  • During our whale watching excursion, we saw two giant sperm whales,

  • New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins,

  • and three types of Albatross, including the Gibson's,

  • Northern Royal and Shy albatrosses.

  • In addition to sperm whales,

  • other whale species can also be seen depending upon the season.

  • We found the boat staff to be very well prepared in answering our questions

  • about marine life, and the videos displayed

  • during the cruise were a good introduction to the waters of the Kaikoura coast.

  • Kaikoura beaches are populated by colonies of Southern fur seals.

  • They differ from true seals because they are smaller and have external ear flaps.

  • At Ohau Stream Walkway and Waterfall,

  • a permanent colony of baby seals takes refuge in the freshwater mountain stream.

  • They spend most of the day playing in the running water,

  • descending to the beach every three days to be fed by their mothers

  • until they reach maturity.

  • The unique variety of marine life that characterises the Kaikoura coastline

  • is currently under potential threat from plans by Big Oil

  • to build a deep sea rig off the coast of New Zealand.

  • In a big step backwards for their green credentials,

  • the government of New Zealand supports this initiative, although their decision

  • to gag local people by prohibiting protestation

  • is a clear indicator that something untoward is taking place.

  • Take away free speech, and you take away faith and credibility.

  • The disturbance that oil drilling entails could drive away the whales

  • that are the mainstay of Kaikoura's tourism industry.

  • Moreover, drilling in a seismically active area at depths

  • never attempted before is an experiment that also puts the area

  • at risk of an environmental disaster.

  • The egress of oil into this environment could irreparably damage

  • the delicate equilibrium of marine and coastal life

  • in this region forever.

  • If you get the impression that Kaikoura is sparsely populated,

  • wait till you see the west coast of New Zealand's South Island.

  • As we drove from Kai-koh-ra towards Westport, we encountered the most

  • wild and bucolic scenery of our trip.

  • Woodpecker Bay features perhaps the most stunning and unspoiled beaches

  • on the Tasman Sea coast.

  • Halfway between Westport and Greymouth is a single village,

  • called Punakaiki,

  • famous for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. The Pancake Rocks are a heavily eroded

  • limestone terrane, where ocean swells burst through several

  • vertical blowholes during the high tides. Naturally, we arrived during a low tide,

  • but the scenery was no less spectacular for it.

  • The beauty of New Zealand's South Island

  • is not limited to its coastlines and marine life.

  • A mountain chain crosses the island from top to bottom,

  • the highest peak being Mount Cook, at 3,754m.

  • The two largest glaciers are the Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers.

  • Safety barriers discourage visitors from approaching the glaciers too closely,

  • but with licensed guides, it's possible to hike across the glaciers

  • by land approach, helicopter or even ice plane.

  • In the Alpine regions, it's not uncommon

  • to encounter Keas.

  • The Kea is the world's

  • only alpine parrot, and has been deemed one of the most intelligent

  • and curious of all birds on earth.

  • We found one at Franz Josef glacier car park and were stunned by how cheeky

  • and comical this parrot can be.

  • Keas are attracted by the prospect of food scraps.

  • Their curiosity

  • leads them to peck at and carry away unguarded items of clothing,

  • or to pry apart the rubber fittings of cars.

  • Once very common, Keas are now endangered, as they were formerly

  • demonised as killers of sheep, leading to bounties that saw their numbers plummet,

  • from hundreds of thousands to just a few thousand today.

  • Fortunately, Keas are now strictly protected,

  • and making a slow comeback.

  • 300 km south of Greymouth is Haast.

  • On the way to Haast, just after the Waita River,

  • is the Curly Tree Whitebait Company. Not only can you buy fresh whitebait here,

  • they'll also cook it for you on the spot in the form of whitebait fritters,

  • which makes for a healthy local delicacy.

  • New Zealand whitebait are unlike those eaten in Europe. They are the juvenile stage

  • of certain small,

  • freshwater fish that mature and live as adults in rivers.

  • The eggs of these fish are swept down to the ocean where they hatch.

  • the young fry then move back up their home rivers

  • in the form of whitebait. New Zealand whitebait

  • are caught in the lower reaches of the rivers using small, open-mouthed hand-held nets.

  • A kilo of locally sourced whitebait

  • costs about $80 straight out of the net, so if you see it for less,

  • such as at a supermarket, chances are that it isn't

  • a local product.

  • National delicacies are best accompanied by

  • good quality grape juice. New Zealand doesn't need to import such things,

  • as the central Otago region

  • is famous for producing award-winning wines. We went for a wine tasting at the

  • Wild Earth Outdoor Kitchen & Cellar Door, where we were served a tapas-like selection

  • of Lamb, Venison, confit of Hare,

  • Mussel, Salmon and aubergine dishes on a long wooden stave,

  • many of them smoked in retired Pinot Noir Wine Barrels.

  • The dishes were paired with 5 complementary

  • Wild Earth Wines, making for a truly memorable occasion.

  • We then stopped at the Gibbston Valley Cheesery to taste a platter

  • of assorted Kiwi cheeses in their sunny front garden.

  • Had it not been raining torrentially,

  • the following day would have been spent taking a scenic flight

  • from Wanaka to Milford Sound to enjoy the spectacular views of the mountains,

  • lakes and fiords of the Fiordland National Park.

  • Instead, we headed towards Tekapo, passing by the fairy-tale,

  • turquoise coloured Lake Pukaki. Its colour is so

  • otherworldly that it looks almost unreal. 40 minutes drive from Lake Pukaki

  • is Lake Tekapo, of a similarly crazy shade of blue.

  • This area is renowned among astronomers

  • as it hosts the Mount John University Observatory, one of the darkest spots

  • in the world from which to observe the skies.

  • Back in Christchurch, we made a last trip out to Akaroa,

  • just south of Christchurch on the Banks Peninsula.

  • The peninsula is comprised of the remnants of two large shield volcanoes, and a large inlet

  • offering safe harbour has formed where the eroded rim of the caldera

  • has fallen below sea level. We booked a two-hour voyage with Black Cat Cruises

  • to experience the majestic scenery and wildlife

  • around this bay.

  • Hector's Dolphins, a New Zealand native

  • and the world's smallest ocean going dolphin are the main attraction.

  • In addition, yellow-eye and Little Blue penguins,

  • seals and other seabirds - that nest in the many sea caves

  • and volcanic cliffs of the area - are just a few of the animals which you might spot.

  • Akaroa

  • is in itself a historic little village.

  • Here, some of the houses and the streets retain the names

  • and characteristic features of the first French settlers,

  • as well as those of the English settlers that followed.

  • The beauty of New Zealand's South Island certainly seems to permeate

  • the character of the people who inhabit it.

  • Our journey would not have been possible without the help of our New Zealander friends

  • and their families, who kindly hosted and accompanied us

  • across the pristine landscapes of this truly remarkable island.

  • We have yet to visit the North Island, but so far,

  • New Zealand is a country not to be missed.

Our one-week journey across the South Island of New Zealand

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ニュージーランド南島のドライブ旅行。カイコウラ、プナカキ、オタゴ、マッケンジー盆地、アカロア (New Zealand South Island road trips: Kaikoura, Punakaiki, Otago, Mackenzie Basin, Akaroa)

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    Tawan Lee に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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