Thursday, March 16, 2006

From the frying pan and into the freezer.

Arrived in New Zealand three nights ago. Wow. Touched down in Christchurch on the South Island, I wanted to avoid all the tourism of the North Island this time of year; I'm told it's quite hectic with Maori Festivals going on. As much as I'd like to see them, apparently the place is overrun with tourists at the moment.

My plan is quite simple really, I've got six weeks here. I'll be doing a complete route around the island, and most of it will no doubt be hitching. I'm told it's relatively safe here though.

Looking forward to seeing the "Southern Alps", of which Mount Cook is supposed to be an amazing view. There are base walks that take three days, and I've already booked one. I'm told it's going to be the most demanding challenge I'm likely to ever take it my life. Reassuring.

Christchurch so far has been pretty laid back. Spent last night at a cruisy little jazz cafe with a couple of german girls from Gladbach. It's been snowing a little for the past week, still can't get over snow in April. It's insane. Then again I can't get over a beach Christmas.

I move onto Mount Cook on Tuesday, and with it a different type of challenge.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Simply Fiji

Despite it's rising popularity amongst tourists, "over 200 [of the islands] are uninhabited" I'm informed by a local as I'm shuffled into the back of his 1960's Ford, sounding like a tourist guide trying to make a quick Fijiian dollar.

And if it's true, I pray it stays this way. After touching down in Nadi, I'm quickly immerved in the colourful Fijiian culture embraced best by they're marketplace. Trading amongst themselves I notice quickly a tendency to group up in two's and three's and try to lure the unknowing tourist towards them, offering them all sorts of goods ranging from fruit, to local jewelry, to local delicassy.

It was a taste of what was to come; no sooner had I headed out of the Nadi area, and had accumulated myself a tourist bus, had the bus driver started flying to flog us goods during the ride south to our ferry port.

My destination at this moment is the wonderful group of island known as Kadavu. A dutch couple I met three night's ago at a hostel in Nadi suggested the island as an ideal place to see some of Fiji's best beaches, without having all the tourism of the main islands.

Coastline near Matana

Apparently however the weather has been quite vigorous in recent days, with a fair amount of rain. I'm told however that it's quite a feeling to be in the nearby Astrolabe Reef (miles and miles of clear lagoons, like something out of the Beach) when it happens though, as all the marine life comes to the top to feed.

Hostel at Matana

When I leave Kadavu I'm due to head back to Nadi, to continue onto Australia, but there's something about the lure of Fiji's capital Suva that makes me think otherwise...