Journal of a visit to New Zealand, via Singapore

The Land of the Long White Cloud
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This page last updated: 29th November 2005.
Day 11: Wildtrax Map

Day 11 For breakfast we have to ascend the stairs up the side of the house to Alex and Suzy's private quarters. Suzy's speciality today is a mushroom omelette with a touch of spinach. It is quite delicious. We chat with the other guests about yesterday's flight and Alex reveals all manner of interesting statistics regarding the glaciers. He then goes off to work, deafening us all as he takes off along his private airstrip that runs past the house.

Suzy has arranged today for us to go off on a Wildtrax adventure. Chris Brooks picks up at 10 a.m. in his Unimog, a huge vehicle with big wheels. He drives us across the Waiho river which is fairly dry and mainly gravel, and down through farmland into the rainforest. There we transfer to a smaller 8WD all-terrain vehicle.

This takes us down a narrow track by a stream. Chris tells us all about the flora and fauna. The forest contains kahikatea trees and rimu. The latter wood is much in demand for use in furniture. Clearfelling is now illegal, and although sustainable milling is not allowed on public-owned conservation estates, it is legal on private land. At points the shrubs are growing across the track and we have to chop some of it down to clear a path through. The flowers we encounter include various orchids and the lovely lotus major.

Eventually we reach the end of the forest and drive across the river onto the beach. From the beach there are excellent views over the rainforest to the mountains and the glaciers. On the beach there is much driftwood. We discover several interesting shells including a full mussel shell with bristles attached. The only other people around are Russel, the farmer onto whose farm we strayed yesterday, with his children on quad-bikes. With the sea on one side and the snow-and-cloud capped mountains above beyond the trees, we find the place very special.

We spend the afternoon in our room, reading, relaxing, reflecting on events. Later we drive up to the village and go into the Alpine Centre. Christine buys herself a Mika Kiwi Fleece, a full zip-lined jacket which will keep her warm all this coming winter. We have a meal and I check my email.

To round the evening off before it gets dark, we drive up to Lake Mapourika and then up the Glacier View Road.

Journal - Day 12 Photographs - Day 11