We’ve driven, about 600 miles to come from Queenstown to Hoktikia in a roundabout way.
Our first day on the road ended at Tekapo where great telescopes peer through clear skies over its high plateau. We joined a stargazing tour to hear Maori stories of greedy gods and giant birds, and to see the heavens close up. I’ve often wondered if some stars appear in the night skies of both northern and southern hemispheres, and tonight at midnight, whilst bathing in steaming glacial waters, finally learnt that they do. Observing the “Jewel Box” star cluster, Saturn’s rings and the moon’s ragged, mountainous edge was magical and humbling.
After a long day’s drive, through landscapes so like “middle earth”, the folk waving at us through the rain from the camper van across the way might well have been holidaying Orcs, we slept in the mountains guarding Arthur’s pass where the wind blew a gale throughout the night. I wondered how exceptional and tough were the settlers who opened the trails, built communities, farmed the land and mined this earth.
Today, as we emerged from the Southern Alps onto the West coast, both the weather and landscape changed: from intense rain, to sunshine, to overcast, from steep gorge and dramatic waterfalls to expansive river valleys –
and finally a vast coastline.
Here is a wild place, where bold little feathered dinosaurs emerge from spiky undergrowth to steal your olives,
and the call of the wild can be heard clearly over thundering surf.
Happy Easter – hope and new beginnings.