Sunday, May 25, 2008

Travelling in New Zealand

I would love to show you lots of wonderful pictures from our boy's trip to New Zealand, but my computer is going through a difficult phase when it sometimes - not always, mind you - not often enough for me to remember to get a chap down to look at it, but sometimes - won't save things. So after much struggling, this is the only one of his emailed photos that I've persuaded the thing to save and therefore that I'm able to post.

So instead, here are some extracts from some of his emails. These are from when he and his beloved were travelling in South Island, though they did fit in work experience at the hospital at Nelson. In their final week they went to North Island.

They had a lovely time but I was so glad to see them back again.


Just a quick email to let you know that I’m still ok.

We went in to hospital this morning (or yesterday evening to you, I suppose) and got told that they had an audit on, so could we go away and come back tomorrow? This is somewhat typical of being a medical student, but somehow, when it’s 25 degrees Celsius outside and you feel like you’re on holiday, you don’t mind so much.

We came back, got changed and went for a walk. This took in the town centre, a bit of beach, some Japanese gardens, a historic park and the “centre” of NZ. We were quite tired by the end. During the time we ought to have been watching Neighbours we went to a supermarket and bought quite a lot of food, then ate some for tea and sat around for a bit.


Tomorrow, I suspect we may actually have to do some medical studenting, but I suppose that’s technically why we are here…

Someone said G’day to us today. It made me happy.


(This accompanied some photos.)

1. A view over Nelson from "The Centre of New Zealand"
2. One of the many crossings of the Buller River in the Buller Gorge
3. The Pancake Rocks at Punakaike on the way down
4. Your favourite son/brother in front of the Franz Josef Glacier
5. A rather atmospheric shot on the glacier
6. Guess who at the foot of the Fox Glacier



Now in Queenstown. Arrived safely, although the landing seemed to come perilously close to mountains. We've seen several other planes take off/land and they all did that, not just us.

Our hostel has two cats, plus one who comes and begs for food from the kitchen - very nice, though obviously not quite as good as our cats.


Somewhat time-limited right now (there's no such thing as free internet in NZ, apparently, and what we have in this campsite is rather slow). Today we went on a cruise on Milford Sound - very big, very pretty, very wet below, fairly wet from above. I also wrote you a postcard - are any of them getting through? This [picture above] is it - rather misty but very atmospheric. You probably can’t get how impressively big it was in a picture.

Tomorrow we're off to Stewart Island off the South coast, the best place in NZ to spot a kiwi, apparently.


Hello there,

Just to let you know that we're still alive. We are. Yesterday we went to Stewart Island off the south coast. It was very nice, although the weather was somewhat changeable. Very choppy journey there too. We're now in Invercargill and about to drive to the Catlins National Park. The weather is currently sunny.


Hope all are well back home. We are currently in a campsite in Timaru, which is sort of halfway between Dunedin and Christchurch. There's not a lot to Timaru, so we're really just stopping off in between the two cities (Christchurch is our target, where we will drop off our little Suzuki Swift tomorrow - sniff). For those who I haven't spoken to recently, since Saturday we have covered Queenstown, Milford Sound, Invercargill, Stewart Island, The Catlins, Otago Peninsula, Dunedin and Oamaru. It has been somewhat whistlestop. Over that time we have seen tui, fur seals, albatross, sea lions and penguins. No kiwi though.


We're now back from Nelson Lakes, which were lovely, but VERY cold! It was beautiful weather, but if you weren't actually in the sun (ie when we were walking through the forest, which was much of the day) it was really fairly chilly. We walked up one side of a valley on Sat, and we could see our breath (and snow on the ground) towards the top. This morning the car (a Mitsubishi Colt this time) was completely frozen up. However, we barely saw a cloud.


We made it back from Picton - which is where I last phoned from - driving the scenic coastal route. Those who get car sick would not have liked it much, but it was very pretty. Since Sunday the weather has been pretty cloudy and exceedingly humid, but still pretty warm, at least. Yesterday we went on an 8am ward round in the morning, wrote some discharge summaries and then both worked on our elective reports. Mine is currently about 3 pages long (maximum of 5) and very waffly.

In two weeks and two days I'll be heading back across the world - very odd. But nice. I'm looking forward to seeing you all and the cats. I'm intrigued by what you say about Sirius’s entirely logical fear of hot water bottles. Is it the mere presence of a hot water bottle, or does it need to be a particularly aggressive one?


  1. Reading about your son's travels, & all the place names made me feel homesick.

  2. I never had the heart to tell my little son that the film "The Water Horse" was actually filmed in New Zealand, rather than Scotland. He kept saying how lovely it was and how much he wished to go there. He wore his little navy hat with the st andrews cross on the front, just to get into the spirit of things, (The one I bought him In Scotland). All very sweet.

    I am glad your son liked his trip.

  3. Cor, that photo looks really Lord of the Rings! (Just to show I can be as trite and predictable as the next person...)

    Like the seal one too, our Molly does that.

    Birthday cake looked yum!

  4. What a stunning photograph. Enough to give one itchy feet. And a lovely selection of e-mails from your son -the internet really has shrunk the world in some ways, hasn't it?

  5. Is this your first Guest Blogger?

  6. Sounds like he's having a wonderful time. New Zealand is somewhere I would quite like to go but I really ought to have gone when my sister-in-law lived there. But your son's adventures have given me wanderlust. Hope you're well. I'll catch up with all your posts soon but wanted to say hello.

  7. Great to readf the emails. We have a very similar photo to the one you have from our trip down south a couple of years ago. It rained for us as well!

  8. What a wonderful son you have Isabelle! Perhaps this is the difference between the son of an English teacher and one who isn't the son of an English teacher. My hoodlum doesn't send updates. We communicate on occasion via instant message. Or he whines to his Grandma about how he's surely love to see NZ before he has to come home but that he's out of money. So Grandma calls her daughter and says that poor child MUST go to NZ before he comes home. Yes, yes... in the choice between a new roof and my son...the child will always win out! I think maybe I'll send him your blog address and suggest he send me awesome updates like your son sent to you LOL!

  9. Ahh! New Zealand. We have spent two wonderful holidays there and this brought back so many memories.
    If I were a younger man I would have emigrated there long ago.

  10. How sweet of you to share some of your son's e-mails with us. It sounds like a wonderful trip and makes me want to go to NZ. I hope you computer cooperates soon and lets you show us more of the lovely pics he sent.
    He sounds like he has your sense of humour, and has a personable writing style too. A chip off the old block! :)