January 30, 2006


The most Southernmost city that has the most southern of everything from the YHA hostel to the McDonalds. Stuart Island is next, a couple hours by ferry, population 360! Not too much to do but had a pleasant date with Rob, roaming the musuem-art gallery displaying photos of Japanese fashion and the ancient Tuatara lizard. Then took advantage of the Tuesday special and watched Memoirs of a Geisha. Some really beautiful scenes of kimonos and cherry blossoms, high cliffs and mazes of tiled rooftops. I would have preferred to hear it in Japanese with subtitles and the geisha lipstick was not drawn on properly, but overall a pretty and romantic film to watch. P

Te Anau

Three relaxing days in the sunshine amongst the Southern Alps encircling the town. With a little bit of exertion on the last day doing a walk along the Kepler track to Docks Bay. Really, it was such a small peice of the 5 day track, I'd love to try the experience of hiking the whole thing. So NEXT time I'm in New Zealand and I'm really rich (it's ridiculous how much hostels and park fees are when you stay over night), I'm going to do all the heli-hikes, great walks, skydives, parasails, paraglides, scenic flights, maybe even a bungee jump or two, and exciting things this extreme sport country has to offer. Until then, I'm completely content to enjoy the smaller things like a cold swim, a gaze at the southern hemisphere stars and sampling hokey pokey ice cream in each destination. (WHY don't we have this in Canada? It is the best! Just think of crunchy butterscotch balls in a mound of vanilla so big that it overpowers the size of the cone trying to balance it all!). mmmmmm.

Oh and the Australian couple sipping some wine in the sun set, preparing themselves for the Milford track the next day, who passed on a huge rose to thank me for taking their photo. Then an unexpected romantic walk alone around the edge of the bay in Queenstown's Botanical Gardens. A satisfying meal of blue cod fish and chips. Laughing disgustedly at the old guy trying to pick up young girls in very revealing swimmers. Admiring new birds with a white V shaped tail or a mohawk on a duck or the inquisitive ones that want to hop so close with no hesitation. :) P

January 27, 2006

Milford Sound

Fiordland is the bottom, West section of the south and sounds like something out of LOTR. You drive a few thousand feet into the valley and are awe struck to tears at the magesty of it all. Looks like it too, drifting on a boat through the blue water with sheer cliffs on either side. The highest, mitre peak going up a whole mile to a triangular point. Going through was so windy, it was a sport trying to drink tea before the wind dipped into the cup and splattered it out into the air. Bit of a mess, but coming back was much calmer, admired the seals soaking in the sun on a flat rock and passed by lengthly waterfalls that looked like streams running down the mountain surface. One stopped before touching the bottom as the wind carried the last drops away.

Imagining the most magnificent views if it was raining and the hundreds of falls rushing down in the fog... but so grateful it was sunny and warm and the luck I've had in the south with this amazing weather. Instead of the last few months of stepping into rain and leaving the sun behind, finally is has turned around in my favour.

January 26, 2006

A bit about the past few days

WOW! New Zealand just keeps getting beautifuller and beautifuller that I cannot just say it's beautiful, but it is beautiful, beautiful and I will save beautiful, beautiful, beautiful (man, this word is starting to look funny) for when things get even better beacause that seems to be what will happen. Just had a conversation about that actually, how no matter what you do or see or where you go while travelling, things just get better. You begin to think you planned the itinerary in the perfect order, but really, order doesn't matter, every place has something amazing to offer, completely different from the last.

Ah, at a time when internet is scarce, I have so much to say but I'll have to expand later. For now, I will mention the walk in Haast was like entering into a dinasaur's oasis, Franz Joseph Glacier was a spiky mound of interesting formations, and Queenstown is a great place to do any kind of extreme activity, or in my case, to watch it all. P

January 21, 2006

Nelson to Abel

Much less internet as I head down the much less populated west coast of the south island. Where the line of mountains grow about 5cm's a year and the road twists along the changing colours of the river and scrumptious leafiness of the forests... it's all getting much more beautiful as we go. On the Stray bus again with a couple of English guys who have made the last couple of stops much too funny. I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time which feels so good as I emerge from the gloomy holiday season.

Nelson had a few galleries to stroll through including Jens Hansen maker of the ring in LOTR and Lisa Hoskin's jewelery of delicately designed printed charms. Oh and girls, check out the Cicely cards! So funny, I was the weird tourist laughing out loud at the card stand, www.cecily.co.nz.

Then the amazing coastline at Abel Tasman National Park. Did 11 kms of part of one of the greatest NZ walks. The low blue tide sinks down to raise the patches of white sanded islands. Making it to our water taxi pick up and avoiding all the sandflies that day, descended into Anchorage Bay, water broken into a paint-by-number of green, blue, tourquoise and gray. Many funny llamas looking very feminine and cows, posing for me to draw just by our cabins. P

January 16, 2006


I thought 3 months in NZ would be so much time and it is passing by too fast. I still have the whole of the South Island to see and I know it will whiz by in a blur. The Queen Charlotte Track which runs along the Queen Charlotte Sound, is a 5 day walk along the ridge of a stretch of mountains. It starts at Ship's Cove where Captain Cook stayed during his many visits, over towards Picton. Up top you probably have a view of the water on and more mountains beyond on both sides. A Belgian girl will be doing that now, but I, leaving that for the next time I come (I have to keep saying that), took a boat ride along the water up to an island with a bird sanctuary. It has been protected from predators that have been affecting the wildlife on the mainland which allows for native birds to survive here. I saw blue penguins up close! It huddled with it's partner in their soft bed of little, white feathers and peered up with friendly eyes. The rest of the Sounds had a NZ King Salmon farm, water sometimes blue or brilliant tourquoise or completely whited-out from the shimmering strong afternoon light.

Met an artist in residence called John Keith Reed, water colourist. His advice is to paint every evening, have many exhibitions, know that your audience wants to relate to your work, and most importantly, love what you do. His enthusiasm and reading a bio of his past successes gave me a new rush of inspiration. Driving to Nelson, I scribbled down new ideas and words for my first exhibition. TBA!!! P

January 14, 2006

The Interislander

I am finally out of gloomy Welly! More to do with my mood though than the city. But all is good and the sun warmed my face and made the sea sparkle. I sailed away through the Sounds of rivers, islands and houses perched on the long stretches of mountains. Across the Cook Straight, and then through the Marlborough Sounds of rivers and islands and only trees covering even higher mountains. Speed boats left their trails of white lines behind them. Birds flew by. A young girl pointed to Picton's port ahead with their ferry just about to depart. "That must be where we're heading." She looked at me and offered her binoculars. I took a peek and put the strap back over her pink cap. Imagining how easy it would be for it to slip and fall into the water of other lost cameras below. P

January 11, 2006

It can't be!

Only 10 days into the new year and I find my first gray hair. Outside, the clouds are low over the mountains and the air is gray, streaked with rain. How very, very sad :( P

January 04, 2006

King Kong

Ok, I'm in New Zealand, so I just had to watch the latest Peter Jackson film. Not only watch it, but experience the luxurious Embassy Theatre where Lord of the Rings premiered. It's newly renovated marble staircases, white, laticed domes, large leather seats and a ticket with a seat number, made me feel I was going to an Opera in Prague, not a movie. The line ups went out the door, popcorn smells filled the air, and everyone poured in. Angela prepared ourselves with a handful of tissues. I was ready for the emotional love story, but the giant gorilla just didn't make the tears drip. The ratings weren't quite as good as expected, but I still enjoyed the action, although the dinosaurs could have been omitted, reminded me too much of Jurassic Park. And I didn't like the "helpless female" comment either, but this isn't modern New York anyway. Like his previous trilogy, the scenery was stunning. Yay for Petey, he's one sweet-as guy! P

January 01, 2006

January 1st, 2006

Happy New Year to two thousand and six!
I hope you celebrated with a good mix.

And sooooo, how did the eve go?
Maybe a little kiss under the mistletoe?

I didn't, but whatever,
it's okay because it's summer!

Here in Wellington I'm sitting a house,
and Panda the cat who hasn't caught a mouse.

My head is a bit itchy,
hopefully not fleas from kitty.

I garden and cook and read all day,
and try to write poems that kids can say.

If only my friends were here with me now,
I wouldn't have to end this yet with "chow"!

Happy New,
Year to you! P