Blimey! Soon I will be making a sacred circle around the South Island in a campervan with my pal, Thelma.
The itinerary has changed so much since January. The words I got then were Catlins, Fiordland, southern lights, Christchurch. Then it went all Fiordlandy, Lake Ohau, Christchurch. There were weeks of variations on that theme.
8 days ago something solid came in. The words were Denniston, Lake Mavora, written in permanent ink on a white board in my mind.
Denniston Plateau is on the West Coast and it’s a unique environment with jutting tors and amazing plant life…pygmy pines, teeny rata. There are incredible native species of gecko and snails – and worms in glorious burnt red technocolour with green blotches circled in white lines. Plus other species that still haven’t been fully investigated.
There is no other place like it in NZ.
There are also giant spotted kiwis screeching their heads off during the dark hours.
This kiwi species is listed as vulnerable.
Vulnerable is how I feel about this place because an Aussie coal-mining company is working on creating an open cast mine there.
This controversy has not been given news coverage. I saw a little thing on our public service TV channel (soon to be pushed out of the way for an shopping channel) and a little bit more on our public service radio station.
New Zealand looks pure and natural as the driven snow on tourist billboards. Butter wouldn’t melt in our mouths…ok, it would.
Our bush is dead, there is no sound coming from it. You have to go to off shore islands to hear the choir that is our national anthem. That beautiful melody that astounds you.
I want to hear the cry of the giant spotted kiwi on this trip…because on the next trip it might not be there.
Covering my bases you see…though I’m still hoping that a significant part of the area might be claimed as reserve.
But who knows eh.
Next – Mavora Lakes. They are on the way to Te Anau and no-one lives there or near there. The lakes were movie stars in Lord of the Rings, so I’m told.
A company called Riverstone Holdings wants to build a 43 km monorail near the lakes to Te Anau. 29 kms would go through conservation land.
We have this remote area, as in pristine and pure like those posters of NZ want us to believe…and then some blokes want to chomp through it all so people can experience a rapid rail with no time to look at the scenery that they went there to see.
Anyway, that’s the theme of the trip. Visits to remote, unique landscapes…get them while you can.