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Montag, 13. März 2017

New Zealand - Christchurch/Oxford Area

About Narnia, Maori Traditions, a Dragon and a Waterfall!

Nine days - that's all the time we had to explore the Southern Island of New Zealand. The first few days we spend in the Oxford/Christchurch area with my New Zealand family and explored the breathtaking landscapes, the bright colours and the most amazing natural film sets.

Some pictures don't need description... New Zealand!! Aaargh :)

Christchurch - Rise like a Phoenix

Street art in Christchurch
2007 an earthquake destroyed Christchurch - not just a bit but everything. Since then 10 years have passed and still, you see some ruins, some buildings so new, they shouldn't be in a town center. Where once the market place was, there now is a container town - a market container town and to make it look better: Street art! Sculptures, graffiti, etc. This place is full of life. No matter what had happend, the people make the best out of it and put so much love in their city, that there is so much to see, so much to enjoy, so much to love about Christchurch.

Christchurch has some really nice views.

Castle Hill - The real life Narnia

Father nature shows his true face
The next stop of our journey through New Zealand was the place, where the big battle of Narnia was shot: Castle Hill. Fromm one moment to another, I felt like I was walking through the wardrobe and ended up in this magical place. The rocks stood high in front of us, so high, we felt like they once belonged to a giant's castle, that stood upon a hill to oversee the world until it ends in the middle of the ocean.
Some formations seemed so concrete that some form of human being must have cut it a bit. Or was it father nature to show is true face?
We are standing on top of the ruins from a
ancient giant's castle
The moment we climbed on top of one of the rocks, we felt like standing on the beginning of the whole world. It was not as high as the buildings in Melbourne or the mountains in the back - but the view was so breathtaking that something have to had started here once upon a time...

The real life Narnia

A kea on my shoulder and Maori traditions

There is a kea on my shoulder -
How cool is that?
To see the native animals, that you can barely spot in nature, we went to the Willowbank Wildlife 
Reserve. Lots of eels, birds and pigs (yes, pigs and even a pretty ugly one too) awaited us.
Can you spot the Kiwi?
After strolling around for a while, we got a guided tour to the keas (I have a new best friend again) and kiwis. Kiwis are really impressive birds, they can't fly, are really small, can't run fast and still - survived while many other species went extinct. 
These little fluffy balls are also known to live around 80 years! But in fact at the Wildlife Reserve, they know about a tracked kiwi (living by its own in the big, dangerous world of New Zealand), which is 119 years old and still laying eggs. Isn't that impressive?
After the tour we enjoyed the Ko-Tane show - a Maori show full of old traditions. We did like the music, but really embarrassed ourselves when having to try the traditional dances on our own (at the stage with the other people watching...).
Ko-Tane - a tradition Maori performance
The ending of this lovely day was a Hangi meal - a meal, cooked n the ground. First, you dig a hole, then you put hot stones in, than add the meat, fish and veggies, you want to cook. After you covered everything with leaves and earth, you can wait for a few hours. When you dig the hole back up, the meal is cooked - and actually really delicious. 

Hiking through different forests

My travel teddy loved the
Ryde Falls
Although we only did one small hike in New Zeland, it felt like seeing many different forests. In the beginning of our hiking trail, we saw the black beech trees, then the ferns started and the trunks were covered in moss. In the end, we reached a fairy tale waterfall (the Ryde Falls) with many natural pools - the water was so clear, I would've loved to jump in (no matter how cold) - surrounded by the most green woods, I've ever seen.

Where a dragon meets ... well, us :)

Another little trip was to Ashley Gorge - the place, where Pete's Dragon was shot. Although we didn't know the movie, you can easily imagine a dragon flying through the Gorge, drinking out of the Ashley River and connecting with us here. It just looked like a magical place. And this time, I brought my swim wear and enjoyed a quick (and very cold) swim in the river (my cousins and my travel companion stayed in the water way longer - I have no idea how they survived the biting cold).

The amazing Ashley Gorge

Exploring Oxford

The lovely shops in Oxford :)
For all those days, we lived close by the small town of Oxford, so on our last day, we had to enjoy local art in the museum there, go shopping in those fabulous little shops, that are all decorated with love and walk to the "Historic Site" - an old prison, that did stink so badly, I was reminded, why I don't want to live in earlier times.

Our next stop is Queenstown - the city of extreme sport, hiking and - that's what attracted me - the most beautiful town, lying in between the mountains and the Wakatipu lake.

Please, forgive me for all my spelling, grammar and vocabulary mistakes!! My mother tongue is German. 

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