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Monday 19 Apr 2004
Auckland, New Zealand

My last entry from NZ...

Well, time has passed as it must and I am due to depart this fair land in two days (Wednesday 21st), to begin my rushed adventure through war-time Americas heartland. To say Im excited is an understatement... I barely know where Im going, I only have around 1,600 dollars to keep me alive and travelling (well I DO have an ATM/VISA card for emergencies), and I have set myself the task of travelling from LA to NY without taking a single flight over a 3 week period (Im gonna stick to my original timeline since 2 weeks would be WAAAY too rushed). I want to take in Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, New Orleans, Memphis, Chicago and, of course, a slice of the Big Apple. Will I be able to do this on $1,600? Thats what Im gonna find out!

Yesterday, Iano took me out with a bunch of his pals on a Mountain-Bike Trail about an hour from the house. The professional trails pass through a sandy, densely-packed pine forest that doubles as a pasture for local farmers. While trying to not slam-dunk my head into the ground falling off a steep jump, I also had to negotiate my way through cow-pats and randy heffers! Great fun, but my arse is a bit sore from all the bumps!

Im going to miss New Zealand... maybe even moreso than Australia. As much as I love Australia, I have seen more of the country than most people, and I have only barely touched on New Zealands treasure trove! The stinky hot weather in Oz also got a bit under my skin after a while (there aint no air-conditioned buildings to escape to in much of Oz). Saying that, though, the Coral Coast in WA goes down as one of my favourite spots in the world!

Id love to come back here in the winter since Im sure the scenery would be fantastic and Id try my hand at "Boarding" the Remarkables!

I have found New Zealand to also be much more accessible for the camping backpacker in terms of facilities available and the general attitude from locals. I think this is probably because most Kiwis have, at one time or another, done the same thing. Camping and Tramping is a culture here, and completely the opposite of Australia where most people would rather DRIVE a kilometre than walk it!!

That, the outstanding scenery, the genuinely helpful people, the vast range of activities, the short driving distances and the temperate/refreshing climate lead me to regard New Zealand as the best, of the two countries, for backpackers!

In fact, Id live here for the rest of my life without a second thought!

...then I could spend even MORE time thanking Ian and Lynne personally for all their hospitality!!! Thanks again guys!!!

(Sorry to any Aussies reading this... hey Australia has it for the outstanding beaches and beautiful cities like Sydney and Perth though!! )

Next update from the US-of-A!!!

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