Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Te Wahipounamu

Walking or rambling is called tramping in New Zealand. The old chap tramped up to the base of Fox Glacier to continue his encounter with the ice monsters. He got close enough to hear the glacier moving, which he likened to small thunderclaps, he could see the ice melt pouring from under the glacier and the boulders caught up in the slow motion tumble down the mountain. He reckoned it must be a 300 meters high ice cliff face at the cutting edge, the terminal face of the glacier. He came back a happy man.

I enjoyed a tramp round Lake Matheson, a green, lush rainforest in this glacial dominated landscape. Every centimetre of the forest floor around the lake was covered in ferns, mosses or lichens. The trees were festooned with lichens and in between great swags of creepers the lake could be seen. It was a truly amazing place.

For the last few days we have been travelling around a UNESCO World Heritage Area, also known as Te Wahipounamu (the place of the greenstone) - this area incorporates Mount Cook, Westland, Fiordland and Aspiring National Parks, it covers 2.6 million hectares, which is 10% of New Zealand's land area.

Everyone here seems to tramp around with a stoned expression on their faces, that sort of Mona Lisa type small smile permanently fixed in place. The look betrays their knowing they have seen and experienced true and amazing nature. So big, so spiritual, it fills you up with its vastness and all you can do is this little smile of total satisfaction at witnessing something so awesome, so terribly beautiful.

Tomorrow we dash back to Christchurch, but tonight we walked along the beach at Hokitika and watched the sun go down over the Tasman Sea full of wonder. Magic. Absolute magic.

1 comment:

Te Wahipounamu National Park said...

New Zealand, located in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, there are three main Islands North Island, South Island and Steward Island, and other small islands. There are 14 national park. Te Wahipounamu coastline and the Te Wahipounamu National Park are very best for adventurous vacation. You can experience bird watching, diving, kayaking.