A trip to the South Island

With most of the interviews done (5 general practitioners, 2 nurse practitioners, 4 nurses, 2 social workers, 2 caregivers and a team from the ministry of health) Lori and I pushed on further into the South Island.  We took the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth through the Southern Alps.   This was a 4.5 hour ride through mountains, valleys, across the Alpine fault line, past old mining and logging towns and finally into the temperate rainforest of Greymouth.  Vegetation is THICK here with lots of palm trees and ferns. 

If you want to see an interesting depiction of life for 19thcentury Scottish settlers here – rent The Piano (1993) from Amazon.  It’s a dark story of all the hardships that a “mail order bride” (Holly Hunter, Academy Award Winner) faced but the scenes of the Tasman Sea and the rainforest are spot on.  This movie gives a hint to the hardiness of the modern-day Kiwi’s. 

From Greymouth we travelled up the coast by bus to the Pancake Rock or Punakaiki.  A paved trail takes you to spectacular layers of stratified limestone that line the coast.  The attention paid to NZ’s natural treasures is impressive and well-maintained and signed trails make these special places very accessible. Another example of this is Abel Tasman National Park.  The Department of Conservation has created an impressive network of “tracks” with the Coastal track noted for some of NZ’s best scenery – golden beaches, clear blue water, and lovely vistas through thick bush.  With kayaking, birding, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and boating options, this park is inviting all ages and abilities.  I wish I could do further research regarding Kiwi’s love of the outdoors and being fit and active.  Now I’m on a 3 hours ferry boat ride back to the North Island looking forward to one more week of work before my return to Vermont. 

The signage guiding our 4 hour “tramp”
Beautiful vista along the Coastal Track in Abel Tasman National Park

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