Tag Archives: environment

Reluctant return of the native

14 Mar

Leaving one’s homeland for a period of time requires organisation and commitment.  The opportunity to do this and step into the lives of others does not often arise, so when an offer to exchange homes   near the stunning lakes of central North Island, New Zealand, arose last year, we jumped at it.

After weeks of planning we left the  UK just after Christmas for the first month in Australia.

We neatly dodged the first snow fall a week later and felt pretty smug at avoiding the usual chaos of choked roads and cancelled flights.

However, we soon had other extremes to deal with, and we paid for our complacence when  the temperatures rose in Sydney, to a record breaking 50 degrees.

After a month of searing heat in Australia we were ready for something else, and the lush green of New Zealand was it.
Like all iconic places in the world, Venice, Niagara Falls, Uluru or Sydney Harbour, and no matter how many films and pictures one sees, the real thing always amazes.
However, I was not ready to fall in love.
But I have, hook line and sinker. The North Island of New Zealand is my new heart throb. It is a place with all the elements of beauty defined by the the conventions of nature. The huge tree ferns , raging rivers and waterfalls and towering forests, the sense of space and peace invaded me.

This is one of the youngest countries in the world geologically.
The mud pools like vast cauldrons of boiling chocolate, , the sulphurous lakes and rivers and active volcanoes are unlike anywhere else.
This place feels like a microcosm of the world as it began, the start of life, emerging from the turbulence of volcanic eruptions and primitive bubbling slime. I often felt a desire to be in the water, be it a lake, the sea, river or hot spring. I swam in clear lakes, lounged in natural hot springs for free, kayaked on rivers and sailed in the Bay of Islands. This is truly a land of magical beauty. No wonder it is chosen as a location for magical movie making. Nothing can prepare for the real thing though.
The water and light, the source of life, which cover this shining land gave me a sense of newness, of possibility, and even though living with the knowledge of earthquakes, which can and do trouble the land and it’s people, I felt the power and strength of this planet we call home and a glimpse of how the planet was, before we started to mess it up with open mining, industrialisation, intensive farming and chemical pollution.

The newness of New Zealand is like stepping back in time. We can never recover this pristine beauty in most of the world where man has set foot but a glimpse of a shining place is certainly soul food on a grand scale.
But like all new loves, this is an infatuation and I have a desperate need to talk about the beloved at every opportunity, to show pictures, and above all to revisit.
I need to see more of this shining land. I will return.Mt RuapehuHot mud poolriver kayaking

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