Is New Zealand worth it?
New Zealand is quite far away, isn’t it?
I was reading a book the other day that suggested it might take as little as two hours to get there one day. Apparently this involves leaving earth, waiting for it to spin and then popping back in again.
It all sounds very civilised and means New Zealand could be a feasible mini-break spot for a weekend one day. How lovely would that be!
As I read on I discovered that I’ll have been a pensioner for sometime by the time this might actually happen. Which is a little irritating as by then I won’t be able to enjoy New Zealand properly as this is about as far from a fly and flop destination as it’s possible to get.
So the big question is, is New Zealand worth the schlep? Ask literally anyone who has been there and they’ll tell you it’s worth flying for several months to have half an hour on the ground – that’s how beautiful it is.
While Frodo’s ears and Gandalf’s beard might not be real in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, that unbelievable backdrop is very much of this planet.
Arguably the most beautiful spot of all is Arthur’s Pass National Park in the heart of the Southern Alps. Mountains, gorges, and rivers combine to create a postcard picture wherever you look.
Nearby is Grasmere Lodge in Canterbury, which used to be a sheep station. If the sheep still lived there they’d be the happiest sheep in the history of the world and would almost certainly have evolved quickly into regular bathers and loo-users so as not to ruin the incredible décor.
The original homestead remains but several thousand buckets worth of TLC have turned it into a grand mansion with rooms so beautiful they might distract you from the views. This in impressiveness terms is roughly equivalent to being distracted from a unicorn sitting on your bed.
Wood and stone walls, tartan carpets, chesterfield sofas and fireplaces combine to create a place to stay that is worthy of the setting.
You’ll want to go outside quite a lot though with horse-riding, fly fishing, alpine valleys, virgin forest and limestone rock formations to treat your retina to.
If you prefer, horses can be replaced by horsepower with four wheel drive safaris on offer. Although if you’re going to rely on an engine to explore, the whole hog is available in the form of a guided helicopter tour.
I don’t know what heaven looks like and what activities are on offer once you get there but I like to imagine it’s a bit like Grasmere Lodge. If it is then I for one will be going to church at Christmas, Easter, every Sunday and any other time they’ll let me in from now on.
So, yes, New Zealand is far away. But it’s closer than the moon and much better by all accounts.