22 November 2014
Two Geezers in New Zealand
Geoffrey and Caroline Carver
You might remember the evening of February 1st 2009 - it was the start of the worst winter snows for twenty years; it wasn’t a good time to be sitting nervously in a jumbo jet at Heathrow Airport, wondering if the de-icer rig would make it in time. It did, and we rather tardily thundered off into the night on the first leg of our flight to Auckland.
The southern hemisphere temperatures were in stark contrast to the -1 ̊C at Heathrow and -60 ̊C at aircraft cruising level. And what a relief it was when the world finally stopped moving and we could stand in the late afternoon sunshine in Auckland, having moved on two days according to clock and calendar.
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, with low rise, often Victorian, buildings on the out-skirts, changing in the central business district to the usual multi-storey office blocks. It has wide streets, green spaces, ocean on two sides, oh and 49 volcanoes. They tell you here and elsewhere in the country “its not so much a question of if it will erupt, rather more, when will it erupt” ; you might have gathered from the lack of hysteria in the Press, that there have been no recent eruptions in the city....but watch this space. We intended to spend quite a bit of our time in the country looking at volcanism - there is lots of it around, and it is rather interesting, extremely impressive (and pretty too).
When you look at a map, it is clear that the country is long and thin and divided between the two principle islands. It is about the same length as the UK, but with only a very limited amount of motorway and maximum speed limits of a leisurely 100kph, getting around can be a rather prolonged process. The north island is full to bursting with volcanoes, whilst the south has some terrific mountain scenery ...
This article is an extract from Geoffrey and Caroline Carver's article first published on Page 4 in Travel Log Issue 55.