We are spending an "urban weekend" in Auckland, which is our last stop in New Zealand. It is a nice city, and as everywhere in this country, people are very friendly. I am a bit troubled with wearing leather shoes. They just don't have the grip, like Vibram soles. But otherwise, I enjoy the town. Learned today about Scow Ships, which are designed with a flat bottom and were used for transportation along the coastline, where there are no ports. Due to their construction, these ships can during high tide sail on the beach and fall dry when the water is low again. During this time they do the loading and at the next high tide they sail off again. I also learned about Sir Peter Blake, his amazing achievements and legacy. I am impressed - also by his red socks. Time to say goodbye to New Zealand. Soon we will take the trip around the globe by plane. Remember what we learned in Germany in the primary school: when you put a knitting needle through the globe in Germany, passing the centre of the earth, then the other side will come out in New Zealand. Well, that's actually not exactly right, like many other things in primary school. But it is a long trip. That's what it means. Goodbye New Zealand. We will be back.
There are not many places, where I reconsider the possibility of the existence of fairies, draws, hobbits and unicorns. But New Zealand is one of them (the other one is Iceland). Feibai said it with: "It feels like we are walking in a painting".
We arrived the South Island of New Zealand in Christchurch. The scares of the 2011 earth quake, which flattened most of the city, are still very visible. But the new Christchurch will be modern, quake proof and is aiming to be an inspiration for the world. And I think it really can be, once it is finished. It is an amazing financial and spiritual effort to rebuild the city. Also the quake left scares in people's souls. But they have a great spirt to deal with it. It was touching to hear the comment of a museum staff, saying: "Oh, I wish the city could be ready for Christmas". It will not be. But it is improving every day. And even it is becoming a modern town now, the heritage around.
We drove from Christchurch to Mount Cook and had one overnight before reaching Queenstown. This is a beautiful place, and we will stay a few days, exploring the mountains around by foot. We already hiked up the Shotover River, looked a bit into the old gold mining projects, like the Oxenbridge Tunnel at Arthurs Point, and learned about the Chinese gold trader Sew Hoy, who was active in this region around 1885. Today took the Fernhill Loop Track through the forests up to about 1000 meters. Again, a beautiful view. This was a warm up, to get a bit higher in the next days.