NZ Journal: Middle Earth, seriously…


It was Steph’s turn to drive. She hasn’t been behind the wheel of a car, any car, in five months but she took right to the left-side driving. Of course she’s been living in the southern hemi all that time so perhaps the concept sunk in well enough even without her ever taking the helm. In any event, it was a chance for me to place a more thoughtful gaze upon the landscape… and there was much to reflect upon during the four hour trek from Dunedin to Te Anau (pronunciation key: rhymes with the first name of “The Matrix” star). Signs along the way told us we were on the Southern Scenic Drive and it was clear that this was an appropriately titled passage. We laid our eyes upon thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of sheep and since I wasn’t driving, I was able to look more closely at them. I noted how many of the sheep were clearly moms as there was anywhere from one to four lambs closely surrounding them. Some ambled slowly as they grazed while others were sitting or lying down and for those, the young ones took to serious cuddling. I witnessed no such maternal instincts among the probably 3,000 cows we passed. Calfs looked to be on their own.

Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit”, filmed entirely in New Zealand (as were all the “Lord of the Rings” films), opens in Wellington tomorrow amidst a great deal of fanfare. Everywhere we went, there were reminders that New Zealand is Middle Earth. Gift shops everywhere display countless books about the making of the films and the locations for the various scenes. Perusing these indicated that the various movie scenes were shot throughout both the North and South islands. Many were filmed around the Te Anau region, most particularly in Milford Sound – – tomorrow’s destination.

The image above was taken right at the lakefront in Te Anau. I’ve been playing around with both iPhoto for iPad and Snapseed (by Nik Software). Both are capable apps but they take decidedly different approaches to image editing on the iPad. In some ways, iPhoto is closer to the desktop experience while Snapseed deploys an innovative and easy to master swiping convention. Up and down to select the adjustment (e.g., saturation, contrast, etc.) and a left to right to apply greater or lesser degrees of that adjustment. Unfortunately, saved photos from iPhoto get thrown into the overall library while Snapseed altered images are placed into the camera roll. The long and the short of that is that Snapseed images are easier to locate from the iPad WordPress app and so I’ll probably stick to that from this point forward.

One other highlight from today: we walked up “the steepest street in the world”. Baldwin Street is an ordinary road in Dunedin… ordinary in that it’s lined with pretty homes from front to back. But it’s far from ordinary in that it contains a radically steep incline. We thought we’d drive up it but when we saw several hardy tourists hoofing it, we thought we’d do the same. All in all, I’m glad we tried as it wasn’t too hard. There were benches for resting along the way and a portion, the steepest of all, was lined with steps on the sidewalk. Several tour shuttles passed us, filled with the less ambitious. When we arrived at the top, several asked us: “what was it like?” and “are you glad you tried it?”. I’ll never climb Everest but now I don’t have to.

So, it’s MIlford Sound and then on to Queenstown (adventure capital of the world… note that bungee jumping was invented there). We’re going to try our hand as something adventurous… just haven’t decided precisely what yet.

Internet access has been spotty here and though I’m finding 3G courtesy of local carrier, Vodafone, I get intermittent bandwidth so I have to limit my time online. As a result, I see comments to my NZ posts but am unable to respond. I’ll make sure to do so once I’m back home. Thanks for your comments and I’ll continue to try to provide updates.

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2 Responses to NZ Journal: Middle Earth, seriously…

  1. Rodney says:

    Wonderful photo of Middle Earth. I can just see Gollum creeping below the mountainside, trying to hide from the sunlight! Thanks for sharing Rey.


    Hi Rey and Steffie,               Great hearing from you! What a wonderful trip-anxious to see the pictures, Love you both–Nana and Grampy–Ma and Dad


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