With each country I visit, I create an insider “message.” Here’s your MESSAGE from my recent trip to New Zealand’s South Island:
MEET (Cool Meet Ups) – Rugby 7’s tournament in Queenstown. Just my luck! The 7’s were in town playing a 2-day national tournament in lovely gorgeous Queenstown. It was hot, people were sunburned and the beer was flowing. I don’t totally understand all the rules of rugby, but I understand a good time and this was it! Auckland ended up winning the whole she-bang!
EAT (Tasty Eats) – I have to give the nod to the famous FergBurger found in Queenstown. Hamburgers are my favorite food and this is one of the top three. It’s huge and beefy and comes with a beetroot relish. Hello heaven!
SEE (Must-see Sights) – The Haka. Check out this video of this traditional Maori dance of intimidation.
NZ’s All Blacks also perform a haka before their matches. Here’s the more modern version. (Yes, you’re right. Last time I also showed barely clad men dancing. So what. What’s your point?)
SHOP (Gotta Have) – Maori greenstone amulet. The Maoris considered greenstone to be sacred and they’re hand-carved to represent 4 main images:
- fish hook (representing strength and good health)
- triple twist (symbolizing friendship and eternity)
- koru spiral (depicting new beginnings and harmony
- manaia (carrier of supernatural powers and protects the wearer against evil).
I decided to splurge and buy one that is beatu-i-ful! I bought the manaia. I figured I can use all the protection against evil I can get.
ACTIVITY (Gotta Do) – Adventure Sports. New Zealand is the motherland of adventure sports. Looking to pump some adrenalin through your veins? You’ve come to the right place. This is, after all, the country that created bungee jumping. Here’re just a few of the daredevil sports to tempt you: mountain lugeing, heli-biking, base jumping, and river surfing.
My extreme sport of choice: 3 days of sea kayaking the fiords at the bottom of the world. You’ll hear more about this in a future post because it was – believe it or not – the most hard core experience of my life.
GIVE (Greatest Need) – Christchurch’s Earthquake in Sept. 2010. The 7.1 earthquake lasted 58 seconds. To date, there have been more than 3,568 aftershocks and there are at least 161,000 insurance claims outstanding. I was dumbfounded that so many of Christchurch’s main streets and buildings are still blocked off by fences more than 4 months after the quake hit. Most of the buildings that were damaged are still standing, but just barely, since the lime that held the masonry in place has fallen away. Reconstruction continues slowly.
ENJOY (Extra Fun) – Hiking the Milford Trek. Known as the “Finest Walk in the World,” the splendor of the Milford Trek is undeniable. While it was a super fun experience, it’s wise to know what you’re getting into. Read all about “The 5 Things you Need to Know Before you Hike the Milford Trek” on Travelated (where I have just signed on as a regular contributor – yippee!)
Any one ever been to New Zealand’s South Island? Write in and tell us about your experiences!
Erin Michelson is a social entrepreneur and world traveler. A self-styled Adventure Philanthropist, Erin is embarking on a 2-year global giving adventure called Erin Goes Global. Starting in Fiji on New Year’s Day 2011, Erin Michelson will travel to more than 70 counties on 7 continents during 2011-2012. Along the way, Erin will be volunteering with global non-profit organizations, including building wells in Uganda and tutoring young girls in Bangladeshi boat villages. She’s donated $25,000 and is holding monthly polls to see which worthy nonprofits receive the grants! You can follow Erin’s living and giving adventures at www.GoErinGo.com and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/GoErinGo