Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Waitangi Day 2007

We decided to celebrate Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s national holiday, by taking the Taieri Gorge Railway. It was described in a guidebook as one of the most dramatic train rides in the world. It departs from the Dunedin Train station, New Zealand's most photographed building, and travels 60 km to Pukerangi. (Maori for Hill of Heaven). It was a surprisingly enjoyable outing. At one point, we were all invited to get off the train and walk across a trestle bridge. What was remarkable was the casual attitude towards security and liability. Somehow, I just can’t imagine an American company, or even a Canadian railway operator allowing the passengers, including some young children, to get off a train, walk along the tracks across a bridge with a railing on just one side, and then stand by the tracks while the train approached. The scenery was quite magnificent, and having worked on the planning of Furry Creek, I kept seeing wonderful sites for future golf course communities! On a more serious note, one could only marvel at the ingenuity and bravery of the engineers and construction workers who built train lines like this around the world in the 19th century.

Following the train ride, we had lunch at a downtown outdoor cafĂ©. In keeping with the local practice in NZ and Australia, we paid an extra 20% on the bill, to cover the additional staffing costs since it was a national holiday. Now there’s an idea for Peter Horwood at Bridges! We then set off for what had to be one of the most dramatic drives of our life, along the Otaga Peninsula High Road, in search of penguins and flying albatrosses. I have always been fascinated with albatrosses since I saw one of Neil Kornfeld’s golfing partners almost get one on the 18th hole at Richmond Golf and Country Club. These were not quite as impressive, but they did put on a good show, with their three metre wing span, and ability to soar with relatively little wing movement. But they do need wind to get started. And apparently they mate for life, which seems silly for a bird that can travel over 500 km a day.

As for the road, it made the Sea to Sky highway feel like Highway 1 in from Chilliwack. I couldn’t believe the cars, and large tour busses would manage to negotiate every turn, and pass one another, without getting into an accident, or falling off the road. We were both queasy for much of the drive. On the trip back, we took the low road, which hugs the edge of the water. With the sun setting, it was quite magnificent, and much less terrifying.
We returned home to 12 Royal Terrace for yet another fabulous meal. This time it was smoked salmon, artichoke, venison, fresh berries and cream. I believe everything, except for the salmon and deer came from the garden.
We spent the evening trying to understand why many retired people, and those on holiday, often feel guilty when they are not doing something ‘productive’. It’s certainly true in my case. But it’s getting easier!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've gone ahead and added a backlink back to your web site from one of my clientele requesting it. I have used your website URL: and blog title: Blogger: Michael Geller's Blog to make sure that you get the
correct anchor text. If you woud like to see where your link has been
placed, please contact me at: francine_cress@yahoo.
com. Thank you

Have a look at my page ... washington post miley cyrus workout gear
my webpage :: fitness tracker website