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By the time the southern summer rolled around in 2011 I'd had enough of it. Every year overseas friends visit places in my own country I've never seen and rave about how beautiful and unspoiled they are - well, I wasn't going to take it any more. 
So I saved up my days off and in February 2012 spent three weeks ticking off a few places in southern New Zealand which had long been on my bucket list: Our southernmost permanently inhabited island, Stewart Island/Rakiura; the three-day Hump Ridge walk near Tuatapere in Southland, and the justly famous Kepler Track in Fordland's Kepler Mountains.
And on the way I found plenty of things I hadn't expected, like some of the best hitch-hiking I've experienced, surprisingly good beer, New Zealand's oldest virgin, a forest bird whose cuteness hides a taste for human blood, a place where tree leaves serve as ferry tickets, a replica North Korean prison camp on a mountain top, and a town library the size of a cupboard. Oddly, there was also a door to nowhere in the middle of a forest, two days' walk from the nearest town. I'm still not sure what that was about.
All things going well I'll head back in 2013 and cross a few more places off my bucket list...


Copyright Peter de Graaf 2012 : Ramblings designed and built by Peter de Graaf : Last updated July 2012