Road Trip: New Zealand
Puddle jumper Auckland to Nelson, New Zealand
If you peer closely through the propeller of this puddle jumper from Auckland to Nelson, you'll see Mount Taranaki volcano. This was the backdrop for the movie The Last Samurai due to its resemblance to Mount Fuji.

Road Trip: New Zealand

By Sarah Forst

New Zealand's car ownership rate is one of the highest in the world.  The country is spread out between two islands, astutely named North and South.  While there is one railway system connecting six cities and multiple bus routes, most transportation is by car; cars that we don't tend to get here in the United States.  Cars that must be driven on the opposite side of the road. Sounds fun, right?  Ok, so maybe I really wanted to visit NZ to debunk the myth perpetuated by the Coriolis Effect: toilets and drains spin counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere, clockwise in the north. Spoiler alert- this effect is too small and toilet and drain design has a more significant impact.  Back to the trip…

Traveling across Planet Earth is no easy feat.  It requires multiple forms of transportation (and ID), a few anatomical shakedowns, and caffeine, pills, or liquor to either make you pass out or stay awake. There's also something about digging a hole or using various methods besides teleportation to transport yourself on an antipodean trip that also transforms your digestive system into a knot any Boy Scout would be proud of.  


San Francisco muralSan Fran mural
The Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco is known for some pretty psychadelic murals.  I wonder why…Was that you parked between the green and beige monsters and the five-eyed demon with three kids?


It's the old planes, trains, and automobiles story going from the East Coast to New Zealand.  Town car to the airport, three flight segments (PHL ? SFO ? AKL ? NSN), broken up by a 10 hour stopover in San Francisco that also included a few trips on BART and a bus ride to some bars- I prefer drinking to deal with long flights. I arrive in Nelson, New Zealand 2 days after I left, fully convinced I just chased Wednesday around the globe, missing it entirely.  I take a taxi to the hotel. 

Nelson, New Zealand intersection
Nelson is a pedestrian friendly city.  The streets are well marked, it's not very busy, and crosswalks are equipped with those funny sounding bird calls for blind pedestrians. Walker's paradise- until I turned the corner and stumbled into an active construction area; not guys with a few jackhammers, but front end loaders moving freshly dug terrain.  Even cars were driving through!  This reminded me of a time I was enjoying a Belgian beer at a Brussels café and watched a crane lift a 2 ton support beam over my head.  Ironically, the café was named Mort Subite (“Sudden Death”)…


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