Not Some Fantasy Land

Exploring The Catlins Coast

There is a place I used to go as child where dolphins surfed perfect barrelling waves, rare penguins nested above a stone forest, and from the same spot you could watch the sun rise and the sun set over the ocean. This was not some fantasy land of my own imagining, this place is The Catlins Coast in the far south of the South Island.

Running Hot and Cold

The pleasure of a cold swim after a day in the outdoors

For ten years I never set foot in a sauna. An early attempt had almost resulted in disaster. It took place in a cheap motel, the sauna made from flimsy yellow fibreglass - two friends were taking bets as to who could stand it the longest. After what seemed like hours but was probably only a few minutes I couldn’t take it any longer. My head swirled, I couldn’t breath and I felt nauseous.

The Frog and the Bunny Rabbit

An excerpt from John Summers' new book

We are 18-wheeler-to-Dargaville excited about John Summers' new book of creative non-fiction that's coming out this week. John is an editor, co-founder and regular contributor for Up Country.

Crimson Tide

The pohutukawa's image problem

Labelled in San Francisco as a ‘curse’ where its ‘lazy’ roots have infiltrated sewer systems and buckled sidewalks, the pohutukawa, like many Kiwis on their O.E., can behave a little badly.

A Cruel Trick

Hunting possums

An invader and a hated pest, the possum is still, for better but mostly for worse, a feature of the bush. Ravaging our trees and native birds, and terrifying trampers who step out into the dark for a midnight dunny visit.

Millionaire’s Salad

On not eating the nikau palm

Wellington lost one of its famous sons this year, with, architect, Sir Ian Athfield bidding farewell at the age of 74. Eulogies spoke of his buildings changing the face of Wellington, but I suspect that for most locals it’s not a whole building that they’d associate with Athfield, just a specific part: the structural-support pillars of the city library.

The Big Daddy

Snorkelling at Goat Island Marine Reserve

The rental guy held his arms wide. ‘A real big daddy’ he said and pointed toward the western end of the island. I had promised my brother-in-law that his first snorkelling adventure in New Zealand would be spectacular. A diver’s paradise I said, clear water and right near the beach, fish eating right of your hand.

Dodging the New Zealand Death

Learning not to cross a river

We scrambled down from the track and found ourselves on the banks of a river. We’d crossed a few rivers before, but this was a first. It looked almost waist high, and was flowing swiftly enough to make us think twice about what we were doing. None of us had been tramping long. We looked at it from different points, trying to make observations but lacking any real insight.

Big Tree Hugging

Hunting for an Akatarawa antique

Take the only tree that's left
And stuff it up the hole in your culture

Leonard Cohen, ‘The Future’

True North

Why everyone should own a compass

My first compass came courtesy of Santa, sometime in the late 1980’s. It was a flat plastic kind with ruler marks on the base, a liquid filled bezel and a strange rotating hand with a mind of it’s own. It also had a magnifying lens built in and I remember being more enthused by inspecting the texture of the carpet in close up and spinning the dial than by anything the needle did.


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