Tag Archives: Viaduct Harbour

Australia vs New Zealand

There is a long-standing rivalry between Australia and New Zealand that I am sure goes deeper than if you play AFL or Rugby.

The first time I visited Auckland, I couldn’t help but see similarities between Viaduct Harbour and Sydney Harbour. Both cities also have tall viewing towers and a park called the Domain. I thought Auckland was basically Sydney, about 20 years ago.

Many New Zealanders actually come to Sydney to work for a while, and it was through these people that I learnt what Pinky bars were and discovered the differences in our accents.

Of course, you should never compare countries, but it’s human nature to do so.

They have kiwi’s and we have kangaroos. We have the better beaches, but they have the better snow. Historically, the New Zealander relationship with their native culture- the Maori’s- has been much more progressive than our relationship with the Aboriginals. Part of the New Zealand national anthem is sung in Maori and the haka is performed before rugby games.

They have Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and we have Hunter Valley Semillon. We have desert and they have glaciers. Australia was a well-known filming destination for movies such as The Matrix, but it seems like New Zealand has now cornered the market with productions like The Hobbit.

Australians are often accused for taking credit for New Zealand talent, such as Crowded House and Russell Crowe; but can we help it if global perception naturally attributes these to Australia?

After recently exploring more of New Zealand, I have fallen in love with the city of windy Wellington and the small town of Akaroa. Driving around the South Island, I was struck by the natural beauty of the country, and of the west coast in particular which reminded me so much of the west coast of Canada.

I would love to go back and explore Milford Sound and Mt Cook.

I hope that the rivalry between Australia and New Zealand is just skin deep. Personally, I like both countries and can see the advantages of each culture. Isn’t it time we all just got along?

Related posts: People vs Place, It’s all in the Attitude

New Zealand, 2004

It was a last minute decision to go to New Zealand for Christmas with my friend who had family to visit there. The chance to visit a new country was too hard to resist and I figured my family wouldn’t mind as I had been overseas for Christmas before.

We landed in Auckland on Christmas Eve and it was dead. I expected it to be one of the most happening nights of the year, but I was wrong. Auckland turned out to be a pretty harbour city like Sydney, but about 20 years behind!

I saw the town hall, went up the Sky Tower and went to Mission Bay. Viaduct harbour was definitely the highlight for me as it had lots of waterfront bars and restaurants to enjoy with a view of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

We drove to Rotorua which was smelly due to the thermal springs, but you got used to it after a while. We visited Whakarewarewa thermal village which had the Te Aronui a Rua Maori cultural centre. We saw the Nga Mokai Akoko mud pool and the beautifully blue coloured Waiparu hot pool. The best bit was when the Pohutu Geyser sprayed water high into the air.

The next day we went to Lake Rotowhero which is warmed by thermal activity and the enormous Lake Rotorua. We caught the Skyline Rotorua gondola to the top of a Mount Ngongotaha and had a scary luge ride back down.

There were lots of sheep in green fields to be seen on the drive back to Auckland to catch our flight home. On the way, I went clay bird shooting for the one and only time I have ever shot a gun. It was harder than I thought and I got a strange muscle injury in my right shoulder that served as a reminder of my trip until it was cured by an acupuncturist a few years later.

Related posts: Canada 1997-1988, India 1987-1988, Part 1: The Road South