Wednesday 3 June 2020

"Don't leave town...

... before you've seen the country". That was the slogan for a NZ Tourism campaign that ran in the '80s - which passed me by, actually, because I had already breezed off out of town by then, and was living overseas throughout that decade, plus. I had, though, seen much of the country before I left, and popped back a few times over those years to see even more of it, including three months in a caravan touring from top to bottom, literally. So I felt pretty smug, although I was aware that there were still plenty of bits I hadn't visited.
Since I came back home to live, I've been working on that, but even now there are places left to see - Newzild only looks small, the country's actually the same size as the UK, and it's crammed full of almost every kind of desirable scenery you could name - and now that our borders are closed, it seems a pretty good time to fill in the gaps. The Tourist Board certainly thinks so, and is encouraging everyone to get out and support the businesses around the country that are desperately missing all the overseas tourists who normally swarm continuously over the country.
The domestic market has always been the mainstay, though, so what with that, and national pride, independence and mobility being right up there these days, I was surprised by what I heard, eavesdropping on three young women while I was out walking this morning. Well, striding, actually - they came up behind me and I was damned if I was going to be overtaken. Anyway, they were in their late 20s and chattering about places they'd never been to, like Gisborne and - this was pretty shattering - the South Island!
I thought it was an old cliché that Aucklanders were more likely to have been to Sydney than the South Island, and that in these enlightened times, with all the publicity about the scenery down there, the adventure, the food, the wine, there was no way Kiwis would allow themselves to miss out on all that. But apparently not, sigh.
As a Mainlander myself, I am naturally offended, and also minded to sneer at their stupid self-deprivation. Good grief, pre-Covid, you could get Air NZ special fares to Queenstown for absolute peanuts! And crossing the often challenging Cook Strait on the ferry is a rite of passage for any true-blue Kiwi. Granted, the North Island has some good bits - Rotorua, Maori culture, the Bay of Islands, assorted volcanoes - but for real gobsmacking scenery, the South Island knocks it into a cocked hat, I reckon. How crazy that it takes a global pandemic to get Aucklanders to go there.

1 comment:

the queen said...

The world is envious of NZ. You should be smug.


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