We have a famous Chinese saying: “Better travel thousands of miles than read thousands of books”. I don’t know if this is the earliest promotion slogan of tourism in China but it still resonates in many’s hearts to this very day. During the Easter Holiday, I went on a trip to some major cities/towns (Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, Queenstown, Arrowtown and Wanaka) in New Zealand. Lucky for me, I have nice weathers all the way and I’ve learnt a lot (esp. good practices of Kiwis in different sectors in the tourism industry). In my post I will focus mainly on Christchurch, Wellington and Wanaka.
Figure 1: The Victoria Clock Tower, aka. the Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower by Suzanne Sun
I could imagine how beautiful Christchurch used to be before the big Earthquake, and how terrible the Earthquake was. The recovery is slow, but there is a silver lining: Christchurch government recognises the opportunities they have to build a more-sustainable city in this post-disaster time. Founded in 2005, Sustainable Ōtautahi Christchurch (SOC) is striving to make the local community and visitors aware of such opportunities, means and needs for achievement of long-term sustainability for the city after the big Quake by inviting a number of Professors, scholars, journalists,etc. from home and abroad to visit or do field trips in order to have more advices and angles for the city’s approach and work. They also communicate with the local citizens and visitors through newsletters and Web sources. When I browse their website yesterday, I found this very good educational link on their website explaining the urgent nature of the sustainability issue we face in the era.
Video: Our Renewable Future by Post Carbon Institute
I stayed at Dorset Backpackers during our stay in Christchurch and found their promotion of sustainability really informative. Dorset focuses mainly on reducing the use of energy, reducing waste and pollution, reducing water use and supporting the local community.
Figure 3: Photo taken in Dorset House Backpackers of the Environmental Policies by Suzanne Sun
Before I went there, I have no idea what’s the difference between Christchurch and the majority of the other NZ cities in water supply system. My stay there taught me that many NZ towns and cities get their water from rivers but Christchurch supplies the water for use by using wells and drawing from the artesian basin under the city. And the water is naturally filtered through gravel beds and sand laid down by glaciers and rivers during the formation of the Canterbury Plains, pure, clear and clean.
Figure 4: Christchurch’s water supply system by Christchurch City Council.
But now the quantity and quality of the water is dealing and the increasing demand placed the water supply under stress. I’ve found many notes in bathrooms, toilets, guest rooms and laundry rooms reminding us that there are things visitors can do to help conserve the precious water supply in Dorset, such as turing off the water tap when brushing teeth. And also how bottled water is environmentally and economically unnecessary for tourists in Christchurch (see figure 4).
Figure 4: Photo taken of a fun educational promotion of sustainability by Suzanne Sun
Our next stop is Wellington. And how much I LOVE IT! Friends kept warning me about the weird, gusty wind of Wellington before my journey but I had warm, sunny, cozy & lazy days there and there’s nothing stopping me from loving it. There is just a charm of this city that is beyond my words. Maybe because it has a lot of streets and places that remind me of Hong Kong and Guangzhou (China), like Cuba Street. Though the wind is not deemed by tourists as a good thing, certainly it makes Wellington well suited for wind energy.
Figure 5: The Brooklyn wind turbine on the hills above Wellington by Nition1
And the bus service in Wellington is also friendly and welcoming. The bus to-and-from airport (Route 91 and Route 11) is easily accessible from 6:35am to 9:25pm. Instructions are clear. Drivers are really really friendly and helpful. And the TVs on the bus show the whereabout of the bus on a map and there are reminders of the next bus stop (How lovely it would be if we have that in Dunedin for visitors!). Last but not least, the major bus stops have real-time-information (RTI) when a bus or train service is due to arrive at your stop and it’s more accurate than schedules because it is based on the actual locations of all buses and trains, which are constantly monitored by GPS. RTI also provide messages advising of planned service changes or major service disruptions, enabling passengers to change their travel plans if necessary.
Figure 6: A demonstration of the RTI in Wellington by NZ Transport Agency.
I stayed at Setup on Dixon for two nights in Wellington. And they have a “bath policy” which helps conserving water: the showers are set to be 7 minutes maximum and then they will automatically be shut down. I’m supportive of the practice but shouldn’t they give 1 or 2 minutes more to women? ;-( Anyway, wonder how “7-minutes-bath” came into shape, is there any scientific analysis involved? (asked but front desk reception apparently didn’t know about its design or origin).
“Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for life. Take him to the lakes and rivers of the Lake Wanaka region to fish and you’ll feed a lifelong obsession.” Inspired by this, me and friends went jet boat fishing on Lake Hāwea in Wanaka. That’s definitely one of the highlights of our trip. What really amazed me is the conversation I had with our guide (who is also the owner of the boat) and how environmentally conscious he is. We’ve discussed the sustainable policy of New Zealand and he shared with us his experience growing up on a farm, working in an orchard and finally starting his business with jet boat fishing. That afternoon we got teased by several big ones and they got away (six bites, not many, too windy I guess). We finally caught a rainbow trout before sunset (we brought it to a friend’s restaurant in Queenstown and cooked it, well, frankly speaking not so yummy, catching it brings much more fun).
Figure 7: A friend holding the rainbow trout, Wanaka by Suzanne Sun.
When I started my course at Poly I worried a lot about whether I’ll be able to catch up. My education prior to this has nothing to do with tourism. After half of the first semester I am feeling more confident at what I am studying and I get to enjoy tours and travels with a new perspective, and I owe this to the friendly and knowledgable teachers of the Poly and the lovely, helpful classmates. And I just want to say “thank you” to all of you for being part of my student life in New Zealand. Hope we will continue to blog about travelling experiences & continue to explore the world & and share with each other.
Some photos to share with you:
Figure 8: New Brighton Library / Te Kete Wānanga o Karoro, Christchurch by Suzanne Sun
Figure 9: Avon River in the Christchurch Botanic Garden by Suzanne Sun
Figure 10: Late afternoon @ Wellington Central Library by Suzanne Sun.
Figure 11: Lily pound in Lady Norwood Rose Garden, Wellington by Suzanne Sun.
Figure 12: Funny little face on timber near Camellia Valley, Wellington by Suzanne Sun.
Figure 13: Queenstown in Autumn by Suzanne Sun.
Figure 14: Lookout from the Peninsula in Queenstown by Suzanne Sun.
Figure 15: Sky Tower in Auckland by my partner Lee Don.
Figure 16: Sunset, Wanaka by Suzanne Sun.
Figure 17: Cute little tile bricks along the pavement in Wanaka by Suzanne Sun.
And below is the travel plan I made for this trip 🙂
Christchurch City Council. (2015). http://www.ccc.govt.nz/homeliving/watersupply/ourwater/waterwise/index.aspx
New Zealand Transport Agency. (2015). http://www.nzta.govt.nz/planning/nltp-2012-2015/public-transport.html