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Friday, December 28, 2018

Weird Things about New Zealand

The sun doesn’t go down until after 10 o’clock at night here. 

I left my watch on Queensland time (which is 3 hours behind here) so I basically haven’t been able to eat for 9 days. 

Breakfast time is at 4 am and I was never hungry. Lunch is at 9 o’clock in the morning which is ridiculous and no-one can be expected to eat lunch at that time. Dinner time is at 4 o’clock in the afternoon when the sun is still beating down on my contrary, befuddled head so it is impossible to eat dinner. 

I don’t know how they don’t all die of starvation here. 

“Change your bloody watch, Pinky,” Scotto kept nagging me. But I refused because I was in a bad mood due to being so damn hungry all the time. 

They have no woodland creatures in New Zealand. 

The only small mammals here are feral possums which the entire country seems to find a disgusting state of affairs. Every tour guide we met, launched into a vigorous and demonstrative diatribe about why the possum is a malevolent, foul creature which must be slaughtered at every opportunity. 

According to all the outraged and emotional tour guides, the possum was introduced via Australia (bloody feral Australians) because they thought they might start a possum fur trade here. Possum fur never really took off for some reason. Now, you only see possum fur in souvenir shops in the guise of Willy Warmers or stitched around the collar of heinously priced Merino ponchos. 

Because the possums have no natural predators in New Zealand, the population quickly swelled to 80 million (according to one particularly incensed tour guide) or 30 million (according to another less irate bus driver). Since then, the entire Kiwi population has embarked on a resolute mission to execute any possum they encounter with the wild abandonment of a disgruntled serial killer. 

Whilst trudging through a forest in Glenorchy, the tour guide showed us a possum trap. It was a vicious thing which stabbed the possum through the brain with a steel rod (I told you they hate them). An American lady on the tour asked how many possums they usually caught. 

“Fifteen,” he replied sheepishly. 

“Fifteen a day?” queried the woman. 

“No. About fifteen a year,” he relinquished. 

No wonder there are 80/30 million possums here. They’re too smart for the kiwis. 

The New Zealand government brought in stoats in an attempt to reduce the possum population but funnily enough, the stoats began eating the birds instead of eating the possums. The stoats also bred like rabbits and had no predators, so the result was that New Zealand now enjoyed an over-population of possums AND stoats. 

I listened attentively every time the tour guides went on these indignant tirades and it was always on the tip of my tongue to chime in with, “Why don’t you just get some dingoes in to kill the stoats and possums?” 

“DUNGOES????” they would have replied. “The dungoes would eat all the ship!” 

Then I suppose they would have to import crocodiles to eat all the dungoes. 

In all our tramping around New Zealand, I saw not one possum. I didn’t see any stoats either which was disappointing and weird since they are allegedly profuse in numbers and very busy stealing eggs from unsuspecting endangered birds. 

“What’s a stoat?” Scotto anxiously whispered to me after listening to a particularly infuriated tour guide carrying on about the wickedness of stoats. I think he was worried a stoat was about to leap out of the shrubbery at him. 

I knew the answer because it was in a New Zealand crossword puzzle I’d completed the previous day. 

“A small carnivorous mammal of the weasel family native to both Eurasia and North America,” I replied knowledgeably. 

New Zealand crossword puzzles are also weird. They have all these questions about bloody New Zealand. Things like, ‘Which New Zealand marathon runner traversed a glacier wearing togs and jandals, in 1954?’ 

The scenery down here in the South Island is beyond belief. Even the Kiwis acknowledge this. They’ve given appropriated names to places, like “The Remarkables” and “Mt Aspiring”. 

“Isn’t that mountain remarkable?” I’d say to Scotto. 

“I’d call it aspiring!” Scotto would reply. 

“But what is it aspiring to be, Scotto? Is it aspiring to be remarkable? Do you think they meant ‘inspiring’?” 

Here are some photos of the beautiful scenery.

Have you been to New Zealand? 

What was your favourite part?

The Ice Bar!