There’s something strangely satisfying about Kaitaia. It’s the northern-most town in New Zealand and it’s big enough to have a Farmers and a Warehouse. The Far North is about the least prosperous part of New Zealand, but it never really gets cold there and it’s really pretty.
Sometimes the best travel writing is done by a resident of that country, but a stranger to those parts. It often combines to produce unique insight along with blunt honesty – as well as a little local humour.
That’s why I love it when Robyn Gallagher goes on these sorts of trips, 1960s AA travel guide under her arm. She’s great at conjuring up sketches of places that seem as exotic as they do familiar.
In her latest post, she visits a few places I visited on a 2002 trip to New Zealand. While on this trip, she tweeted about the amount of British tourists she came across, and I can well relate to that. There’s nothing more jarring when exploring a beautiful, remote place than disgruntled whinings in an accent not far from your own.
And, like Robyn, I too was a bit bemused by the Kauri museum. Descending a staircase carved into a hollowed-out tree is an experience I’ll not forget, sure. But a warehouse full of tourist tat (no matter how unique the materials used) is still a warehouse full of tourist tat, wherever it may be.