To my friends in Australia and New Zealand,
If you felt a disturbance in The Force earlier, blame my co-worker. She said a few things about you that weren’t true. I was there, though, to step up for you both. To set the record straight. To make your antipodean world clearer and more real … one person at a time.
You see, I overheard two co-workers talking about skydiving. One of them was talking about going to San Diego to skydive.
Being the tireless travel advocate I am, I said “If you really want to get into some adventure, go to New Zealand. It’s the place where adventure sports are born.”
Her reply: “No, all the animals there are dangerous.”
My cranium began to pound as if stuffed with tiny little heavy-metal drummers, all pounding their kits with no sense of restraint or good taste. I took a deep breath. I composed myself. And I explained.
#1, you’re thinking of Australia and its population of creatures that want to kill you. The salt-water croc, the taipei and the box jellyfish, to name a few. All New Zealand has are a bunch of flightless birds (which are more scared of you than you are of an Australian funnel web spider) and some possums. Even its many volcanoes have behaved themselves of late, aside from some frothing madness at Tongariro.
#2, before you even say it, New Zealand and Australia are not even that close to each other.
The response: “But they’re the same continent!”
Sigh. No, they are not. Australia is its own continent. Sydney is about 1,400 miles from Auckland. That’s nearly three hours for a commercial flights. Don’t believe me? Try MapsoftheWorld.com for confirmation. There, you’ll find out they’re not even on the same continental shelf.
I explained more … that Australia and New Zealand are part of the same regional of the world. That it;s called Oceania, and it also includes lots of the South Pacific and its islands and atolls.
I also said not to think of Australia and New Zealand as one two-week trip. You’ll barely scratch the surface with two weeks in either place – combine them, and you’ll barely see anything.
So, my Aussie and Kiwi friends, know that I had your back. I tried. It still took some convincing, especially the “continent” part. But I did everything possible.