Northern Explorer

This is the name of the train from Auckland to Wellington. It is a wonderful journey. By the time I arrived in Wellington last night I was too tired to write my blog, so it is late. However, since you are reading it in every time zone around the world I am sure you will cope!

Perhaps I should start by doing a quick summary of the landscapers over the several hundreds of miles. It is like a description of how the social geography works.

City centre, industrial suburbs, residential suburbs, market gardening and vegetables, wine growing, pastoral (sheep and dairy), forestry, high remote mountains, forestry, pastoral, wine, market gardening, residential suburbs, industrial suburbs, City centre.

The point is that as you move out of the main cities and back into the next one there is a certain symmetry about how the land is used, and that is not that different the world over.

The train journey between Auckland and Wellington is about 11 hours long. The train manager started with a range of announcements. I liked the following: There is no WiFi on board but we do have our own version of Windows Live. To log on, put your devices away and turn your heads to the left and to the right. As you look out of the windows you will see life!

We left Auckland keeping the harbour and other waterways nearby. The place where I stayed last week was a half an hour drive north of the City centre. South of the City the suburbs stretch 50Km. It is the largest City in NZ and as they don’t like apartment living the geographical spread of the City is greater than some UK cities of lower population.

We passed through a great range of different kinds of countryside. The sun was shining to start with and then it rained for a lot of the day. This made taking pictures a bit tricky. Once it rains the camera focuses on the raindrops instead of the view!

High in the mountains there are vast viaducts and amazing engineering feats to get the train tracks through the terrain. The famous spiral is in this picture which, along with the viaduct, is in fact a postcard I photographed to give you an idea. We passed isolated rural communities and vast mountains and fields.

As the journey drew to a close the sun set over the fields, and as we drew into Wellington, over the sea.

Throughout the journey there is access to a pre-recorded commentary, which included lots of examples of: if you look to your left on a clear day… Not a lot to see in the distance on a wet day, but all it all it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

I am now in Wellington, tidying up my notes for two addresses I am giving today at the Cathedral here.

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