Our bus driver, perky and awake even at our 5.30am pickup, greeted each one of us with a big friendly smile as we boarded – even if some of us answered with a half-hearted “hey”, meaning “I need coffee before I can be as perky as you are, but thanks”. Myself included. We’ve just returned from two wonderful weeks in the land of the long white cloud, and we’re still buzzing from it.
Making arrangements to our 19.5km Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park, two words reigned supreme on this bus, echoed multiple times by our favourite perky driver: sweet as. As popularised by the now infamous “Beached Az” whale video, “[adjective goes here] + as” is used at will. ”That’s wicked as!”, “Tasty as!”. Easy as.
[Disclaimer to avoid any backlash from Kiwi readers: I don't proclaim to be an expert on New Zealand, and corrections and extensions are welcome. 15 days of action-packed activity and keen eavesdropping were the inspiration for this post. =) )
Those are some sweet-as jandles eh, do you use them for tramping? (Translation below)
Even after two full weeks of the Kiwi accent and learning many-a-new-word, I couldn’t get enough of it. Even my wife began to grow tired of the grin on my face. Here are some loveable translations I learned along the way:
Sweet as: No worries, no problem, easy done.
Eh?, at the end of a sentence: Sometimes asking for your agreement, but often just as statement with a friendly undertone. ”What time do we need to be there?” “Oh, about 9am should be fine eh.” = Be there at 9am.
Jandals: To Australians, jandals means thongs. To North American folks, flip-flops.
Tramping: Hiking, trekking, or any activities involving some feet, shoes and a track of some sort. Walking poles, sunscreen and clothes optional.
We were fortunate to pack in more than a few activities into our 15 day adventure, and this helped me tick off some more items from my list of Big Ambitions. New Zealand has no shortage of places to throw yourself off, tracks to go tramping (see above) and myriad other fantastic activities. Below is a snapshot of what we did. Two years ago I wouldn’t even get on the smallest, wimpiest ride at Luna Park (Melbourne’s lame amusement park), and now I’m getting kicks out of jumping off things, what happened to me?
- Paragliding with GForce in Queenstown; Visited Doubtful Sound; The Nevis Swing (the world’s highest), a 70M freefall and 340M swing… twice; Helihike on Franz-Josef Glacier; Caving and making friends with glow worms at Waitomo Caves; and the 19.5km Tongariro Alpine crossing, possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Safe to say, we loved New Zealand, and can’t wait to go back. Eh?
If you’re interested, you can check out more of the photos on Flickr here. Warning: some of the poses I’m doing in these photos are ridiculous.
Question: Any fantastic New Zealand phrases you’ve heard, or want to take revenge and offer some silly phrases coined by us Aussies? Or have you found any killer adventure activities worth sharing? Would love to hear in the comments.
Photo credit: Bluestarink (the kiwi image up top.. not the paragliding, that’s mine)