Imagine a place where the constellations of stars above your head are different from those you have ever seen, where the night sky can glow with strange swirling lights, and where the cold of winter comes when summer arrives elsewhere. Imagine a land of volcanoes, jagged white-topped mountains, rivers of ice, deep forests of ancient trees, and dark caves where carnivorous grubs glow like stars to lure in their prey. This is a land torn apart by earthquakes, and surrounded by waters filled with giant sea creatures: its people once fierce warriors who worshipped mysterious spirits. This is not some fictional place- this is New Zealand.
With a tent and a backpack, Colin Skinner set off to explore the magical geography, wildlife and people that make the islands of New Zealand such a unique place. Isolated from other land masses for around 85 million years, the land is a 'Jurassic Ark', where animals and plants from the time of the dinosaurs have somehow survived. Ancient tree ferns, plants that produce spores rather than seeds, and primitive relatives of pine trees still grow in the forests. Among the unusual creatures that still live in New Zealand are flightless ground-dwelling birds, and ancient reptiles that have hardly evolved in the last 100 million years.
With this fantastic land as a back drop, Colin Skinner went off the beaten track to find the people and stories that have been shaped by what is around them. Travelling alone, and on foot, he stayed with Maori people and conservation workers, who are striving to protect the amazing land that is New Zealand. Walking through the heart of an active volcano, suffering near exposure on the windswept and rainy Desert Road, and debilitating food poisoning before crossing the Haast Pass to reach journey's end... all are part of the story.
photos at http://www.facebook.com/NewZealand1500milesonfoot