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Eco-tourism « Previous | |Next »
March 30, 2009

I'm in the Paparoa National Park in the West Coast of NZ, shortly to depart for Kahurangi National Park, further north.

I am in what could be called an internet cafe. You line up to access the one of the 5 computers paying by the hour, only to discover that two of the five PC's don't work, and the other three have problems. The one I'm on has problems with internet explorer---it crashes---and I cannot download Firefox. So I am on the margins of the global village. Barely connected.

This is largely bushwalking territory in what could be called wilderness areas---luxuriant coastal forest, limestone cliffs and canyons, caves and flowing rivers and creeks. There is water everywhere, even at the end of summer. I'm off the beaten global tourism circuit and have entered backbacker territory. The backpackers can be seen as the cutting edge of tourism in that they are opening new areas for tourism.

The national parks have been set up for eco-tourism and they want no other form, even though the West Coast economy is dependent on coal mining in and around Greymouth. Industrialization never happened on the West Coast of the South Island whilst the tourism appears to be run by the Department of Conservation. They are the ones providing the information to explore the wilderness.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:41 PM | | Comments (8)


Eh you should have gone to the Philippines. An internet café on every corner, average cost 50 cents an hour.

Sounds absolutely wonderful. Enjoy.
I'm envious.

I can feel for you having spent last week on a dial up connection. On the 2nd last holiday took my micro computer along and disconnected the supplied PC and connected my PC to the ethernet but then I wasn't carrying my home on my back.

Enjoy your holiday!

I'm back in Westport after exploring the Heaphy Track in north Westland ---the internet company is charging me $NZ 16.00 for 3 hours.

It's robbery!.

The West Coast is isolated and poorly served. It has given up logging native forests and gone for tourism instead --with govt help. But tourism depends on the internet for bookings.It has missed out on the big national broadband development---too isolated.

thw willderness is great. Not the connection to the internet. New Zealand plans to spend up to $1.5 billion of government capital over six years to accelerate the roll-out of a fibre-to-the-home network for New Zealand.

They need to. We tourists are being ripped off with wireless broadband in the caravan parks scattered around the South Island.

I once took a bunch of kids to the Red Centre [Uluru, Kata Tjuta et al] for a couple of weeks.On the last night we stayed in a place at Coober Pedy and were all having showers and I heard one kid say to another,
"I can watch TV tomorrow night.
Hey, we haven't watched any TV for 2 weeks".
Brief silence.
"I haven't missed it".
"Me neither" was the response.

I can understand that--I had 11 days in the wilderness without listening to the radio, watching tv, only glancing at newspapers and only having intermittent access to the internet.