Archive for April, 2010

Happy Ayumi Meegan Day!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Today is International Ayumi Meegan Appreciation Day. I’m not quite sure which year it started on, but it’s been going for almost 30 years and always falls on April 20th.

Four of us on Mount Fuji
Ayumi, Paul, Tania and Craig atop My Fuji

Why? Well she’s cool that’s why. I first met Ayumi in 2007 in San Francisco but I’d been reading her blog for a long time before that. Every other day she shares a little bit of her perspective on the world and it makes great reading. She’s also a published author and very talented vocal musician as you can see in as she sings Ella Fitzgerald’s “How High the Moon”.

So go check out and AyumiMeegan.com and drop her a line, she’s one of the nicest bloggers I know with an amazing imagination and it’ll add a bit more sparkle into your life.

Google Street View Trikes in NZ [updated]

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Back in January Google announced that the trikes, which shoot footage for Google Street View where the cars can’t go, were about to start roaming the outback in search of interesting off-road places. They started at Taronga Zoo and held a public vote to choose the rest. Well that’s all fantastic if you’re interested in seeing Australia. And thousands millions of people are. But I happen to think that New Zealand has some pretty awesome things to show off too so I’m starting a list of places that the trikes should visit when they come here.

1: Otago Rail Trail

The most obvious starting point. 150kms of trail graded gently enough for the trains of yesteryear. The trail might be a bit rutted and bumpy so I hope they’ve given those trikes some good suspension to protect the equipment as well as the rider.

2: Wai-o-tapu

It’s an amazing “thermal wonderland” not far south of Rotorua and though it looks really good from the sky you really need to get in amongst it to show off some of New Zealand’s famous geothermal features.

3: The Luge

Whilst they’re down in Rotorua they should definitely pay a visit to The Luge. It’s a set of paved downhill tracks each as wide as a single lane road over looking the city. But don’t spend anytime looking down there because you need to pay attention to the corners and other riders as you hurtle down the hill on your three wheeled carts. This is my favourite man-made tourist attraction in NZ by far, and features in any good road trip. There’s one in Auckland too but you can see most of it from the motorway and it doesn’t look half as exciting as the Rotorua one.

4: Rangitoto Island

The jewel of the Hauraki Gulf is a volcano with a few unsealed roads. Right now they are only used by the D.O.C. workers and the pull-along tourist tractor that takes those that can’t walk to the summit. The last 100m or so is on wooden steps that the trike couldn’t traverse so they’ll need to carry it. Which should get them in good practice for…

5: The Tongariro Crossing

One of the world’s best day hikes, and there in lies the problem. If Google can get the Street View equipment down to a size where two people can carry it I’d gladly be one of the sherpas.

6: Viaduct Harbour

Often touted as ‘party’ central for things like The America’s Cup, the Rugby World Cup and really any event that Auckland hosts. I made a Real Place for it a while ago but I think it could do with the Street View treatment, ideally on a day when some really interesting big yachts are in.

7: Rainbow’s End

New Zealand’s biggest theme park may not stack up against the some of the ones in the recent UK update but that doesn’t stop it being the best one we’ve got. As you can see on the map there’s enough space to be worth exploring and I reckon putting the trikes on the race track would be fun too. If only they could make a splash-proof version for the log flume :-).

Any other suggestions?

Update

GEarthBlog.com has some speculation that StreetView might be heading indoors. If this is true then I’d add Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum to the list of places to document. I think GEarthBlog’s idea is more of documenting the collections in proper posed photo shoots rather than riding a trike down the halls, but I like the idea of riding around the museum late at night when all the other visitors have gone home.