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March 2013
Winter mountains near Hammerfest
On a recent trip to Queenstown
in the southern part of NZ I was
thinking about what incredible
distance away from home I am.
I grew up inside the Arctic Circle
of North Norway and my
brother, after a stint in the
southern part of the country,
moved up to Hammerfest.
Hammerfest often lays claim to being the northernmost town in the world, located at the very top of the European
continent, near North Cape. My brother Knut works there as a teacher and is attracted by the remoteness and the
readily access to magnificent nature. Fishing, year round, being the name of his game. Now just before Easter that
means cross-country skiing up into the winter mountains to fish on top of the frozen lakes. This is a normal activity all
over the northern parts of the Nordic countries and something I also grew up doing.
In July last year Knut, our sister Heidi (who lives in
the south of Norway), my wife Hayley and I spent a
weekend in Tromsø. Part of the reason was to do a
pub crawl in "the Paris of the north", North Norway's
biggest town, including at the brewery pub Olhallen
of the world's northernmost brewery Mack.
To northern Europe the Australasian continent is
the Antipode. When Knut this Easter is ice fishing in
Hammerfest at 70° 40' North, 23° 41' East, only
2159 km from the North Pole, I will be fishing in the
Pacific on the New Zealand east coast Whangarei.
When I visited Queenstown earlier this month that was on 45° 02' South, 168° 40' East, with a distance of 5014 km to
the South Pole. Considering it's a distance of approx 20 000 km from the North to the South Pole, it is as near poles
apart as almost possible, without actually being there. In fact the Antipode of Hammerfest is the Chatham Islands 680 km
south-east of New Zealand. Interestingly, the earth's circumference around the equator is slightly further than around
the poles, so the Antipode of Queenstown is the Galicia district in the north-western corner of Spain, near Portugal.
The Antipode of Whangarei is Tangier, Morocco at a splendid distance of 19 932 km!
Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu and Blue Cod slivers on the edge of the lake, accompanied by a Queenstown steam brew,
a long way from the Mack beer and the ice fishing inside the Arctic Circle. From a biased point of view; Mack is best !