Helen OakesKiwis love to travel and most of us take the plunge and visit our neighbours Over The Ditch in Australia when we take our first OE or Overseas Experience. It is almost like a right of passage for kiwis to visit Australia and vice versa. Some kiwis visit Australia before they have seen much of their own country and to be honest I fell into that category.

As New Zealanders we like to feel we have left the nest and taken our first steps into the world of travel. Australia is so like New Zealand so it is a safe place and a fairly familiar place to start our journey and most of us take this initial travel adventure first.

When we take that first step overseas we often refer to going ‘over the ditch’. The ditch is favourably known as the Tasman Sea that separates New Zealand and Australia. The true origin of this term isn’t clear but all antipodeans use this phrase commonly. It can also be said as ‘across the pond’, ‘crossing the ditch’ or ‘over the ditch’. All these terms are said interchangeably. Across the pond is an analogy that refers to the Tasman Sea being tiny compared to other massive oceans.

The ‘Ditch’ or Tasman Sea is a body of water that adventurers want to cross. It was first rowed solo in 1977 then there was an ill fated journey by Andrew McAuley who was lost at sea in February 2007 trying to kayak from Australia to New Zealand. Thirty years later two men known as Cas and Jonesy became the next to achieve the feat. This expedition holds the record for the longest double kayak crossing over the ditch.

If you hear a New Zealander or Australian talking about going over the ditch you will understand what they mean. The journey is really quite short. We hop on a plane and fly over the ditch all in a total of around 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

As a photographer I’ve always had a passion for creative art and recently I have started to feature some Kiwiana Digital Prints with sayings, words, phrases and colloquialisms in my Etsy store.

If you’re a home sick Kiwi living abroad, my artwork may just be an ideal solution for a dose of New Zealand artwork to decorate your home or office.

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