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New Zealand December 2008

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New Zealand December 2008 - Page Text Content

S: New Zealand 2008

BC: Kia Ora New Zealand

FC: New Zealand December 2008 Andrea Murphy, Shilpa Vyas, KrisTiki Wheeler

1: Haere mai, Welcome to New Zealand! KLW: This is by far my most favorite country I've ever visited. The north island is fantastic with lots of Maori culture (Polynesian natives, like Hawaii!) and lush green Irish looking hills. Not to mention some fab green-lip oysters! This book is the continuation of the trip started in Nov2008 with the arrival of Shilpa, Noopur, and Andrea to Sydney for a whirlwind Australia tour. (see previous book 'Boxing with Roos around Australia'). Noopur had just planned for a 15 day travel around Australia. When I found out that both Andrea and Shilpa could stay for an extended NZ trip, i rearranged my flights to include them and asked if they'd join me on a driving tour of South Island. We late night/early morning start on the 31Nov08, as we had just arrived back in Sydney on the 30th, stayed up getting ready for this flight, and said goodbye to Noopur at the house. We then hopped a car towards the airport at some ungodly hour of 4am or something rather awful! (Who planned this flight???--oh, i guess that was ME!...It's so lovely in the early am!) ;-D The flight to NZ was non-eventful, a bit bumpy and all you can see is the truly long white cloud (which is what the Maori call NewZealand: Aotearoa.) Oh and don't think we forgot about Noopur! I left her to the very fun and capable hands of Sameena. My friend from Vodafone, she was planning on traveling back to India soon (Yep, Noopur's from India..things in common!-- or even might they know each other? *tee hee*) They ended up going shopping at Paddy's and taking Noopur to the airport in time for her flight home. We miss you already, Noopur! Our plans were still a bit of a whirlwind. As none of us had researched Christchurch, South Island, we just went downtown, parked, and had a walk around. I must say..for a Sunday, it's REALLY DEAD downtown! We managed to find a Swiss restaurant with some good food and a dog inside. Found the "i" center (Tourist center) and Viola! Kristi was a happy girl because of the StarBucks attached to it! We had hotel reservations 1.5 hours away in Akaroa. But before that, I had arranged for us to have dinner/ Maori dancing demo at Kotane. Which was nice, as they also have a Kiwi rehab center attached! (Kiwi, the bird, not the New Zealander!) | December 2008 Andrea Murphy, Shilpa Vyas, KrisTiki Wheeler | Haere Mai! (Welcome!) | Aotearoa

2: SV: Adventures in South Island, New Zealand! Relatively light day as we had an early start leaving Sydney to CHC. After a quick walk around the town we headed towards a Maori exhibit and kiwi center. Did you know New Zealander's consider possums to be vermin and running them over is encouraged??! So Dame Edna was NOT calling us a cute animal! :O | Kea on tour guides head. Hope she has food! | Haere Mai, Kotane & Christchurch | 30 November 2008 | KLW Useless facts: This is a Kea, I was thinking great personable parrot, pretty colors, lots of personality...until someone told me the following: Kea's are shot by sheep farmers because they are known to sit on top of the back of a sheep, pecking at it and eating the meat while the sheep is still alive. Shoot'm, I say! | There once was a possum called Jerry, Who fell out of an overgrown cherry, And though he was fat, He didn't go splat, Instead he went boing on his belly.

3: Dances with Poi Balls... | AJM: 4am, Wakey Wakey...Noopur was leaving the pack that day and was left behind. :( To the airport in Sydney via a different driver than the day before. Andrea, Kris & Shilpa all had different seats in different rows on the plane. Andrea watched Mama Mia, finally! Now she can sing along! Christchurch was cloudy. We rented our car from Juicy and it had so many dents that Kristi marked up the copy of the inspection sheet and it looked like a child had scribbled on it. :) We headed to the town square and found a Starbucks. There was a large square and I'm forgetting what the monument was in the middle...a big candle? The Starbucks was right next to the information center so we perused things to accomplish and purchased some tickets to the Maori show. We had lunch at a Swiss place with a dog inside who was begging for snacks. It would shake all pitiful like, and I'm sure that worked on lots of other people. He did not look so skinny so we did not feed him. We headed to Willow Bank for the Maori show, hokey pokey dancing, and Kiwi hunting. Dinner was included, but not so good. We headed to Akaroa and it was dark, raining, and a curvy road that was either on a bluff or an ocean bluff, both of which were scary! KLW: I thought downtown CHC was DEAD on a Sunday! Willow Bank was a good start to NZ trip, as it gave us the "Maori culture and Gauranteed Kiwi sightings". Can't beat 7 or 8 naked men dancing and siinging live! I just LOVE the Haka...the NZ rugby teams all do the Haka before a game. It's fantastic--they roll their eyes out and stick their tongues out--even today they look terrifying! Hate to meet them on a battle field!

4: KLWs Useless Facts: Maori History--The Beginning: Polynesian mythology, people, the elements and every aspect of nature are descended from the one primal pair, the Sky Father and the Earth Mother. It was for this reason that the ancient Maori identified themselves so closely with nature. Before felling a tree (so slaying a child of Tane Mahuta, god of the forest) they would placate the spirits. Searching for food they would not speak of their purpose for fear that the prey might hear and make good its escape. In the beginning there was only darkness, Te Ponui, Te Poroa (the Great Night, the Long Night). At last, in the void of empty space, a glow appeared, the Moon and the sun sprang forth and the heavens were made light. Then did Rangi (the Sky Father) live with Papa (The Earth Mother), but as the two clung together their offspring lived in darkness. The Sky lay upon the Earth, and light had not yet come between them. Their children were vexed that they could not see, and argued among themselves as to how night and day might be made manifest. The fierce Tumatauenga (god of war) urged that they kill their parents, but Tane Mahuta (god of the forests) counseled that they separate their father Rangi from their Mother Papa and in that way achieve their object. Tane's wisdom prevailed and in turn each of the children struggled mightily to prise the Sky from the Earth. Rongo (god of cultivated food) and Tangaroa (god of the sea) did all they could, and the belligerent Tumatauenga cut and hacked. But to no avail. Finally it was Tane Mahuta who by thrusting his mighty feet gradually lifted the anguished Rangi away from the agonized Papa. So was night distinguished from day. Heartbroken, Rangi shed an immense quantity of tears, so much so that the oceans were formed. Tawhiri (god of wind and storm), who had opposed his brothers in the venture, was fearful that Papa would become too beautiful, and followed his father to the realm above. From there he swept down in fury to lash the trees of Tane Mahuta until, uprooted, they fell in disarray. Tawhiri then turned his rage on Tangaroa (god of the sea) who sought refuge in the depths of the ocean. But as Tangaroa fled his many grandchildern had deserted him and were sheltering in the forests. So it is that to this day the sea is eating into the land, slowly eroding it and hoping that in time the forests will fall and Tangaroa will be reunited with his offspring. The Creation of Woman: When the participants lay exhausted and peace at last descended, Tane Mahuta fashioned from clay the body of a woman and breathed life into her nostrils. She became Hine-hauone (the earth-formed maid) and bore Tane Mahuta a daughter, Hine-titama (the Dawn Maid) who in time also bore daughters to Tane. But she was unaware of her father's identity. When she found out he was the Tane she thought was her husband, she was overwhelmed with shame. She left the world of light, Te Ao, and moved to Te Po, the world below where she is known as Hinenui-te-Po (Great Hine the Night).

5: KLWs Useless Facts: Kiwi: These birds belong to the order Apterygiformes which occur only in New Zealand. With moas they are among the most ancient birds and have been present in New Zealand since before the end of the Cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago. Both kiwis and moas are Ratite birds -- possessing no keel on the breastbone, and are unable to fly. No extinct species of kiwi is known. The three recent species are: the common kiwi and consists of 3 races. One in the North, South, and Stewart Islands (little spotted kiwi). Kiwi stand about a foot high and have a long tapering and flexible bill, longer in the female than in the male, with nostrils at its tip. Their feathers are loose, shaggy, and rather hairlike. Their color is brown or greyish with dark streaks or spots. The plumage of the sexes is alike, there is no tail. Legs and toes are very powerful. The call of the male is a plaintive disyllabic shreak of kee-wee; that of the female a lower hoarser cry. Nests are made in crevices or burrows, and the clutch is of one or two white eggs, each weighing about a pound. These are the largest eggs, proportionately, of any bird. Kiwis are semi-nocturnal, inhabit forest and semi-pastoral lands. Though commonly believed to be a rare and verging on extinction, they are in fact still present in fair numbers in the large expanses of native forest. They eat worms, grubs, insects, and berries. It is assumed that in kiwis the sense of smell is important in finding food. In all other birds the olfactory sense is poorly developed. Tangata whenua: This term means simply 'the people of the land', or the people already living in a particular place. It can be used to refer to those Polynesians already established in a part of New Zealand when others arrived here, but the term is currently politically loaded, with modern Maori, who have, without exception, between one and fifteen European ancestors out of sixteen, claiming to be the tangata whenua of New Zealand while kiwi's of European origin are regarded as some kind of recent, illigitimate interlopers. The reality is that the Maori slaughtered the tangata whenua at least in teh Chatham Islands (the moriori) and preceded the pakeha in settling New Zealand by about 470 years. Prior to 1280AD, there is no evidence of humans on New Zealand. The Archaic Maori, or Moa Hunter, thrived during the Archaic phase of New Zealand. Where these people came with simple culture and when remains a mystery. They clearly originated in Polynesia, but little of their traditions survived down to European times. The Archaic Maori was forced after the decline of the Moa to fishing, fowling and tool-making. This led to farming which ended the nomadic tribal life and led to established villages--enter the age of Classic Maori. They introduced kumera to the islands and raised as a food crop.

6: SV: The day started with a wake-up call in Akaroa. After a quick breakfast we headed towards the coast as we had an 11am swimming with dolphins. :) The water was really cold at around 12C (40F), but after awhile you kind of got used to it. | Haere mai, Akaroa... | 1 December 2008 | The Hector's Dolphins are quite rare so we were not allowed to touch them. They are also smaller than a bottlenose, like Flipper. They would swim up to us really fast and spin circles around us to "play". It was amazing to experience. | AJM: "How do they do that?! These coffees are so pretty!" | AJM: Woke up in Akaroa in our nice little Bungalow with the heated bed. We drove down to the picturesque little town (had a Scotland feel to it, I thought) and | had brekky at a little cafe around the corner from the pier and they had great meat and cheese pies, according to Kristi. Very good coffee! Off to the dolphin swim with Hector's dolphins. Andrea was feeling | under-the-weather and opted to just go for the boat cruise but not swim. Shilpa and Kristi got in the water and Andrea took lots of pictures. One of the d dolphins kept hanging around Shilpa and we got some fantastic shots. Back to shore, and to eat at a pizza place where Andrea and Shilpa got the evil eye from the waitress while Kristi went for another meat and cheese pie. They made Shilpa a spider and the waitress eased up a little bit...It must have just been her face...hehee. We shopped in Akaroa and Andrea bought lots of possum wool items. Andrea blew kisses at a dude sitting in an upstairs window while his wife was walking towards us on the street...oops. :D I belive this is the town where Andrea found the shirt that says not to "Stare at her Tikis" with two Tiki's strategically placed. It was too tacky to ever wear, except at home. We took a walk to the end of a little pier with a gazebo at the end, then took a walk on the beach for shell hunting. We found another place for coffee, then drove on to Kaikoura. When we arrived, it was dark and almost everything was closed. We needed dinner and lucked into a Thai Asian place that let us take away.

7: KLW: It was hard to get out of that heated bed this morning to don the way too tight wetsuit. It was so tight, i had to complain as i think it was cutting off blood flow. The lady giggled and said "let's unzip this before you pass out!" It must have been quite too tight. It took so much effort to put it on, and combined with the squeezing panic, I was too tired to take it off and don the next suit! Thank god Shilpa and the lady helped me into the next one! Unfortunately, it made me pretty exhausted with the panic from having that tight suit on for too long. I got into the water --yelling some not print-worthy explicative...it was COLD! We were told to make noise and not wear our snorkel gear normally..but turn the tubes into the water and sing. So I did! | I hummed the national anthem into the bay so those little endangered dolphins would come to see us. Then i got too cold and started to shiver all over. So iI had had enough. Got out and stuck the hot water tube into my suit...OMG that felt great! THen I just had more fun watching the dolphins circling around Shilpa...She had a blast, and it was almost as much fun watching her as putting on the suit and getting in myself!

8: KLWs Useless Facts: Akaroa is a village on the Banks Peninsula in the Canterbury region of South Island NZ. The harbor is also called Akaroa, in Maori means "Long Harbor". In 1840 a French colony was established in and around Akaroa. The houses today are French designed and the area is known throughout NZ for it's French heritage. It even used to be known as Port Louis-Phillippe. Sorry Andrea, not Scottish! | 1 December 2008

9: KLWs Useless facts on Hector's Dolphins: are among the world's smallest marine dolphins. They are found only in the inshore waters of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Two subspecies of Hector's dolphins exist: the South Island Hector's dolphin which is found around the South Island of New Zealand and the Maui's dolphin found off the west coast of North Island. Hector's dolphins grow <1.5m in length. Only found in NZ's waters, this distinctive grey doolphin with black and white markings and a round dorsal fin is hte most easily recognized species of dolphin in NZ. Hector's and Maui's dolphins are known by their Maori names: tutumairekurai, sihe, papakanua, upokohue, tukuperu tupoupou, and hopuhopu. | KLW: While Andrea was waiting for us to shower and dry off after our swim, She said while she was sitting watching the bay, one of the dolphins had caught a fish and brought it up to the surface to feed to a seagull. She was amazed and asked if one of the girls working there had seen it. She had not, but said that they often come up with food and feed the birds. The Seagulls apparently watch for them!

10: KLWs Useless Facts about Hector's Dolphins: Adult Hector's dolphins don't often exceed 1.5m in length and weigh between 80 and 130 lbs. Males are slightly smaller than females. They live a maximum of 20 years. They use echolocation to find food. Traditionally, Maori watched the dolphin movements to predict the weather. They take their name from the NZ zoologist, Sir James Hector, who first collected the species in 1869.

11: How to cook Andrea | ooOOOoo... It's so warm in here! | 1 December 2008

12: SV: After lunch and a walk around town and along the beach looking at shells, we drove to Kaikoura. KLW: Along the way, I fell asleep for awhile and vaguely remember Shilpa driving around a corner with SHEEP on the road ...Later when I woke up, Shilpa and Andrea told me about a sign they had seen near Christchurch..."Don't count the sheep...as you might fall asleep" | Stick'm Up! | Don't Shoot! I Didn't Do it! | TICKLE TICKLE TICKLE

13: SV: Today was a lazy day. we didn't get up early and jump out at the break of dawn. After lunch we pottered around Kaikoura. It's so pretty and odd to see snow topped mountains surrounding a beach! We also saw a few sheep! | Aroha, Kaikoura | 2 December 2008

14: AJM: Andrea showered, Shilpa ran out of hot water, Kristi couldn't take one at all. Oops! We were lazy all day in town. We shopped and ate ice cream, went to the beach, ate cupcakes and the view was SPECTACULAR from the beach. Andrea loved Kaikoura. We went to an info office, saw seals on the beach but the walk out was a bit slimy as the tide was out and there were rocks for several yards out. We also stopped at a little B&B to take photos of their sheep. We had dinner at The Sonic (not Sonic burger) and the food was very good. We went back to the Top 10 and watched The Golden Compass and then went to sleep. | In Town Kaikoura | 2 December 2008

15: KLW: This is where K's troubles began...They have a menace in South Island that is worse than being stung by a Jellies (considering the jellies did not sting me!) They are called SAND FLIES. You don't see them, they are like chiggers. Apparently, their most favorite snacking flavor is KRISTI. I am also mildly sensitive to them. So the only relief for me turned out I found when we got to Queenstown (check the end of the book!) and it was to bathe 2x a day with Pine-tar soap and citronella oil poured liberally over me 3x a day. I smelled like a walking mosquito candle! YUCK... | Kris thought this was a bird on a roof. She needs glasses! | North of Kaikoura | KLWs Useless Facts on Kaikoura: Kaikoura is a town on the east coast of South Island NZ. It is located on state hwy 1, 180 km North of Christchurch. Kaikoura became the first local authority to reach the Green Globe Tourism certification standard. The resident pop. is 2,172. The town is the governmental seat of the territorial authority of the Kaikoura District, which is geographically a part of the Canterbury Region. The District has a land area of 2,046km square (790.12 sq mi).

16: 3 Dec 2008 SV: Whale watching with Andrea in a private plane. We saw a sperm whale adn dusky seals. Kristi was out swimming with seals. The Sperm whale was HUGE! :O But it looked like small blobs in the pics! We then have set out for Kairuru Farm. We are staying there till Saturday. It's a really pretty cottage (but no mobile reception whatsoever!) | South of Kaikoura | AJM: We woke up, Andrea showered and took Kristi to her Seal Swim drop-off point. Andrea and Shilpa packed up the car and checked out of the Top 10 Kaikoura Holiday Park and headed for breakfast. Eggs, toast, and latte with decorated froth. We went up the street to the MUSEUM where there was a jail in the back of the property, complete with padded cell. There was a whale jaw bone and we took pics with local celebrity statues. Had the most fun acting like we were working in the general store exhibit while the museum lady wasn't watching. Shilpa was selling me cocoa powder. :) The museum had super old photos ad no one in the photos was smiling. The next stop was the whale watching place where we were ensured to meet some hottie pilots. We saw a curious vehicle with mannequin heads on top of the roof so we stopped to take photos of it and the owner of the car walked up. *tee hee* She let us continue but had places to go. We located Kristi and passed off the car keys while ANdrea and Shilpa went for their whale watch excursion, via airplane.

17: AJM: On the way to the airstrip, the shuttle driver became incensed with the conspiracy theory of JFK's death. Just saying you are from Dallas must have an effect on people! Then the guy charged us $5 each for the transport! He believes that three Frenchmen were responsible for the shooting. Sure. Whale watching was great, and we saw a whale. We also saw a pod of dolphins htat were jumping quite actively out of the water. Great little flight and there was a little hottie at the airport..but alas, he was not our pilot. After meeting back-up with Kristi, we did a little more shopping and then headed out towards Nelson and the farm stay. We went to dinner in the town of Nelson at a place with a painted deer antlers and chandeliers. By the time we go to the farmstay--it was pitch black. The tire ruts in the driveway was the only thing keeping us on the edge of the cliff we were on. We traversed through the winding path and found our cottage. It was rustic and quite a lovely little place...little creepy in the pitch black when we did not know what the outside looked like. We could sense and hear the animals that were nearby...felt like they were stalking us! We thought they should be cows or horses.....

18: KLWs Useless Facts on New Zealand Fur Seals: The NZ fur seal, like all fur "seals" is actually a sea lion and considered rare in NZ. These seals have pointed noses, long whiskers, and 2 layers of dark brown fur. Adult males measure 1.5-2.5m long and weigh 280-400lbs. Adult females are smaller at 1-1.5m long and 65-120lbs. This species has a shorter life span than other seal species; adult males live up to 15 years and females 12 years. | The seals can be found on the rocky coastline in the southern portion of the country and many offshore islands. In New Zealand they reside at the Otago Penninsula and Cape Foulwind. In Australia, there is a population on Kangaroo Island and in Western Australia. Large numbers of young, non-breeding male fur seals are found on Australia's subantarctic Macquarie Island and are thought to come from the NZ populations. They are opportunistic feeders of cephalopods, anchovy, lanternfish and hoki. Occasionally on on the subantarctic islands penguins can be consumed, as well. The Seals are known to dive to depths of 270m and are preyed upon by sharks, orca, leopard seals and Hooker's (NZ) sea lions. | Kia Ora Kaikoura | 3 December 2008

19: KLW: The photos to the left are Andrea bouncing on the giant AIR PILLOW at the Holiday park. They have the funnest stuff there! Kristi finds a whale of a friend, and we all have our portraits taken at the base of the mountains! KLWs Useless Facts: Paua or New Zealand Abalone--is only found in the sea around NZ. This marine mollusk eats seaweed and lives clinging to rocks at depths of 1-10m, normally along the shoreline. Paua Shell is the most colorful of all the abolone shells. Most other abolone are pale in comparison. There is no other shell in the world that has the color like Paua Shell color that varies from greens & pinks to purples & blues. There are even some shells with gold or crimson tonings. The color in the paua shell changes when viewed at different angles. This irridescence, similar to that of Mother of Pearl shell, but far more brilliant, is what makes paua shell so amazing as a gem material for use in jeellery. Each shell is different in color and pattern. The black batterns in the shell come from layers of protein that are laid down between the layers of calcium that make up the shell. The brilliant colors are from light being refracted within the crystal layers. The same effect that the occurs in Opals. The paua fishery is properly managed in a sustainable way. There is strict quota management system enforced. The paua divers can only free-dive to pry the paua off the rocks. The shell is the byproduct of catching the paua for their meat. Paua meat is a traditional delicacyfor the Maori. Essential for a good wedding feast or celebration. Paua is traditionally used by Maori to illuminate the eyes of their carving and artwork.

20: KLW: After a very early rise, Andrea was kind enough to get up and take me to downtown for my donning of the NEXT 5mm wetsuit! This time I asked for the most giant one they had...it went on quick. and they also gave us a hoodie of 5mm neoprene with a 'tail'. The 'tail' was supposed to swing thru your legs from your butt... and velcro like a diaper on a baby. Unfortunately--and too much to their amusement, when you bent over to grab the 'tail' and pull it through, it would just slide up out of your reach over your rear-end. I finally just looked at them and said...It will have to wait! The man told me "actually, it's more fun for the seals, they think you have a tail and they will pull at it.." Hmm...good or bad, it's an adventure. We went out on a bus to the boat, boated around the point where the girls and I had walked the other day. The seals were basking on the rocks...and we swam around to where the swells were less severe. And it is tremendously fun to look into a seals deep, meaningful eyes underwater--as he's saying, My you look FUNNY for a seal! | Below Kaikoura | 3 December 2008

21: Kristi's best shot of a seal underwater!

22: KLWs Useless Facts: The Sperm whale is a toothed whale that lives in pods. It has a huge brain that weighs about 20lbs; the largest brain of any animal. The sperm whale has a single blowhole that is s-shaped and about 20 in. long. Adult males grow to be about 50-60 feet long and weigh 40-50 tons. The whales produce a dark waxy substance called ambergris. It is thought that this substance protects the whale from it's major food source, the giant squid. The head of a sperm whale is frequently covered with circular scars that are made by the suckers of the giant squid. The Sperm whale forms social groups that are strong and long-lasting. The members of a pod protect the young, sick, and the injured. This social structure allows the mothers of calves to dive while leaving the calf at a shallow depth --they cannot dive as deep as the mother. THey live to reach about 70 years; there are about 200k sperm whales in the world, and one of them is named Moby Dick! | Above Kaikoura

24: So Long, Kaikoura!! | Haere ra Kaikoura | Giant Yabbie? RUN!!! | SV: I'll Catch It!

25: SV: Today we drove to the Northern most point of South Island to find Farewell Spit and the cleanest spring water on the planet! On the way we stopped at a beach and collected in some shells...and visited Waikoropupu Springs, the World's clearest freshwater springs. AJM: We got up and Kristi had been feasted on in the night. Andrea felt things crawling on her and biting her but she had no evidence of bites! We headed for breakfast in Golden Bay. Shilpa bought two really nicely woven/made/designed jackets at a little store where the lady manufactured the cloth and the jacket on the premises. They had elegant little pins to hold them together made of Paua shell. We had some fun trying on the different designs so Kristi could Photo-shoot us. There was a small museum nearby that led into another shop where they had lots of arts and crafts, candles, objects d'art, etc. From Golden Bay we drove to Pupu springs, the clearest springs on earth...only thing clearer would be glacier water! A nice twisty path through the woods to a deck/lookout point with mirrors in a box so we could observer straight through the water. We stopped at a roadside beach and made a mermaid in the sand and picked up shells...Then off to Farewell spit . It was closed! Crappity! We walked down anyway and saw a dude in a van that looked like a British actor who was Hugh Grant's roomie in Knotting Hill. We had dinner at the Penguin in Takaka...it was Excellent! | Famous Striped Deer of Nelson, NZ! | Tene koutou Kairuru | 4 December 2008

27: Pupu Wai Springs | 4 December 2008

28: SV: Today, we drove to the Northern most point of South Island. On the way, we stopped at a beach and collected seashells. At Waikoropupu | Kia Ora Pupu Springs | Springs, the World's clearest freshwater spring. In Golden Bay, I bought myself and my Mom great NZ merino wool jackets. | KLWs Useless Facts about Pupu Springs: This is probably Golden Bay's most famous attraction. Several million years ago earth movements caused the 2 hilly blocks to rise from the Takaka Valley. Takaka Hill (where we stayed) is famous for its cave system, underground rivers, and other features. Research has shown that a huge system of flooded chambers exists in the buried marble under the valley. The sandstone over the marble acts like a cap over the water and marble. This does not allow passage of water through the layers of rock and places the underground water at great pressure. In the Waikoropupu Valley the surface has eroded away the cap rock to a point where the underground water is able to burst through and emerge as springs. The water from the main spring is a constant cold temperature of 11.7C, clear and slightly salty. This spring system is the largest in NZ and among the 100 largest in the world! The area is a Maori taonga (treasure) and a waahitapu (sacred place). Please respect it. KLW: so due to some bad algae being spread..we could not even dunk a toe. Darn it!

29: KLWs Useless Facts about Farewell Spit: Which happens to be a narrow sand spit at the north end of South Island. Known to the Maori as Tuhuroa, it runs eastwards from Cape Farwell. It is the longest Sandspit in NZ New Zealand Sand Flies: SInce they affected so much of my part of the trip...thought I'd add some Useless facts about the little bastards. Sand Flies are the only real pest you will find in the NZ mountains. There are no snakes, leaches, dangerous spiders, or any other creepy crawlies that our unfortunate neighbors in Australia have. Sand flies are smaller than a mosquito and present year-round but do not come out when the temperatures are freezing. They prefer shady forest out of the hot sun and anyone who has experienced them will attest to their particular talent for driving you mad. Their bites cause a slight welt similar to a mosquito bite which will itch for a day or so. Some people (not many) have very bad reactions to the bites which swell and are very uncomfortable..they are named KRISTI. Luckily the Sandflies have several weaknesses: 1. They are slow, but not as slow as a Kristi. 2. They go away at night--only to appear at first light. There are many ointments and insecticides to keep sand flies away, the only real solution is to cover up. Rain coats and pants are often used to fight these flying pests. Only females bite--AFter mating the female searches for a meal of blood which is needed to produce eggs. | KLWs Useless Facts about Takaka: Yes there is a small town named Takaka, New Zealand. It is located at the southeastern edge of Golden Bay and the northern end of NZ's South Island. It is located at the lower reaches of the Takaka River. It lies at the start of the winding road which follows the river valley before climbing over Takaka Hill, linking Golden Bay with the more populated coast of Tasman Bay to the southeast. | "The most mischievous animal here is the small black sandfly which are exceeding numerous...wherever they light they cause a swelling and such intolerable itching that it is not possible to refrain from scratching and at last ends in ulcers like the small Pox." from the journals of James Cook as he encountered the insects at Fiordland's Dusky Sound, possibly at a sandy beach in May 1773.

31: Haere mai Farewell Spit

32: 4 December 2008

33: What a magical view!

34: Shopping Therapy Golden Bay

35: SV: We pottered around Motueka beach and then went to their small Christmas parade in the evening. The farm we were staying at seemed infested by bugs... AJM: Kristi was eaten alive by bugs! She slept in the car for a bit. We had brekky in Motueka where we went to a pharmacy to see what was biting Kristi..there were numerous suggestions: bed bugs (could not see them), sand fleas (maybe!) and who knows what else! We had breakfast in a littl eplace with lots of itmes for sale. It was very 'botique-y'. Andrea had some great Mueslix. It was a slow and relaxing day. We bought Santa hats and shopped a little in Motueka. Gnome shirts for Chrissy gear and got beachside photos while playing around. Andera took a nap, we put laundry on the line, then the PARADE! There were lots of floats and some very talented children on stilts. Back to farm house for our last night there... | Watch out for Penguins Takaka | 4 December 2008

36: Hang'n with my Gnomies! | you KnOW when You've BEEN ON THE faRM too LONG when... | KAIRURU!!!! | Hei-Tiki Gnome

37: "Andrea...put in an all night session with ..."Brian" last month, which explains the hedgehog hair-do! They were fishing overnight at a secret location in Kenepuru Sound when their long night antics finally paid dividends. A fair amount of grappling for the rod went on, but Andrea was in the pink when she came out on top with this thumper of a snapper. "Brian's" was bigger but he's already been on the front cover and will have to wait until next month to have the full story told!" That Andrea has ALL the LUCK! | ANDREA AT IT ALL NIGHT! | 5 December 2008

38: SV: We pottered around the farm in morning before breakfast at Motueka and wandering around the 1-street town. Then we went to the beach for some photos. In the evening we drove down to Motueka again to their small Christmas parade. The farm we are at seems infested with bugs!

39: The view at Kairuru | 5 December 2008

40: 5 December 2008

41: Mele Kalikimaka from Motueka

42: Happy Christmas from Andrea, Shilpa, Shilpa, and KrisTiki! | 5 December 2008

43: Haere ra Motueka

44: KLWs Useless Facts: Motueka is situated on a small Motueka Plain near the Motueka River which enters Tasman Bay about 3 miles north of town. To the west of the valley rises steeply to the Arthur and Pikiruna Ranges, and the south is flat and broken by the gently rolling Moutere Hills. The name of the town is made of Motu weka (motu: a small wood or "bush island" and weka is a woodhen). Kairuru Hill: Kairuru Marble is a coarse-grained highly crystalline stone which can be polished to a high luster. Kiaruru Marble was used to build Parliament Buildings from 1915-1922. A method known as 'plugs and feathers' was used. After drilling to the run of hte marble grain, plugs and feathers were used to wedge the rock free from the marble face. No blasting was involved. Marble blocks were transported via a tramline to Marahau. Here the blocs were loaded onto scows and taken to Wellington for cutting. Kairuru Quarry Today: the Kairuru marble is mainly used for sculpting. The historic quarry site can be visited through either a short walk from the house or by 4WD vehicle. Here some of the old machinery used can still be seen! | Santa! Over HERE! | 5 Dec 2008 SV: We pottered around Motueka beach and then went to their small Christmas parade in the evening. The farm we were staying at seemed infested by bugs... AJM: Kristi was eaten alive by bugs! She slept in the car for a bit. We had brekky in Motueka where we went to a pharmacy to see what was biting Kristi..there were numerous suggestions: bed bugs (could not see them), sand fleas (maybe!) and who knows what else! We had breakfast in a littl eplace with lots of itmes for sale. It was very 'botique-y'. Andrea had some great Mueslix. It was a slow and relaxing day. We bought Santa hats and shopped a little in Motueka. Gnome shirts for Chrissy gear and got beachside photos while playing around. Andera took a nap, we put laundry on the line, then the PARADE! There were lots of floats and some very talented children on stilts. Back to farm house for our last night there... KLW: Hmmm.. where to begin? I think i am technically allergic to sand flies. and apparently, very tasty to them! Everything is beautiful here- I love to wake up to the cows and sheep just outside. We have everything we really need in this tiny house. While we were in town Andrea grabbed a free fishing paper as the headline pronounced she had had a very lucky night, indeed. It was hilarious! We got a Gnome shirt for Noopur, as we were missing her on this part of the journey! I was exhausted due to the bug bites and lack of sleep--both from the itching and from trying to catch the little vampires feeding on me. I gave up in the house and before dawn moved to the Toyota Rav 4--could get a better seal there. It is not that comfy, but I tell you what...I woke up as the sun rose over the valley below. The sheep and cows were just waking up, the birds weren't up yet...and the sky turned the most gorgeous colors of deep purple, magenta, pinks and some firey oranges. Then the sun peeked over the Eastern horizon and said good morning to the entire valley and hill top around us. This was peaceful, grand, and just beyond words to describe! Points to the sand flies for chasing me out to the car for 2 nights!

45: 5 Dec 2008 KLW: Hmmm.. where to begin? I think i am technically allergic to sand flies. and apparently, very tasty to them! Everything is beautiful here- I love to wake up to the cows and sheep just outside. We have everything we really need in this tiny house. While we were in town Andrea grabbed a free fishing paper as the headline pronounced she had had a very lucky night, indeed. It was hilarious! We got a Gnome shirt for Noopur, as we were missing her on this part of the journey! I was exhausted due to the bug bites and lack of sleep--both from the itching and from trying to catch the little vampires feeding on me. I gave up in the house and before dawn moved to the Toyota Rav 4--could get a better seal there. It is not that comfy, but I tell you what...I woke up as the sun rose over the valley below. The sheep and cows were just waking up, the birds weren't up yet...and the sky turned the most gorgeous colors of deep purple, magenta, pinks and some firey oranges. Then the sun peeked over the Eastern horizon and said good morning to the entire valley and hill top around us. This was peaceful, grand, and just beyond words to describe! Points to the sand flies for chasing me out to the car for 2 nights!

46: Is there a Weka in your Waka? Is he doing a good Haka? | SV: Tauranga Bay Seal colony: Today we are driving to Hokitika. It's a fair drive, and d along the route we have stopped at Tauranga Bay for lunch adn to see (yet another seal colony.) | Foulwind Seal Colony (can someone hold my nose?) | 6 December 2008

47: AJM: Still more unknown vermin are eating us. Kristi was bitten under her chin and had moved in with Andrea to sleep in the big bed, although it didn't help much because it too felt creepy-crawly. Kristi ended up in the shower at 4am and slept in the car the rest of the night. We went to the same cute place for brekky in Motueka and Shipa had the Mueslix this time. Andrea itched all day. Onwards and Upwards to Pancake rocks, seal colony and lunch in a nice quiet place with a big deck. We now are on the hung for Pancakes, after all this talk of Pancake ROCKS! :D Very scary coastal driving behind us and ahead of us on twisty narrow curving roads that drop off to the right to jagged, wave pounding tortuous seas...We landed in Hokitika that night. Andrea bathed in bleach water and felt instantly better. We had all our clothes cleaned in the hotel and ended up eating at the Shell station-- for all the food joints were closed by 8pm! We took our gas station grub and ate in the car (of course!) then drove over to the Glow Worm dell for some night viewing. | Punakaiki Pancake rocks

48: KLWs Useless Facts: About the Foulwind Seal Colony--You know whatever you say about Kiwi's (NZ folk), they are nothing but creative! Westport is a town in the West Coast region of the South Island of NZ. The town is thought to be named for Westport, Ireland..although most likely due to being a port on the west coast. One of the largest tourist attractions is the Cape FOULWIND Seal colony, a large colony of NZ fur seals. (Yep, creative bunch--from experience--the wind was indeed FOUL!) The BAY HOUSE: Is located on the edge of the Tasman Sea, the wild beauty of hte West Coast and the feeling that you have escaped somewhere totally unique. Originally it was built as a family bach in 1929. The Bay House then became the Buller Board Riders HQ and was occupied by the local surfing fraternity from the 60's till the early nineties. One of the surfers eventually bought the house and start to sell his baked goods to the surfers. It was born as a cafe in 1995. It is now an iconic West Coast restaurant and is home to the West Coast Surf School and Healthwise Naturopathy.. The Bay House is one of NZ's most picturesque eating environments. | Kia Ora Punakaiki

49: KLWs Useless Facts: Punakaiki is a small community on the West Coast of the South Island NZ between Westport and Greymouth. The community lies on the edge of the Paparoa Nat'l Park. The Pancake Rocks are very popular tourist goal at Dolomite Point south of the main village. The Pancake Rocks are a heavily eroded limestone area where the sea bursts through a number of vertical blowholes during high tides. Together with teh 'pancake'-layering of the limestone (created by immense pressure on alternating hard and soft layers of marine creatures and plant sediments), these form the main attraction area. The Pancake Rocks are presently explorable by a number of walkways winding through the rock formations. Weka is a flightless NZ (or nearly flightless) bird that NZ is famous for. The one most often seen is the Weka. Where a Weka is common, their furtive curiosity makes them familiar sight around houses or camps as they patrol for food..and anything unfamiliar and transportable. | Punakaiki Pancake rocks | 6 December 2008

50: KLW: We woke up in Hokitika, of course the first order of business was a good hearty BREAKFAST! Having accomplished a fantastic am feast, we took a walk around town and enabled me to satisfy my lust for jade. I got to see how it was made, some really expensive art pieces and bought myself a very pretty Mania - it looks like an infinity loop but rather large and very pretty dark green Jade with a little brown spot on it. The girls got some really good smelling ice cream and we met a wood carver who was from the Midwest. I think Andrea and I got some candle holders carved by him. I sent one to Mom and Dad. It's made from Rimu...sounds exotic, huh? This afternoon we head further South to Franz Josef Glacier (FJG). We are trying to make it all the way to Queenstown tonight, but I believe we will not make it--the roads are too narrow to go fast and there is too much fun stuff to do before arriving there...not to mention gas became and issue... Now, about last night!! We arrived in Hokitika at about 6pm, which we thought we would relax in the hotel (give me a chance to take a pine tar bath for the bug bites) and hit the town for dinner. Well by 8pm, all dinner places are CLOSED! We couldn't believe it, the grocery store was not open, the bar had stopped serving food...and there were NO café's open at all. So, in the Kristi-resourceful guide--must have dinner at night--we pulled up to the Shell station in town and bought dinner at the gas station. I can't believe it, we all found something really bad, but passable for a dinner item. To take our minds off the horrible dinner choice, we drove to the edge of town, got out of the car and "rugged up" for the chilly night to walk through the GLow worm dell. We walked in with my mini flashlight an d turned it off. It was a bit creepy in the pitch black, But when your eyes adjust, you notice you are surrounded by tiny blue-green iridescent worms attached to the side of the rock walls of the dell! Really pretty and fun to see. | Haere Mai Hokitika | 7 December 2008

52: KLWs Useless Facts: Glowworms: are the larval stage in the life of an insect called the fungus gnat. They can be found wherever conditions are damp, food in good supply and an overhanging wall. The NZ glowworm is one of many creatures that naturally produce light (bioluminescence). | Haere ra Hokitika | AJM: Woke up in Hokitika. Our laundry was not done yet so we had brekky at the cafe next door. The lady was running the entire place by herself and she was very fast! She made us pancakes, eggs, sausage, tomatos, and our lattes and Mochachinos! We shopped the town for Jade, wood carvings from a man named Quade, some funny painted rocks from a left-handed South African who was personable and liked to say the word "peepee" or the "d" word. More wool possum products for Andrea and lunch at a fish and chips place followed by ice cream from a lady who was a bit unaccomodating with her "Fruit Ice Cream" combos. Off to FJG for lots of photos then the massage and soak in a hot glacier pool!

53: SV: Early Maori called Franze Josefr Glacier (FJG) Ka Roimata O Hinehukatere - the tears of the avalance girl. We ate dinnerat an Indian restaurant--and the food was really quite good! | Kia Ora Franz Josef Glacier | Where's my pine tar??? The glacier on this end...I thought was a bit underwhelming. Dirty snow. Andrea and I think we've both seen just enough snow in our lives to not get that thrilled for this! Shilpa really wanted to to take the flight/tour of the glacier, but since we had to get Andrea down to Queenstown--and we did try to rearrange all this, it just did not work out. We then headed back to the town so that we could partake of the newly opened Glacier Hot Springs! We had a personal hot tub in the woods, and it was fantastic! Andrea decided to take up the massage, she looked VERY relaxed when she met us at the Indian restaurant across the street....Speaking of which, That was one good Indian place. It looked new, we sat in the front so we could see Andrea. The waiter was tattooed and seemed to have the air of someone that most likely spent all his spare time in a biker gang, a little scary... | KLW: It was a quick drive to FJG, we stopped at the tourist office, but it turned out to just be a shop. Then we decided to go see the glacier while it was still pretty bright and before those menacing clouds produced any rain! We parked, then walked down a long path about 500m, each step felt like a new batch of thousands of little bugs were biting me all over. Damn bugs!

54: KLW: but that waiter, we'll call him "Pete" , he was a fantastic waiter! He almost RAN from table to table and delivered really great service to everyone. He looked so eager and happy to be doing this and really seemed to enjoy it that we loved our food and that we had everything we needed! WOW! We all felt horrible that he was a bit upset because we could not take our leftovers with us, and actually, we were disappointed to. But not knowing where we would stay that night, we could not take leftover Indian food with us. | Franz Josef Glacier Where did that Platypus come from? | 7 December 2008

55: KLW: This is how I know we were all equally impressed with the Glacier...While looking at it, we started our usual--Self-portraits in front of whateervr-it-is. As we did so, we had a discussion that sounded like this: "Shilpa, how do you always look good in photos??" Andrea: "I knew a girl that modeled, she said the trick was to always look up and stick your good side chin out" KLW: "Ok , who's takin gthe photo?" *snap snap snap snap snap snap snap* One o fus noticed that everyone was really rather staring at us, of course we were having a great time laughing and giggling and having a great time. In all of our fancy modeling shots--none of us had bothered to put the GLACIER in the background! No wonder everyone was looking....we were being really twitty models--it must work! P:) *laugh*

56: KLWs Useless Facts: Hokitika was founded on gold mining in 1864. It was the center of the West Coast Gold Rush. The pop. declined after the Gold mines closed and has recovered as a major tourist stop along the West Coast NZ. The Hokitika Sock Machine Museum in town has on display a collection of antique sock-knitting machines and invites visitors to knit their own socks. Franz Josef Glacier (FJG): is currently 12 km long and terminates 19 km from the Tasman Sea. It exhibits a cyclic pattern of advance and retreat, driven by differences in volume meltwater at the foot and volume of snowfall feeding the top. This is one of the few glaciers in NZ which is still GROWING as of 2007. | On the road to Queenstown! | On the road again....can't wait to get on the road again....da da da da da da dat da da da da...Cause I can't wait to get on the road again... POSSUM! | AJM: We did not have a hotel secured and found one on the side of the road near Haast. Convenient, as we were out of gas! Everything was closed..and lucky us they let us check in near midnight. It was very rural and seemed like a place serial killers might frequent! KLW: It was quiet, like the dead...:) | 7 December 2008

57: Look at all the yellow flowers...! SHEEP 1..2..3..4..zzzzzz | 8 December 2008

58: AJM: I believe this was the day we drove through an area with the most vibrant flowering trees along the roadside. Kristi was sleeping in the car and snoring like a baby rotoroo when Andrea woke her to see the vivid yellow flowers. Kristi lost the mem card to the camera and we backtracked because we thought she'd dropped on the road side. Oopsie, it was still in the glove box all along! Disaster averted. On to QT! Nice late brekky, it was raining, foggy, stopped and bought a tiki. Andrea flew home. Plane delayed. | 8 December 2008

59: SV: We needed to get Andrea to Queenstown for her flight. The drives through this area are amazingly picturesque. The landscape is so varied from snow capped mountains to wild lupin fields with lots of sheep and happy Anchor cows grazing. :) We got to QT in good time, had lunch together, potttered around town and then said farewell to Andrea at the airport! AJM: We got up at 6am, showered, had tea and packed the car. Yes, still out of gas. The gas station did NOT take Credit cards (station closed and card reader not functioning!) We put cash in and Kristi lost a $50 as it jammed the machine and the $50NZD was eaten. Went 4km to another station, it would not take cards OR cash after hours. Back to the motel to wait an hour for the stations to open. Got gas at 8am, and got Kristi's $50 note back. HOoray! | Queenstown NZ answer to Vegas

60: SV: Kristi and I returned to potter around a little more and then after dinner headed to the hotel for an early-ish night. This hotel was the worst of our trip! A plastic bag oddly attached to the ceiling and a weird pink and grey ceiling that we like to think was an interesting paint job rather than anything else! It was safe...(KLW: Maybe!?) | 8 December 2008

61: KLW: Ahh, I love Shilpa! You are being so nice about the hotel. It was CRAP! HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE! Although we did have lots of fun with the nylon Tattoo arms and our unopened bottle of beer. Not to mention the view was beautiful of the lake and mountains. And Bonus for the evening was Shilpa's "Riding of the BED" as she laid on it, it slid right off onto the floor! We ended up having lots of fun...despite the raggedy hotel! | What happens in Queenstown, Stays in Queenstown...

62: 9 Dec 2008 SV: AFter a nice brekky and mediocre mocha we head towards a mountain gondola and luge. Gondolas here are not like we picture in Venice! They are simply cable cars :-) and a luge is a sleigh with a brake and handle-it was very fun luge-ing. KLW: ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH! The motto of the Luge! I got us tickets for the Gondola, and 3 Luge Trips. Shilpa thought maybe it was too many--but here's the NZ LUGE RULES for Newbies: 1x is the slow beginner loop. You think you can't do it...but you put on the silly helmut and try. YOu find out it's THRILLING and you are ready. 2x the second one is completed faster, you have control over your luge, you feel wind rushing through your hair. You are now bored of the beginner loop! 3x --NOW you are really cooking! You plunge down the "Experienced" run, wind whistling through your helmet/hair. You know right where the cameras are placed to get optimum speed and expression as you blast past them... Once is NEVER enough! | Kia Ora New Zealand | Frosty Boy Often Licked Never Beaten

63: Kia Ora New Zealand

66: Kia Ora New Zealand

67: KLWs Useless Facts on Queenstown. QT is an international resort town in Otago in the SW of NZ's South Island. It is built around an inlet on Lake Wakatipu, a long thin lake formed by glacial processes that is shaped like a staggered lightning bolt and has spectacular views of nearby mountains. The name is said to come from a gold digger exclaimed that the town was "fit for Queen Victoria". Queenstown and surrounding areas contain many of the locations used in the filming of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. | Kia Ora New Zealand | 9 December 2008

68: SV: After a very yummy Mexican lunch we drove to Wanaka to the "Puzzling World". Here there is a maze and lots of holograms and illusions. There was a room where the floor walls and content is at an inclination--and my gosh that really messes with your mind! I was amazed at how this really messed up perspective--I started feeling dizzy! | Kia Ora New Zealand | 9 December 2008

69: KLW: "Look, Shilpa! They have PINK Sombreros!" "I'll be right back..." | Queenstown! | 9 December 2008

70: SV: Having stretched our legs, we drove onto Omaru. We stopped along the way to take some fabulous photos of the amazing landscape--the water in all the lakes was clean and clear--just amazing! KLW: I liked the puzzling world...the outside maze drove me nuts though. I felt very useless in it. The Toilets were the best-as each seat had a different collection of weird things in acrylic molded into the seat. I went in each stall to check it out and finally decided to sit on the nasty SPIDER toilet. Shilpa went in and came out--did you see the toilet seats? Which did she choose you ask??? OF COURSE---the SPIDER SEAT! :) | Aroha, Wanaka... | 9 December 2008

71: WharePaku = toilet | Kia Ora Whare paku

72: Andrea! One of these was hung with YOU in mind! MISSED YOU! | But the tour guide said there was a BRA fence...I think we just make a new one! | Kia Ora New Zealand | 9 December 2008

73: KLW: In all the research done for this leg of the trip, it mentions a Bra fence that was started and tourists leave their unwanted bras. Kris packed 3 extra old bras so that we would all be able to add our own addition to the "Famous bra fence". The trouble was, we never found it! Apparently the sheep ate it. So after driving the supposed "Bra road" at least 3x, we just decided to stop on this nice stretch of road and make our own new bra fence! Of course, Kris would not allow that we leave the bras. As she had some sinking suspicion that the sheep really had eaten the original bras, and have nothing but trouble with elastic intestines.... Worse yet...maybe the farmers enjoyed dressing up their sheep in bras. You know what they say about Kiwis! | Memorable Quotes from the trip: --"For the Love of PETE!" Andrea --"No No NO, you're not doing it right" Andrea, when Shilpa and I would play funny things in pictures... --"Kaikoura is so beautiful" Shilpa ...."Neh...they say it gets better." Kristi --"Neh" in response to every question...

74: Kia Ora New Zealand

75: KLW: As we pushed onward towards Oamaru, we turned a corner in a gentle rolling mountain valley and were confronted with a glacial clear water river surrounded by fields of Mountain Lupins.

78: Kia Ora New Zealand | breathtaking | 9 December 2008

79: KLWs Useless Facts about Hei Tiki: The term tiki is applied to carved human figures by both the Maori and Polynesians. The name possibly has some connection with the myth of Tiki. the first man created by Tane. On the other hand tiki or tikitikis also a general term for carving in many parts of polynesia. In NZ tiki is usually applied to the human figure carved in greenstone as a neck ornament. The full name is hei-tiki. Early European visitors saw men wearing the hei-tiki and it is probable that the squat shape of the figure was influenced by the hardness of the material and that it was later likened to an embryo and endowed with magical powers. The shape is also due to the original use of the greenstone was an adze blade. The Greenstone is called Pounamu in Maori, like jade, is a beautiful stone. It's classed as semi-precious. The Maori have occupied NZ since about 1000AD, and the historical origins of the tiki are not understood...

80: KLWs Useless Facts: The Maori Manaia is a curious feature of Maori carving and has been the subject of much controversy. It's been seen as a bird headed man, a bird, a serpent, or a human figure in profile. The Maorie language definitions are: a grotesque beaked figure sometimes introduced in carving, a lizard, the sea-horse, a raft, and means fastidious as an adjective. Occasionally, a manaia may look like a snake. But what appears to be a snake body may simply be a curved arm with the hand not shown. There are no terrestrial snakes in NZ, and sea snakes are rare.

81: SV: Takiroa Maori Rock Carvings-- We stopped near some rocks which were en route that were supposed to have Maori carvings...most had been removed and the few etchings there looked like fresh crayon scratchings! KLW: We did agree, the sign was better. :) | Kia Ora New Zealand | 9 December 2008

82: SV: We arrived at the hotel at 9:30pm the lady had stayed to meet us and was so chatty with me (she had been to UK last year for the rugby world cup in Cardiff) and wanted to tell me about places she'd been and how surprised she was we didn't live in thatched cottages :-) She was apologetic that the "old buildings" they have in Oamaru wouldn't compare to what we have in England-really strong Scottish culture here! KLWs Uselesss Facts: Oamaru is the largest town in North Otago, South Island NZ.The name derives from the Maori word meaning the place of Maru. Unfortunately, no one knows what Maru means. :) There are some important archaeological sites around Oamaru. The distinctive Archaic art of the Waitaki Valley rock shelters dates to 1100AD. The Archaic people were also known as Moa-Hunters. Many of the public buildings are built of local limestone, quarried near Weston and known as Oamaru stone. A colony of little blue penguins lives on the harbor, and a colony of yellow-eyed penguins just south of town attracts ecotourists. Penguins sometimes live under buildings close to the beach, including the town's music club, The Penguin Club. | Kia Ora New Zealand | A penguin, resplendent in tux, Has homing skills just like a duck's. To achieve the South Pole, Hejust heads for his goal: The Southern Cross tail, Acrux.

83: KLWs Useless Facts about the Moa: This amazing creature is now extinct, it happened around the 1800's. It was a very large, flightless bird. They inhabited North Island NZ. The moa stood 2.5m tall, had a long neck and a large triangular beak. The average weight of this huge bird could have been around 110kg. Research has predicted that some of the birds could have weighed in at 200kg. The herbivore fed on seeds and fruit. The GIANT moa was said to have lived on South Island NZ. The Giant moa became extinct due to hunting by humans and predatory animals such as the largest eagle that ever lived, the Haast Eagle, which is also now extinct. Like Kiwi, these are very ancient birds of uncertain relationship. The earliest fossils date from the upper Miocene era- approx 15million years ago. | Kia Ora New Zealand | 10 December 2008

84: 10 Dec 2008 SV: Oamaru, Moeraki Boulders, Rakaia: Salmon Capital of NZ, Mid Canterbury; Christchurch: Started with us grabbing lunch then walking around Oamaru. Oamaru is a funny town - Scottish settlers have created a Victorian age town. On some streets they still dress like they are in Victorian times! We then went to see the Moeraki boulders, along the Pacific Ocean. These stones have been smoothed into spherical boulders by the crashing waves- and were throroughly unimpressive! (I saw a dead seal on the beach and this made me really sad.) After lunch we drove to Christchurch. I watched Along Came Polly and fell asleep.

85: MMMMMM Cheese

86: KLWs Useless Facts about The Moeraki Boulders: These are unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the wave cut Otago coast of NZ between Moeraki and Hampden. They are scattered either as isolated or clusters of boulders within a stretch of beach where they have been protected in a scientific reserve. Local Maori legends explained the boulders as remains of eel baskets, calabashes, and kumara washed ashore from the wreck of an Arai-te-uru, a large sailing canoe. This legend tells of rocky shoals that extend seaward from Shag Point as being the petrified hull of this wreck and a nearby rocky promontory as being the body of the canoe's captain. | OoooOOOO Big Round Boulders

87: KLW: Shilpa is right, I really thought I wanted to see these boulders...but they were rather unimpressive. Fun to stand on...but they should have been bigger. :) The nice part was: I went to get the car and pick up Shilpa--she did not want to see the dead seal again...and while I was getting her, I found fenced in deer. Had to stop and see if they were friendly! They were--as you can see! I gave the girls some nice scratches and was rewarded with a giant long deer tongue licking me across the hand/arm and my cheek! It was a really big deer tongue! Shilpa was disgusted that I was so happy to get licked by a deer! :) KLWs Useless Facts: The Pukeko, aka the swamp hen, is the most commonly encountered of the five living species of the rail family native to NZ. Pukekos dwell in swamps along lake shores and in poorly drained pastures throughout NZ. The plumage is mainly indigo blue, the head and wings are black with a greenish gloss. The feathers beneath the tail are white. Bill, legs and feet are scarlet and the eyes are ruby red. Males are slightly bigger than females, but otherwise look identical. Ungraceful in becoming airborne, Pukekos are strong on the wing and are also swift runners. Their feet are not webbed, but still are good swimmers. Their usual call is a piercing squawk. | Yick, That Deer LICKS

88: KLW: As Shilpa and I drove along, we started to wonder...Hmmm.. If Australia has so many "BIG THINGS"...Why does NZ not have any. Then we turned a corner, and saw this FISH! You ask, and you shall receive...:) AJM: HOME and Laggin --9 Dec 2008 Email How Ya Goin?!? I got home yesterday around 6pm. Mr. Lou was in extreme Cat-withdrawal and meowed all night long. He's like an angry wife, that cat! I slept 13 hours. Hmmm...now I need a latte so I will get one at the Starbucks in SuperTarget...it won't be as pretty, or the same, though! The Auckland flight had the cast of Real World Road Rules II on it. I guess they went to NZ for the upcoming show. They were carrying these big placquards with "$100,000 prize" written on them. I know which team won--I won't spoil it for you girls! I just got a new inflatable neck pillow in Auckland, it has a fur case on the top and looks like a little possum. :D It is 10 times better than the pillow eaten in the dryer in Hokitika! (Noopur, we have some new tales to tell!) When I left the post office this am, I turned my windshield wipers on instead of the blinker to make a right turn...hehe. I have not driven into the wrong lane...yet. The day is still young! Picked up Tyler, aka Mr T, all fluffy and washed with a turquoise bandana (it matched my purse!...awww). THe lady that runs the place said she gave him extra special attention because he was so sweet, of course. That made me feel better about leaving him there. Hope everyone is well or healing if not well! :) Miss you! A. | Does NZ have BIG THINGS?!

89: KLWs Useless Facts: The Chalice in Cathedral Square is constructed by Sculptor Neil Dawson to celebrate the new millennium and the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Christchurch and Canterbury by the Canterbury Association in 2001. The exterior of the conical structure is painted silver and the interior is painted metallic blue. The structure is 18m high, from 2m at the ground and 8.5m in diameter at the top. The network of 42 aluminum shapes represent the leaves of native trees that previously grew in the city area. The leaves depicted are the Mapou, Kowhai, Mahoe, Totara, Karamu, Titoki, Ngaio, Maratata, and Koromiko. | Kia Ora Christchurch | SV: Today we went to Christchurch- I LOVE Christchurch! (not at all biased by the fact I saw two veggie restaurants and the cafe we ate at had v signs on its' dishes!) We did a quick tour around Christchurch by tram. Before heading to the airport we went to the Antarctica Center - this is where people go before flying to the Antarctic. This was fun! :-) Goodbye Christchurch...and HELLO SYDNEY! Arriving at Sydney, I had to declare my Honey roasted peanuts, and some shells. I was very disappointed they were not recording 'Australia Border Patrol' today. :( there goes my chance of fame. | 11 December 2008

90: SV: Kristi had picked shells from the beach - and despite having "Washed them Properly" they smelt stinky and got confiscated...HA HA HA!!!!!! KLW: I had made the mistake of 'know-it-all-ism' in the car with Andrea and Shilpa by announcing " I knew the secret method with which to clean shells to ge them through customs...." I've not yet heard the end of that one....I doubt I ever will! :) | Kia Ora New Zealand

91: Kia Ora New Zealand | Shilpa! | KLW: When I saw this sign, it bothered me. I was not sure why, until my cousin pointed out a good caption: | Warning: Child-abducting Penguins in area!

93: Kia Ora New Zealand | KLW: The Antarctic Center was really cool...NO really, it was COLD! It was the best place to see Little Blue Penguins...They had many interactive storms and snow to play in, and Shilpa must have put on EVERY big red parka in the place! We rode in a Hagglund, it's a floating, tracked vehicle made for trekking across glaciers. KLW Useless Facts: A Hagglund is a tracked vehicle developed in Sweden for use on snow and ice. It runs on rubber tracks and comprises 2 or more articulated units which can climb very steep terrain and yet have a light 'footprint' enabling them to cross thin ice. Hagg- Lunds are also air tight and can float in water.

94: 12 Dec 2008 SV: It was raining NON-stop heavily the whole day (much more heavily than what we get back in blighty! Trust my luck!) After being stuck in traffic we arrived in Sydney CBD (Central business district) and I rushed into the QVB -Queen Victoria Building (not to be mistaken with QVC, like I do). Kristi Parked the car and I went up under the | giant Xmas tree to meet my friends Maggie and Angel. The four of us had lunch and walked around the centre. Then we headed to Paddy's market for a little retail therapy. We then parted ways and Kristi and I went to 'The Rocks' which is the original site of Sydney and now a funky part to wander about the shops. We were a day early for The Rocks Market, but had fun taking pictures. | Aroha, The Rocks & Sydney

95: Queen Victoria Building | Kia Ora Sydney | Things we missed on our trip: Fruit Tingles Marshmallows without Gelatin Photo of the BIG Marlin in Cairns Picture of Sleep & Drive Sheep Sign Andrea's "mod Poshunate six" guy ...Albert (AJM: I think I found him on facebook, but he won't confirm who he is!)

96: Kia Ora New Zealand | (Somewhere Else!) | SV: For dinner, I met up with Simon Li, the rain was RELENTLESS and we got soaked through! Kristi picked me up at the Hornsby train station and ready to head out for tomorrow's adventure! | Memorable phrases from our trip! --"christchurcharockerolla Road" --Dave, our navigator --"crispsp?" as said on the airplane by an attendant --" I thought he said KOALA" when in fact it was a goanna, as Noopur stood in a field while we stared at her... --"They have little dickies" --perverted artist in Hokitika | 12 December 2008

97: Language Guide to Australia: ARVO = Afternoon Barbie = BBQ Brekky = Breakfast Cab Sav = Cabernet Sauvignon Corker = something excellent Cozzie = Bathing suit Coat hanger = The Sydney Harbour Bridge Fair Dinkum = True, Genuine No worries = Not a problem Pav = Pavloava, a rich creaming Australian Dessert (unless you are from NZ--then a Pav is from NZ!) | Kia Ora New Zealand | Cuppa = Have a cup of tea? Snag = Sausage ("throw another snag on the barbie" She'll be right = It'll turn out ok Crook = someone that is ill, "Are you crook?" or "He/she is crook" Sunnies = Sunglasses Thongs = casual footwear/flip-flops/slippahs Budgie smugglers = Speedo swimwear for men | FInally! A sunny day in SYDNEY worth a SUNDRESS! | 13 December 2008

98: Memorable Qoutes from the Trip: --"Yanni is ___" I forgot what we were talking about. --"HORSE!" --"Thanks Dave!" --"Shut-Up Dave!" --"and if we get shells, there is a special thing we have to do to clean them...I know how to do it...bleach is involved" Kristi about picking up shells outside Australia. --"Mame, those shells need to be confiscated." Customs official to Kristi bringing in collected shells not properly cleaned! | Nau mai, Max Brenner Chocolate! | 13 December 2008

99: Memorable Trip Quotes: --"You look just like the guy in the drawing!" says Shilpa to Quade at the House of wood, aka the guy in the drawing! --"Something's in the road! GIRLS GET A CAMERA!!!! Andrea on KI. --"That is a cassowary nest." says leader of large tree fern growth (cassowaries are ground birds) --"We want to go to an opal mine!!!" and then there:"OOOOhh!" Hehe... --"It is not just a hat rack, my friend!" --"I do not know who this Pete is you speak of..but he does not love you!" Noops to Andrea. --"Shit on a stick" "Shit, shit, shit, crap on a stick" "For the Love of Pete." Andrea --"X, Y, Zed." Shilpa --"We need to be at () by () o'clock." Noopur --"We spent 3 hours hunting for platypus and we never saw one. " Shilpa to a hiker at the glacier. --"Good onya." --"G'day" --"How ya goin?" | Dorothy, Are you home?

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  • By: Kris W.
  • Joined: almost 10 years ago
  • Published Mixbooks: 6
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  • Title: New Zealand December 2008
  • SHilpa Vyas, Andrea Murphy & Kris Wheeler go to South ISland NZ for a drive trip to sample the island. Starting 30Nov 2008 in Christchurch, ending back at Christchurch on 11Dec08 for a return to Sydney. ALSO includes 12-13 Sydney events with Shilpa!
  • Tags: 2008, dec, new, zealand
  • Published: over 8 years ago