S: New Zealand-March 2011
FC: MARCH 2011 | NEW ZEALAND
1: Before we entered New Zealand, we had to fill out our "documents" and then we could enter through this walkway to immigration.
2: Pictures of Auckland as we came into the downtown area from the airport.
3: Arrived in Auckland around 12:00-noon, checked into the hotel, and had free time to check out the city. At about 4:30, we were pooped and decided to rest our weary bodies with a beverage.
4: Yeah-finally we see sunshine and green grass | Stadium at a boys high school--this is NOT turf-it's grass! | Eden Park Stadium The World Cup of Rugby will be played here. | One Tree Hill The U2 song was written here for bandmate from New Zealand who had died.
5: A Volcanic Crater at the top of a hill. Many walkers, runners, and bikers were making their way here!
7: Harbour Boat Tour Headed to Rangitomo Reserve which is an island made of lava rock. Small houses were called "baches"
9: St. Patrick's Day Parade Our bus got stopped by this parade going on right in front of our hotel. I guess because it was a weekend, they started celebrating early. March 17 was 5 days away.
11: We went to the Auckland Museum and saw some very interesting displays. Informative! Back to the harbour for happy hour at Cin Cin's. A few New Zealander women didn't have a place to sit, so we let them join us. They were very friendly--good company.
12: Auckland Sky Tower The tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere-added the antenna so they beat Australia. We rode the elevator to the top: beautiful sites all around the city!
13: More amazing sites from the tower. Below is a picture of the tip of my shoes as I walked across the glass walk!
14: JP-our fearless Trafalgar Tour Guide | Dave-riding the boat into the cave. | Inside the gloworm cave | Boat guide heading back for next group. | Having a great time! | Very interesting architecture for this area.
15: Roadside stop on our way to the thermal springs. Good lunch, yummy ice cream (Dave had the Hokey Pokey), stretched our legs a bit, took in some sites, and then BACK ON THE BUS!!
16: At the Thermal area- T Puia-was a strong sulfur smell but very interesting. We sat on the cement steps and warmed up our tushes. Also learned some history about the women of the Maori tribe.
17: The Mud Baths Our tour guide said that you wouldn't want to even get a drip on you because it would burn you instantly-temperature was about 180 degrees! So much for smooth skin!!
18: Dave was voted "Chief" of our bus tribe as we headed to the Maori cultural performance and dinner. He had to practice giving orders and having us follow. Here he is leading us as we "paddle" our boat. Our tribe was known as the "KIWIS" | We picked up a few other tribe members at area hotels and then as Dave gave the orders, even JP had to follow the "chief"
20: In the town of Rotorua, we visited the Agrodome. We were introduced to types of sheep, saw a sheep-shearing, and did a little milking cows. It was very interesting!
22: Sheep Shearing Demonstration | A very woolly sheep was brought out. It took about 5 minutes for this one guy to shear the sheep, and present us with some wool! Too bad it stunk!
23: Different sheep breeds, and cow milking!! Had to go to New Zealand to learn how! | Sheep dogs showing herding abilities and a "horny" sheep.
24: Rainbow Springs Wildlife area
26: Saying goodbye to our driver on the north island, Kevin (a good sport), having a beverage at the airport, boarding the plane, and departing Rotorua.
27: We viewed some of the damage in Christchurch, but couldn't get close to the "redzone"-there were army tanks blocking the road.
29: At Franz Josef, we had some free time so we went with the bus group to walk part of the path towards the glacier. The rest of the afternoon was for us. Some people shopped, some napped, others were adventurous like Dave and I. We rode a helicopter to the glacier, and hiked for about 2 hours. It was one of the highlights of our trip. Very cool!
30: Boarding the helicopter for our quick flight to the glacier. | Leaving Franz Josef, and flying over the glacier, ready to touch down.
32: Our hiking guide-Richard-! Very knowledgeable. | Dave with his gear-ready to go | Disembarking the helicopter | Nice & sunny-- Fairly warm too!
33: Fun Adventures on Franz Josef Glacier | Some of the caves that we climbed down into, or up out of. The temperature was warm enough that the water was dripping."
34: What a fantastic experience! | The Awesome beauty and sunshine of this region.
35: Leaving the glacier-heading back to town | The trusted helicopter and pilot that got us there & back safely | Overlooking the valley | Hang onto your hats!
36: We woke up today with bags and breakfast at 6:30. Boarded the bus for our trip to Queenstown. First stop was an overlook of the Tasman Sea! Can you believe these views?
37: We also stopped at the river overlook where the water was extremely clear.
38: Thunder Creek Falls! The sound of falling water is so relaxing!
40: Beautiful roses! | Flowers! | Cromwell-Jones Fruit Stall-bought some green gage-yum! | More beautiful water views!
41: On our way to Milford Sound-stopped at TeAnau-cute town, bathrooms, and shopping. | JP and Monika bought me Kiwi gummy worms and Kiwi tea for my birthday-Happy St. Patty's Day!
42: WOW-this waterfall area was just beautiful. The way the water has worn the rocks was unbelievable. the water was calm on one side of the bridge-crashing rapids on the other side!
43: This fern was about 8 feet across-New Zealand is known as the Land of the Silver Fern. They grew everywhere--not quite this big though!
44: When we left Queenstown this morning, it was raining, but the clouds broke, and once we boarded the boat for the tour, the sun came out! Thank goodness!
45: The wind was blowing, but all was right with this trip!
46: A good looking GQ guy on the boat tour! Pretty waterfalls! | Smooth waters! | A harbour tour in New Zealand on my birthday- PRICELESS!
47: JP said we might see dolphins, penguins, and seals. | All we saw were these seals sunning themselves! | The boat captain maneuvered the boat towards the waterfall. We were smart & went inside. Others weren't so lucky! | Having fun! | Smiles all around!
48: Our drive back to queenstown-glorious sites to see
49: Happy St. Patsy's Day! | celebrating my birthday in new zealand! fun times! | a british pub celebrating st. patrick's day.
50: The grape vines! | Learning all about the wines! | Entrance to the Wine Caves | The Cave
51: Our first stop on our wine tour was the Gibbston Valley Winery. Here we toured, tasted, had appetizers, and a wonderful lunch! Beautiful place, and day! | Cheese & Crackers too! | The Vineyards | Wine tasting
52: Chard Farm Winery | Brendan-our trusty wine tour guide and sommelier.
53: Leaving Chard Farm, we saw the river and bridge where the first ever bungee jump was made-the Hackett Bridge Bungee. Scary!
54: We rode the gondola to the top of the skyline. Beautiful views, nice glass of wine at the lookout bar, and a few sheep. | Queenstown is just a short ride down the mountain on the gondola!
55: Sightseeing from the top overlooking the town of Queenstown and the bay. A luge track. | Bikers bring their bikes up on the gondola and then mountain bike down! YIKES!
56: Little did we know that we would be back at Hacketts Bungee the next day. Deidre was the brave "young" soul to be the first jumper of the day & she was in our group!! | Simply Stunning sites! | Another bridge in the distance | The drop!
57: WAY | TO DEIDRE! | GO | Ready | Set | Fly!
58: One more day of driving-more scenery pictures
59: Arrived in Twitzel-viewed snow topped Mount Hood-highest peak (12,000 ft) in the southern hemisphere!
60: New Zealand's Brew- Speight's Gold Medal Ale! Good stuff!! | Our trusty Trafalgar guides: Bus Driver-Monika Tour Guide- JP
61: We left Twitzel at 12:30 am-Arriving in ChristChurch at 4:15am so everyone could catch connecting flights to their next destinations. Our flight wasn't until 10:30am, so we had lots of time at the airport. Enough time for a nap! We had a FABULOUS TIME-thanks new zealand!