S: New Zealand, 2/20-3/12/10
BC: New Zealand 2/20-10-3/12/10 Kathy Averill Joyce Horstman Ernie & Norma Truax
FC: New Zealand 2010
1: We leave Rochester 2/20/10 | Auckland, City of Sails | Chinese Festival
2: Waiheke Island-took ferry on our first day in Auckland. Many vineyards and residences here. | Whaitangi | Wh | Whaitangi Treaty House-a significant historical site where the Maori reached agreement with settlers.
3: The Maori: New Zealand's indigenous people. Thought to have originated in Vietnam and then through Polynesian waters before settling. | The Bay of Islands (144 total islands). Reminded me of the Thousand Islands. This is mainly a resort area. 'Hole in the Rock' is a tourist attraction. The town is Paihia, meaning 'good here'.
4: Water was cool, but refreshing. No one was swimming--season is late fall. | More Bay of Islands--small town, Russell--ferry ride back from 'Hole in Rock'--reminded me of Ireland.
5: Day 5-On to Rotorua--a very long drive from Bay of Islands. Much geothermal activity here. | We stay overnight at Norm & Judy Fleming's--a wonderful lamb dinner and tour of farm. | Agrofarm sheep & dog show. Mostly use the 'Huntaway' dogs here because they have more endurance for mountains than border collies. Can cost up to $4,000.
6: 'Bee Hive' building is government. Wellington is capital. Very reminiscent of San Francisco. The north island produces trees for the world. This is NZ's main export ('green money')--mostly pine. | Day 6- To Wellington Passed by Mt Ngauruahoe in Tongariro Nat'l Pk . Wellington also referred to as "Wellywood', due to Peter Jackson's movie studios (Lord of the Rings, etc)
7: To Christchurch across the Strait of Cook ('the most beautiful ferry trip in the world!') Also, my birthday. | We leave our wonderful Kiwi driver behind---Ian McDonald kept us entertained with jokes about dead possums, Aussies and his amazing knowledge of NZ.
8: Day 9--Transalpine train thru Arthur's Pass to Franz Josef glacier. The land on the west side of mts gets 200 in of rain/yr; while the east side is very arid with some grasslands. The glacier flows into a rain forest!
9: To Queenstown: beautiful high peaks, many bicyclists and backpackers. Lake Hawea and Wanaka are popular vacation spots for the locals. Rural and very dependent on tourist trade.
10: Queensland: an amazing city where anything is possible. If you can jump off it, swim in it, jump out of it or ride on it...it happens here. Lots of young folks support the tourists by working here for 6 mo on a visa until they move on. Mostly foreigners here.
11: Jeep tour to locations of movie, ski areas and Arrowtown, a gold mining town. | Public beach in town. Mts in backgd are 'the Remarkables'.
12: Mirror Lakes: a testament to the total lack of pollution here. | Mitre's Peak: entrance to the sound. | Milford Sound: Spectacular fiords. Seals, but no whales to be seen.
13: To Mt Cook: We stop to be amazed at all the spectacular mountains and lakes. Then we take a plane to top of Franz Joseph glacier. Ice pack on top is up to 2,000 ft thick. Soot on glacier caused by ash debris from brush fires in Australia.
14: Our journey nears the end. We stop at private ranch to see sheep shearing, then on to Christchurch for a day of leisure before we leave. | The Hermitage hotel at Mt Cook...quite famous. Walking trail with beautiful views of mountains.
15: Food was varied, and good. Seafood, venison, lamb, and beef plus lots of fresh produce. 50% of energy on south island is hydroelectric. | Pukeko | Many sheep farms are being converted to dairy due to low price for wool.
19: 'The Remarkables:--so named because they're the only mountain range to run directly north to south.