S: New Zealand Trip 2012
BC: Farewell New Zealand until next time....
1: NEW ZEALAND | NEW ZEALAND | ARRIVED 3 FEB 2012 | New Zealand is an island country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses that of the North and South Islands as well as numerous smaller islands.
2: The North Island is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, separated from the slighty larger but much less populous South Island by Cook Strait. The island is 113,729 square kilometres (43,911 sq mi) in area, making it the world's 14th-largest island. | NEW ZEALAND
4: We can't believe it!! We are finally going to a place we have dreamed of. A place where there are mountains, beaches, rain forests all within a small country call New Zealand. What a trip of a lifetime. Here we come!
6: AUCKLAND - City of Sails is the largest and most populous urban area in the country and has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. On our first day we enjoyed a cruise on the Pride of Auckland sailboat and on Monday had a trip to Mt. Eden, crossed the Harbour Bridge, stopped at Parnell Village and Auckland Domain, a park located on a volcano. In the evening we had dinner at the Waterfront and visited the Chinese Lantern Festival.
8: WAIHEKE ISLAND While some of the gang watched the Super Bowl, a small group of us headed to the island for a wine tour. We visited Kennedy Point, Obsidian and Mudbrick Wineries. Here we stopped to dabble our toes in the sea.
10: WAITOMO GLOWWORM CAVES Meaning water entering a hole in the ground, Waitomo is home to a labyrinth of limestone caves. On Tuesday we left Auckland and stopped for a cave tour.
12: CAMBRIDGE FARM STAY Our group split up to stay at various farms in the area for a wonderful dinner, evening out under the stars and hearty breakfast. We stayed with Mari and Warwick.
14: ROTORURA | "The second great lake of Kahumatamomoe" is a city on the southern shores of the lake in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island. The city is known for its geothermal activity, and features geysers and hot mud pools. We visited Mills Reef Winery and enjoyed some great Syrah and stocked up for happy hour. We then had a tour of the 360 Kiwi farm had a lovely buffet lunch, with kiwi ice cream and then had dinner at the Pig and Whistle a former police station. Great fish and chips!
16: Wai-O-Tapu | Thermal Wonderland
17: Wai-O-Tapu - Sacred Waters is covered with collapsed craters, cold and boiling pools of mud, water and steaming funaroles. Volcanic activity dates back 160,000 years and the reserve is located on the edge of the largest volcanic depression within the zone. .
18: Rainbow Springs Nature Reserve
20: TAMARI VILLAGE
21: TRADITIONAL WELCOME CEREMONY, CONCERT AND EARTHEN OVEN FEAST.
22: is the larger of the two major islands. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean. The South Island is sometimes called the "Mainland". While it has a 33% larger landmass than the North Island, only 24% of New Zealand's inhabitants live in the South Island. After cramming our suitcases with wine, we flew from Rotorua to Christchurch where we encountered our first and only rainy day. Some golfed in the rain while others shopped or explored the city. We could not go downtown due to the earthquake that devastated the area in February 2011. | SOUTH ISLAND
24: Christchurch is New Zealand's second-largest city and the gateway to the South Island. Bordered by hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the edge of the Canterbury Plains that stretch to the Southern Alps. Upon arrival we headed to the Antarctica Aquarium where we saw penguins, displays and took in a 4D show. You can see the destruction of the buildings while driving into the city.
26: TRANSALPINE TRAIN Truly one of the world’s great scenic train trips through the dramatic contrast of dry beech forests and tussock land on one side of the Alps and lush green landscapes on the other. From Christchurch, cross the patchwork farmland of the Canterbury plains, follow the Waimakariri river, climbing into alpine scenery on a series of spectacular viaducts. Then, after stopping at Arthur's Pass, emerge from the long Otira Tunnel and descend through sub tropical rain forest past beautiful Lake Brunner and on to Greymouth.
28: Franz Josef is a small town in the West Coast region. The Waiho River runs from the Glacier through the town, and into the Tasman Sea. After a long wait for a new bus, we arrived just in time to take a magnificent helicopter ride.
30: HAAST RIVER SAFARI What a blast! We took a 90 minute jet boat safari along te Haast River between Franz Josef and Queenstown. Great guide and loved the 360's!
32: Queenstown, South Island What a view! The ride up the gondola was spectacular and some of us took the chair lift up to the top and took the luge down to the viewing platform. What a fun way to race down. The lunch in the restaurant was a huge buffet and the view was to die for!
34: Walter Peak Queenstown | After a full day of shopping, and a trip up to Bob's Peak, we headed via the T.S.S. Earnslaw, a vintage steam ship to Walter Peak Sheep Station on an island on Lake Wakatipu. Ann and Linda lost their room key on ship but it was returned with quite an offer! We had a delicious buffet dinner at the station followed by a sheep herding display and shearing demonstration. We sang songs on the return trip home.
36: MILFORD SOUND is a fjord in the south west of New Zealand's South Island, within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve, and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. It is acclaimed as New Zealand's most famous tourist destination.
38: Beautiful | Fiordland
40: DUNEDIN is the second-largest city in the South Island and the principal city of the Otago Region. We stayed right downtown and had tours of Speights brewery and Cadbury chocolate factory and strolled and enjoyed the lovely architecture.
42: Brewery Tour | SPEIGHTS
43: HAPPY 80TH BILL HANCE
44: Love Chocolate! | CADBURY
46: Moeraki Boulders 40 kilometers south of Oamaru, is a beach where hundreds of calcium carbonate spheres have fallen out of a cliff face and rolled down into the water. They range in size from small nodules to giant balls over 4 meters in diameter.
48: LARNACH CASTLE has a tragic and scandalous history. Built by William Larnach, the castle overlooks the spectacular Otago Peninsula, harbour and Dunedin. Great lunch and views!
50: PENGUIN PLACE | After the Castle we had a frightening drive through breathtaking scenery and winding hillsides to the Conservation Reserve. We were able to view endangered Yellow Eyed Penguins in their native habitat. We watched from trenches the nesting penguins - they sure were not very active. We also viewed seals basking in the summer sun and blue penguins. What a beautiful day with perfect weather.
53: We headed north to Christchurch for our last evening together. It is another gorgeous day and we stopped for lunch at Speights Brewhouse again in Oamaru which has wonderful architecture, lovely gardens and a hilltop view of the sea and town.
54: OAMARU | Oamaru is renowned for its excellent Limestone buildings, coastal wildlife and walks. Attractions worth visiting include: The Art Gallery, Museum, Historical Precinct and the Magnificent Catholic Cathedral. The Harbour-Tyne Street area is also a must-see and the shopping is amazing too.
56: STONETOWN TRAVEL NEW ZEALAND 2012 14 days of laughs, stories, great adventures, views, food, tours, and new friends.
58: FAREWELL DINNER
60: Farewell Dinner | CHRISTCHURCH
61: What a great ending to a fabulous trip!
62: BAY OF ISLANDS is located 60 km north-west of Whangarei, it is close to the northern tip of the country. It is one of the most popular fishing, sailing and tourist destinations in the country, and has been renowned internationally for its big-game fishing.
64: BONDI BEACH is one of Australia's most famous beaches and among the world's most well-known beaches. The beach is roughly a kilometer long and is located on the east coast of Australia and is a suburb of the city of Sydney.
65: View from our balcony out to Bay of Islands.
66: After the busy last two weeks it is nice to be staying in one place and overlooking the beautiful Bay of Islands. We spent the days exploring the area and the evenings on the balcony enjoying the view and the New Zealand wines!
68: RUSSELL formerly known as Kororareka, was the first permanent European settlement and sea port in New Zealand. A car ferry across the Bay of Islands runs between Okiato and Opua, and is the main tourist access to Russell. Quaint town, shops and great fishing! Enjoyed fish and chips.
72: RAINBOW FALLS
74: PIAHAI | is the main tourist town in the Bay of Islands in the far north of the North Island of New Zealand. It is located close to the historic towns of Russell, and Kerikeri, 60 kilometres north of Whangarei. We stayed in this area for four nights and enjoyed visiting the town of Russell by ferry, Kerikeri, and driving along the coast of the Bay of Islands. We also got a chance to meet up with Len and Janice at happy hour and for dinner on our last night. Great end to a fabulous trip!
78: Retirement is fabulous so far, where are we going next?