Page 11 of Doug Gschwind Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch February 16th 2008

Somehow I stumbled upon the recently opened Hotel SO, and it was one of the coolest hotel rooms I can say that I have stayed in. While it was tiny (probably 9' by 10' or so), it had a thin flat screen or possibly plasma TV at the foot of the bed. When you turned it on, by default it was on the "wake" channel, with cool pictures of nature and soothing mild tones in the background. While I did not use the wake feature of the TV and console next to the bed, would have been cool to wake to on a regular basis. The commode and shower area were entirely enclosed in a 5' radius within a 90 degree area. There was about a 16" area between the foot of the bed and the ... read more
Commode and Shower Stall area
Edge of shower is just 18" from edge of bed
Console Area

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Picton February 15th 2008

I ended up going to this no frills fast'ish food place twice for Fish and Chips. I got the upgrade #1 both times which was described on the menu as two fish and one full scoop chips for NZD $10.20. Each piece of fish was quite large and meaty. They pile it all in a brown paper bag, and hand it over the counter to you, but only if you have a ticket! Oh, and tartar sauce and tomato sauce were both extra. It helped to quaff a pint after this kind of feed bag.... read more
No Ticket, No Tuckah

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Picton February 15th 2008

After my Swim with Dolphins tour, I got warmed up and dried off and did this little hike on the South East corner of Picton, and was told there were great views up there. The hike was nice and the views were quite nice. Just enough exercise to warrant a trip to the pub for a pint afterwards.... read more
Tirohanga Track Trailhead
Fern Lined Trail
Nice quite to the top yet

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Picton February 14th 2008

Upon arrival in Picton, which is I believe the smallest town I visited in New Zealand, I did a quick charge around town to get the lay of the land. Here are some photos from that excursion. By the way, I was supposed to stay in a NZD $115.00/night studio in the Aldan Lodge, but they didn't have any studios available when I arrived, so I got a nice upgrade for free to a 5 bed, two level unit with a circular (but quaint) staircase to the upper level loft. Pretty nice digs for me I must say.... read more
Picton Foreshore
Picton Foreshore
Flying Haggis

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington February 14th 2008

The ferry from Wellington in the North Island of New Zealand to Picton in the South Island (or vice versa) is noted as being one of the most scenic ferry rides in the world. Hence, I was quite interested in checking it out. This blog entry covers that short journey. It is a three hour ride. The first hour takes you from Wellington out into Cook Strait (the body of water that separates the two islands), its an hour to cross Cook Strait, then its another hour once in the channel through the Marlborough Sounds into Picton. You can see one island from the other, as they are really not that far apart : some 14 nautical miles separates the two islands at their closest point. There wasn't much sun for a majority of this ferry ... read more
Biggest Ship I have ever been on
Interesting retractable Bow
No one allowed past that point

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington February 13th 2008

I arrived into Wellington late in the afternoon on the 13th, and really had no plans of what to do there, until a passenger on my bus suggested that I take the Cable Car and see some good views of the city afforded from the hilltop there. I was quite glad she made that suggestion, as the views were pretty nice, and the garden was quite cool as well, with many footpaths in amongst it with plenty of change in elevation. I saw a few people jogging on those footpaths and they looked like were getting a fair workout. The cable car runs until about 10pm nightly, and a round trip I believe cost me NZD $4.80. It is a short ride though, and you make it from bottom to top or vice versa in about ... read more
Wellington Botanic Garden
Lambton Quay
Looking East

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua February 12th 2008

I arrived in Rotorua on the evening of the 11 Feb 2008 and my accommodation was the Regal Geyserland Hotel which has the Whakarewarewa Thermal Wonderland in its backyard. That was pretty cool in that I had a first floor room and could open the patio door and walk about 50 feet and take the pictures of the geyser and mud pot area that you see in these photos. While I tried to get accommodation pretty close to the bus station in each town, saving me time and hassle, I did the worst job in Rotorua. While there was a golf course right across the street from my hotel in Rotorua, it was the better part of two miles to the bus station. I like to walk and got a good amount of walking in during ... read more
Lotso Mud Pots
How much does gas cost here?
Big ole palm tree

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Plenty » Whakatane February 11th 2008

Today was to be my tour of the island that the Maori people call Whakaari (White Island to you and me), approximately 29 miles North into the Pacific Ocean from Whakatane. I went to bed the night before with a heavy cloud cover in Whakatane, thinking that once we got to the island the following morning (and the tour for the following morning was confirmed at 7pm the night before, taking weather into account), it wouldn't be very photo worthy as the weather on the night of the 10th was basically fairly heavy fog and misting rain. In any case, I woke up at around 6:30am, looked outside, and the conditions had actually worsened, or so it seemed. I got my workout going, looked back outside about 45 minutes later, and WOW! The fog was receeding, ... read more
Statue of Wairaka
Dolphins off the Bow
Dolphins off the Bow

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland February 9th 2008

For NZD $22.50, I went up to the main observation deck of the Sky Tower in downtown Auckland. You could pay an additional $3 and take an elevator a little further up to the Sky Deck, but I elected to not do that. Here are some photos that I took on that visit. The Sky Tower itself is some 328 meters in total height. The main observation deck where I took my photos from is 186 meters above street level. The Sky Deck is another 34 meters higher at 220 meters above street level. Some great views were to be had from that elevation. The Sky Tower also has what is known as the Sky Jump. They put you in a harness fixed to cable, and drop you over the side of the building from 192 ... read more
From Base
Sky Jump Landing Platform
From Main Observation Deck

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland » Rangitoto February 9th 2008

Rangitoto island is visible from Auckland, and is a short ferry ride (about 20 minutes) from Auckland. It last erupted some 800 years ago, and the rock on the island is quite a bit lighter than you would expect due to the air bubbles locked in the rock. This was a pretty new experience to me. You could take some transport fairly high up the peak, but I and others chose to hike it. At the trailhead, it was noted that it would take about an hour to reach the summit. As I headed up and saw the summit in the distance, it didn't seem like I would be able to get there in an hour, but as it turns out, I think it was fairly accurate. I ended up spending about 2 hours and 45 ... read more
Thats it
That's where I am going
On the island

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