I have a year to travel starting this summer of 2008. I will start in the United Kingdom, then cross to Ireland. Then I plan to go to Poland and Ukraine. Depending upon the political climate, I may venture into Turkey. In preparation, I have spent many hours reading other peoples' blogs. I wonder how my adventure will unfold?


Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland » North Shore August 22nd 2010

Winding down from gypsy-mode and packing bags today. Its been a great venture throughout New Zealand.... read more
Raining Hard
Skyline in fog

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Islands » Paihia August 19th 2010

Second try successful. What a great morning on 'dolfin adventure' boat (see previous blog). I decided to use the voucher from two days ago and repeat the boat tour. If you ever come to Paihia I recommend this tour company because if you do not see dolfins they give you a voucher to return again, and there is no timelimit. The longest record for keeping and using the ticket is 14 years. And because we only saw dolfins during the last part of trip and didn't have time to set up swimming with them, we all got a voucher to return. That means I get three trips for the price of one, if I come back with the ticket. I can use it in Auckland and get half price for that boat tour. The biggest thrill ... read more
Ready to go
Coming through
Other Way

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Ninety Mile Beach August 18th 2010

Today was the last of the touristy things I'll do on this holiday. I took the tour up to Cape Reinga the very northern tip of the country. The best part was driving along the 90-Mile Beach. Actually it is made of two beaches and the main one was 64 miles (104 kilometres) and that is where our bus traveled. Beautiful! I wish I had my own car...not my real one, but a decent one to rent. You have to make sure you go during low tide, otherwise you might be swept out to sea or the car could be buried in wet sand. We stopped to sand surf. Funny...I didn't really care what was involved in this bus trip as long as I got to the top and drove along the '90 mile beach'. Who ... read more
Don't Get Stuck

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Islands » Paihia August 17th 2010

This is the best place to end my tour of New Zealand. I'm here for a few days and will return to Auckland city before I fly home. Today I took the 'Swim With Dolfins' boat tour to see the 144 islands in the Bay. The scenery was lovely but we didn't see any dolfins so they gave us a voucher to return anytime. I might try again before I leave. Its 3-4 hours on a boat, a great way to see the Bay of Islands and maybe some dolfins. This was suppose to be the warmest part of New Zealand, closest to equator. The central restaurant says we are 35 degrees south. There are several low pressures going by so the weather is sun and rain and sun and hail, etc. No matter what the ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Matamata August 15th 2010

So there I was, in hostel in Whakatane (the 'wh' is the 'f' sound and it really sounds like 'f@ck-a-tawny') pouring over a map to plot my next move.....and I saw 'hobbittown' in the countryside between Tauranga and Rotorua. I figured I could drive along the coast of the Bay of Plenty then jig south to pop in on my way to Waitomo's famous limestone caves with glow worms. The advertisements indicated that the movie set was 90% removed but you could see the mounds and some white round wooden doors. There was yet another rain storm coming the next day, and despite local advice not to drive far I set off along the coast. Bit frustrating cause you rarely see the sea from highway, and soon I entered Tauranga, a popular coastal resort town. I ... read more
Movie Set
Big one

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua August 11th 2010

Last night I went to Rainbow Springs to see the kiwi. What a thrill. You walk through large area with very low fence on either side. The kiwi are running around and can be as close as a few inches away. It was tempting to reach down and touch one, but I refrained. (with difficulty) If you come here, I recommend this site; and come at night first. The ticket is $26 and you can use it again in the morning to go with the staff who feed the animals. Go before nine p.m., because tour groups from nearby Maori dance and meal will come soon after. If you are early you can walk by yourself through forests and cages and blue and green lights. And the best part is that some of the money supports ... read more
Rainbow Springs
Rare Duck

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua August 11th 2010

Where did I leave off? Aaaah, yes, I took the plane from Wellington to Auckland and rented a car and headed south. My plane arrived a bit after four, so I did not have much driving time. If you ever come to New Zealand and want to rent a car, I recommend Jucy Car rentals, but note, they do not have office in Wellington. Also, when you go to Wellington, have an escape plan set up. Probably the best one would be to take the ferry to Picton. For those of you, like me, heading north, the plane is a smart choice. I missed the rush hour traffic of Auckland, but I hit it in nearby town (forget name). I stopped at mall to have supper and avoid the jams, then set off in the dark. ... read more
Winds from Earth Bowels
Centre of Rotorua
Entrance to Museum and Gardens

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington August 8th 2010

Back in Wellington to explore more about this lovely city. Today I went to the bird sanctuary, Zealandia, at top of city. They fenced a valley and lake that once provided the city with drinking water, trapped or poisoned all the predaters such as rats and possum, and reintroduced native species such as bugs, lizards and birds. Its a neat sanctuary because the birds can fly freely as they please and I think many people in Wellington enjoy feathered visiters. There are various displays to educate public about the bugs, birds or lizards. One of my favourites was area where you could push buttons to hear bird calls and they had speakers in surrounding trees so that it seemed as if the bird was right there. I wonder if it confused real birds? The museum/educational centre ... read more
A what?
Wellington Harbour
Reasons why fence is so high

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington August 2nd 2010

Sun is out today and the city is lovey. Today I found 'downtown Wellington' and the parliament buildings that look like a beehive. I took the cable car up to top of Botanical Gardens to get view of the city. All very nice. Wellington is a city with artsy, outdoors public art all over. Throughout the weekday you will see as many people on bicycles or jogging by as you do see business people in suits. In fact, I think there are more 'play areas' for adults than there are children in this city. The ship design resting area on top of the overpass (see photo) is case in point. It was interesting to see people in business suits sitting on wooden benches in a semi-pirate ship eating their bagged lunch. On the rocks in a ... read more
Up in the air

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington August 1st 2010

Great weather, just what I expected for Wellington; a gale blowing through this fine Sunday. The winds are not cold, the rain is minimal and I am running around taking photos of 'the ambiance'. Downtown Wellington has good vibe, lots going on Saturday night. I left my luggage at the hotel today and walked to Te Papa, the famous museum. Its open every day and is free. The design and use of space is admirable. Lots to do for young and old, but this Sunday morning it seemed kids day. Perhaps the strong winds brought parents to the museum with lots of space to run around. There are many interactive areas and short videos with displays. I think if you want to come to the museum to feel the culture, come during weekdays. On the second ... read more

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