Page 4 of Two of Us Travel Blog Posts


Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Routeburn Track October 3rd 2014

October 3 - After a hearty breakfast at the Kinloch Lodge, we headed for the Routeburn Track, one of the most popular tracks in New Zealand. The full track is 32 km long, and we were doing just a portion of it. Near this area is where the scenes for Isengard in LOR were filmed. The track is a long, gradual uphill. Thick, mossy brush and ferns grow along the edge of a very steep valley that contains a clear aquamarine stream. There were a few suspension bridges along the path we followed that spanned this stream. The track had been altered since Brian was on it last. It now went up the mountain, skirting the marsh-filled flat. Perhaps this was done so the track would not get flooded out when there were heavy rains, but ... read more
Mountain Magic
The Routeburn Track
Over we go!

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Queenstown October 2nd 2014

October 2 - In the morning we said goodbye to Chris and Lesley, and took a tour of Queenstown before heading off for our first ‘official tramp’ in the New Zealand bush. Now, in Canada where I’m from, a ‘tramp’ is a word not much used nowadays. But, when I was growing up, a tramp was a hobo or a bum or someone down on their luck. Here, a tramp is a trek or a hike. Before reaching this tramp, we drove through the Remarkables along Lake Wakatipu. David's photo fingers were just itching as the weather was not great -- perfect for him. Lake Sylvan is an easy, beautiful trail through the bush with plenty of beach trees and green moss. At the beginning, there is a suspension bridge that needs to be crossed. This ... read more
Jewel in the mountains
APH Conference in the woods
"Princess & the Pea" - My kindred spirit

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Central Otago October 1st 2014

October 1 – We left Dunedin and headed out for Central Otago today. Within a short time we were surrounded by large, green, rolling hills. David was scouting for photo-taking opportunities when we came upon a sea of schist rocks (shale-looking rocks that split easily) near Middlemarch. We stopped and Brian told us this was where the scene of Radagast the Brown Wizard and his giant Rhosgobel Rabbits pulling the sleigh in the Lord of the Rings was filmed. I have tried to confirm this, however, it seems that there is much written about the rabbits, but little about where it was filmed. (There were lots of rabbits in the area, but I don’t think any of them were Rhosgobel Rabbits!) I did find, the Rohan village of Rohirrim was filmed close to another place we ... read more
Star show over Lake Wakatipu
Photographing in 'Rohan' - Central Otago
Photographer 'Heaven'

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin September 30th 2014

September 30 – Today we visited the Dunedin Botanical gardens and saw more rhododendrons than I knew existed! (and this was early spring – there are more to come!) There were numerous gardens with plants from various countries, some that I even recognized! We stopped at Signal Hill in Dunedin which offers wonderful views of the city. While the wind whipped around our heads, Brian painted a picture of the first ships coming into the harbour led by Scottish evangelists from the Free Church of Scotland standing on the ship's bow reading the bible -- they really must have thought they were creating a new Eden! We then headed off for a brief view of Baldwin Street which is considered to be the steepest road in the world! Following lunch, we did a short tour of ... read more
First Church of Otago - Dunedin
David Surrounded by Flowers!
Dunedin University

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin September 29th 2014

September 29 (continued) - In the afternoon, Larnach Castle and Gardens were the next stop on the ‘tour.’ Brian and Diane’s next-door neighbour owns the castle. (Of course, their neighbour owns a castle, doesn’t everyone have a neighbour that owns a castle!) Anyway, Margaret has spent most of her life bringing it back from a very dilapidated state when she and her husband purchased it in 1967. We had a delicious lunch in the castle ‘ballroom’ and headed out to explore the gardens. Throughout the gardens were touches of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – the Cheshire cat sits hiding in a tree, there are statues of the Duchess and Knave of Hearts, a bronze golden-haired Alice holding a flamingo, a door in a tree, and even the Queen’s big red chair! Diane has written a children’s book ... read more
Diane with Alice
The 'Queen' on her throne
Cheshire Cat

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin September 29th 2014

September 29 – Before I start this day, I should talk about how we came to be at Brian and Diane’s home. Almost three years ago, I attended the Association of Personal Historian’s conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a conference that brings together people who are interested in collecting, recording and publishing the stories we often cherish, but don’t always write down. Most of the people at the conference come from across the United States with a smaller contingent from Canada, and even a smaller number from other countries. Two of these people were Brian and Diane, and I happened to sit at their table. In the course of conversation, I mention that I had an aunt in Auckland, and someday hoped to visit New Zealand. Well, not needing any further explanation, they pulled ... read more
Our barefooted guide
Sea Lion Pup
Magnificent Magnolia

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin September 28th 2014

Around six o’clock we arrived in Dunedin, and drove straight to Brian & Diane’s home. I should rephrase this – it’s impossible to drive straight to their home as you first have to drive along a twisty, turny coastal road and then almost straight up another road until you finally arrive at their home which overlooks the ocean on McAndrew Bay. How they EVER leave the place, I’ll NEVER know! Their cozy home was originally a cabin or as it’s known here, a crib. It was built sometime in the 1930’s with bits and pieces added over time. Where the original rooms were is not entirely certain. Outside the home are gardens with some plants I recognized (only they're bigger here) and an incredibly large hedge that helps to block out some of the fierce winds ... read more
Brian in his Domain!
'gee zee jay 7' by the Hedge
Trimming the Hedge

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin September 28th 2014

September 28 – After leaving Christchurch, our first stop was in the Victorian Precinct of Oamaru. This is an area filled with fabulous shops in turn-of-the-century buildings selling Victorian arts and crafts, clothing, and souvenirs. Many of the shops had people who were dressed up in Victorian costumes as well as artisans right on site, one of whom was and interesting chap (Brian had told us about) named Michael O’Brien. He operates a book binder shop – a truly unique profession in this day of print-on-demand. Of course, there was also the Whiskey Shop which David found interesting, but not nearly enough time to explore (read: he didn’t do any tasting.) We did however, do some tasting at Annie’s Tea House. I don’t usually have dessert, but it’s one of those things I love doing when ... read more
Steam Punk HQ
Historic Street in Oamaru
Eclectic Shop in Oamaru

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch September 27th 2014

September 27 – Today we flew from Rotorua to Christchurch. The Rotorua Airport is a very small affair with no security screening, and so was the AT72 turbo prop we flew on. I sat at a window seat, so I had great views of the island as we flew. The land is very flat in some areas and quite rugged is others. Mostly it was a blanket of green, except for the white tops of the mountains. Really beautiful. We picked up our rental car – not nearly as cool as our first, and probably won’t be as fun on the twisty roads. (This is a Nissan Wingroad, kind of a small station wagon, or long hatchback). The licence plate is GZJ7 (gee zee jay 7 – not quite 007, but still cool.) After lunch at ... read more
Banks Peninsula
Banks Peninsula
Gingerbread House B&B

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua September 26th 2014

September 26 – After breakfast and a chat with our great B&B host, Vivian, we headed off for a hike. But first we had to drive around a bit. (David does like to drive these twisty roads in our brand new zippy car!) Eventually, we found the Okareka Walkway, a trail that went along a lake. It was a cool, windy day (even the birds didn’t look pleased) so we battened down the hatches and started off. Other than one other couple, we were quite alone until our way back when we met one lone man from England. David, who was further up the path, met Jeffery first. When I caught up, Jeffery broke into song, “It’s good to see you today! it’s good to see you today!" I thought he would stop after this, but ... read more
David on the Okareka Walkway
Canada Geese
Ducks




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