Page 5 of Two of Us Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua September 25th 2014

September 25 – Rotorua’s main claim to fame is its volcanic features, so today we explored one of these sites. Wai-O-Tapu is 18 square kilometers and has a number of thermal features including vents, fumaroles, boiling mud and colorful pools with names like Devil’s Bath, Champagne Pool and Artist’s Palette. It was like a mini Yellow Stone. The most prominent feature in the park is the Lady Knox Geyser that erupts at 10:15 every day (with a little help.) As nature is never this punctual, some surfactant is added to the cone and within a few minutes, off it goes shooting water (and some suds) high into the air! This trick of getting the geyser to erupt was first discovered by prisoners in the early 1900’s who used the vent to clean their clothes. The hot ... read more
Huka Falls
Lake Ngakoro - end of the trail

Oceania » New Zealand September 24th 2014

September 24 "The world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there!" – Gandalf Today we entered a magical world and walked in the footsteps of Frodo, Bilbo and Gandalf. We went to the Shire in Hobbiton! I was concerned it might be a tourist trap, and … it was, and … it wasn’t. The price was a little much, but the experience for two dedicated LOR fans it was definitely worth it. We had ginger beer in the Green Dragon, walked under the Party Tree, and visited Bag End. David and I had such fun here and took a slew of photos. It was so hard to choose which ones to use, so I made up a little story with them. It just seemed like the right thing to do. "It’s a dangerous ... read more
Bag End
The Shire
Nice neighbourhood

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua September 23rd 2014

September 22 – Our last day in Auckland was dreary, wet, and cold with a stiff breeze. Pat dropped us off at the rental car agency. Goodbyes are always hard but, in this case, we will get to meet again in another couple of weeks before we leave for Canada. I was very tired today and had a hard time keeping awake as David drove to Rotorua. (Perhaps it was the three glasses of wine I had last night – a lot for me.) I did wake from time to time as there were fierce downpours and stiff winds blowing much of the way. Later, we learned that there were power outages in much of Auckland after we left. It seems this kind of thing happens when we leave a place; Darwin also lost power for ... read more
David framed
Walking in the Redwoods
In the Redwoods

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland September 21st 2014

September 21 – It was a rather soggy start to the day, so we had a quieter morning and a longer coffee. As it started to clear, Pat loaded us in her car once again and took us on a tour of Auckland even stopping to let me take a photo of a Pukeko bird – an odd looking blue and black fowl with a red beak. At Achilles Point we looked out over the Hauraki Gulf and Brown’s Island. It was a cool day with gusty winds so there were no nudists on Ladies Beach which is visible from the point. Next, we went to a park and lookout that honours, Michael Joseph Savage who was the first labour Prime Minister and initiated the welfare state in New Zealand. Our little tour continued onto North ... read more
Cheers to Auckland!
'Black & Blue Chicken'
View from Michael Joseph Savage Memorial

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland September 20th 2014

September 20 – This morning we woke to gray skies and sheets of rain, so we decided that a trip to the Sydney Museum would be a good idea. This is a massive building that contains more displays than one could possibly do in one day, but we gave it a good go! Much of the displays on the first floor are dedicated to the Maori culture which are New Zealand’s indigenous people that came from Polynesia. There were many things about them that reminded me of the Hawaiians. We also went to a cultural performance which was just wonderful! The dancing and the harmonies of the music are beautiful and I wished I could have got up and joined them. In the afternoon, Pat’s friend, Mike picked us up and drove us to the west ... read more
David in the distance
I see you!

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island September 19th 2014

In the afternoon, Pat drove us to the Botanical Winter Gardens and left us to explore on our own. A winter garden to me sounds like an oxymoron! In Canada my ‘winter garden’ sits under three feet of snow and sleeps until spring. But here in New Zealand, this winter garden was full of beautiful flowers – snap dragons, tulips, orchids, lilies, and pansies. There was also an entire garden filled with a variety of ferns. On our hike back to Pat’s home, we went down a path called the ‘Forest Walk’ that had a little gurgling brook surrounded by rain forest trees and vegetation. It was hard to believe we were in the middle of a city.... read more
David with the flowers
Pretty in Pink

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland September 19th 2014

September 19 - On our first morning in Auckland, we ate breakfast in Pat’s kitchen which is the best room in the house as it overlooks the lush green valley. The sun came and went this morning as it popped in and out between rain showers. After breakfast, Pat drove us to Cornwall Park which provides a retreat in the middle of the city. The park is also a working farm with cattle and sheep with their new-born lambs doting the hillsides. I felt like I was in a bucolic painting from the 1900’s. We drove to the summit in the park called One Tree Hill (or its Maori name, Maungakiekie) which is a 597 foot volcanic peak and allows one to see in all directions. We were able to see both the east and west ... read more
Ruins in Cornwall Park
"Painting" in the Park
Shhh ... you'll scare away the faries

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland September 18th 2014

September 18 – Today, we woke early and took a taxi to the airport where we were given a complimentary membership to the “airport exercise club.” Our class today was running from our original gate at one of the terminal to the new gate at the other end of the terminal. Eventually, we loaded onto our plane and were on our way to Auckland. Our first glimpse of New Zealand was through the clouds where a patchwork of green covering the hilly landscape was revealed. My cousin, Jacquie and two of her children, Erin and Owen, met us at the airport. This was no easy feat for Jacquie as she also has one other child, Kiera that she left with ‘Nana’ earlier in the day so we could all fit into her car with our luggage. ... read more
Front of Pat's Home
Roland, Jacquie with their children - Erin, Owen & Kieria

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney September 17th 2014

September 17 – Today we explored Sydney – a city that fairly oozes art, history, culture, and parks – just a feast for the senses!! We were fortunate that the skies had cleared and although a bit breezy, it was a lovely day. We had company on this day as well. Keith, one of David’s long-time colleagues from the University had arrived in Sydney the day before. (He had flew in to surprise his niece on her Grade 12 graduation - nice uncle!) Keith has been to Sydney several times, and knew a great deal about the city, so he became our unofficial tour guide. By days end, we hiked about 10 kms through the Botanical Gardens, Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Sydney Museum, and of course, the Harbour. Both nights we had supper at ... read more
Glowing Tall Ship
Iconic Sydney Opera House
Fountain in Hyde Park

Oceania » Australia September 15th 2014

September 15 – Judy and Mal took a tour of the area this morning while David and I went to Uluru for a hike. Up close, it was a fascinating place with several caves that were once used by the indigenous people. The trail ended at a sheer cliff face that went up hundreds of feet. In the rainy season, water would fall over this cliff face. After returning to the hotel, we had a dip in the pool. As the pool is heated by the blazing sun, it was quite warm (not like our cool Alberta pools) so it was just right for me – my sons would have hated it. September 16 – David, Judy and Mal rose early to watch the sun rise over Uluru. Having seen the sun rise on camel back, ... read more
Hello Sydney

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