Page 15 of tonywilsonslo Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Kaikoura November 25th 2007

We drove from Christchurch in the moring towards Kaikoura and Picton. Kaikoura has lots of ocean tours including Swimming with Dolphins and Seal and Albatross viewing. (Monty Python warning....ALBATROSS!) We took an afternoon tour to look at the Albatross. Kaikoura is one of the few places you can see Albatross so close to land. There is a very deep sea trench close to Kaikoura and at night there are lots of squid and other animals that the albatross eat close to the waters surface. We saw lots of birds and animals on the tour. The birds we saw include Wandering, Black-browed and Salvins Albatross, Petrels, Shearwaters, Shags, Terns, Gulls, a Gannet and a couple of Reef Herons that looked to be setting up a nest. We also saw some New Zealand fur seals and a pod ... read more
Red Beaked Gull
Chris on the Boat

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch November 24th 2007

We got a REALLY late start this morning. We took care of a few things before heading out for the day. We all needed to do some laundry and Tony took the rental car to the local brach because the check engine light kept coming on. The rental company exchanged our Subaru for a Mazda, we'll see how that goes. We went to the Antartic Expirence outside of Christchurch this afternoon. They had lots of information about Antartica and a few really neat things to do. They had one room set up to simulate a storm at the main base in Antartica. The room tmperature started at 17.4 deg F and when the wind started the wind chill brought the temperature down to 0 degrees. We were all bundled up in jackets though and the storm ... read more
Big Kiwi

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch November 24th 2007

Today we got a late start and wandered around Canturbury College and Christchurch City Center. Anne's brother, Matt, asked us to check out the college and the city to see if it would be somewhere he would be interested in teaching after he finishes his Ph.D at Georgia Tech. The college was a typical college built in the early 90s...lots of concrete and glass. there were some very nice gardens and courtyards for students to gather. The college used to be in the city center in some wonderful old buildings from the 1870s. Those buildings are now an art center for the city. The city has a lot of culture and activities (shopping, clubing, shopping, theater, shopping, etc) in the city center and there are a lot of other things to do in the surrounding area ... read more
Some Architecture
Artsy waterwall

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Buller Gorge November 22nd 2007

The rafting trip was not cancled. A couple from the Netherlands signed up for the trip last night. We met up with the rafting company at thier base close to Westport and then followed them up to the take out point. It saved us about an hour's drive east after the rafting trip was done. Then we hopped on the van with the raft and drove to the put in point about 11 km up the buller gorge. The trip was lots of fun. A good introduction to rafting for Chris. There were a few nice rapids and everyone worked well together. Anne got out and floated down the river through some small rapid a couple of times. Tony took a swim twice too, but only once was intentional. Tony also jumped off the side of ... read more
People Rafting
WAY up

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Westport November 22nd 2007

Last night we had a lovely dinner in Franz Josef and then drove to Hokitika and stayed at a wonderful farmstay called Kaniere Farmstay. It was a nice place with two rooms and a kitchen. They had some cows from scotland called Belted Galloway Cattle. They were very furry with messy hair. We drove around Hokitika a bit in the morning and checked out the tea room with the "largest teapot collection in New Zealand" They served some very nice pancakes there. We also visited the Jade Factory and the local library was having a quilt display so we stopped in a took a look. Next we drove to Greymouth and spent some time at the local McDonalds using the internet access there. Greymounth is where the TranzAlpine Railway terminates on the West coast and they ... read more
Seal Colony

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef November 20th 2007

Today was glacier day!!! We woke up, and got out of the hotel in Queenstown at 7:09. Only one short stop and we arrived in Franz Joseph at 11:45 (387 km). Anne and Chris were very grumpy, but got over it after a meal and after we got hiking. Then.. UP UP UP. The guides carved out steps as we walked behind them (both up and down). At one point there was a big BOOM... sounded like an oncoming earthquake, but it was just part of the Glacier falling away somewhere :) :) There were lots of people there from all around the world. We spoke to someone at length from Ireland, and a couple from the Bay area, CA. we have lots of pictures... We'll see how many get up tonight.... as in... how fast ... read more
Ice Cave Chris
Ice Crack

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Queenstown November 19th 2007

Followup from yesterday. HELL was great! Good pizzas with names like Lust, Pestilence, Greed, Mordor, Gluttony. They have really cool pizza boxes that you can punch part out of and fold it into a coffin (to take home your "remains".) This morning, we woke up early and drove out to go horseback Riding in Glenorchy (near Queenstown).,+NZ&ie=UTF8&ll=-44.771355,168.409081&spn=0.173538,0.31929&t=h&z=12&iwloc=addr&om=1 If you have seen Lord of the Rings, the mountains in the background are seen in the following scenes: - Isengard (black tower where Sauraman lives) - Lothlorien - Misty Mountains (opening sequence and others) - snow scene (where Boromir tries to take ring) - Lighting of the signalling beacons (sweeping through all the surrounding ... read more
3 horsemen
Chris on Horse
All in a line

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Queenstown November 18th 2007

Today we flew down to Queenstown. We woke up and had a beautiful sunrise. Anne and Tony spent an hour reading on a swing listening to the sounds of Auckland Harbor and the birds. ahhh.... Flight was uneventful. What WAS eventful was learning how to drive on the left side of the road. Tony has been doing all of the driving so far, and has only veered to the right of the road once (or twice). We explored downtown Queenstown (think Sonora or North Lake Tahoe). Very much a tourist and ski town with lots of summer activities and the people selling them. We headed over to Hayes lake (just outside of town) and took a 10k hike. Very refreshing. It was beautiful scenery!!! We are going to HELL pizza tonight, and then wine tasting (Tony ... read more
Queenstown Arrive
Hamster Auckland
Hayes Lake

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland November 17th 2007

Got out of the Airport at 6AM or so (local time). Shared a Van ride with a US Olympic hopeful Windsurfer. She was very nice, and gave us some good pointers for New Zealand travel (like you don't have to tip!!). Her gear was also VERY heavy... a full board and sail, plus wetsuits, and spare parts. We helped! Got to the Number One House B&B in Auckland. it is just under the bridge (literally) across the harbor from Downtown. A spectacular view in the morning.. it should be very nice at night too. Walked 3 minutes to the Ferry and after a 10 minute ferry ride, was in downtown Auckland. Walked around Auckland for a bit, looking for breakfast. Then we were looking for phone options. Passed by a large gathering of people protesting something. ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland November 17th 2007

Dropped off Michelle. That went remarkably well. Got to Pixar to find that we had to go clean up some dog mess at the Rogges. Went to a really great Mediterranean place in Ignacio for lunch. Got to the airport WAY before the counters opened for checkin so that Mom Rogge could get home before rush hour traffic. We played some cards, and Anne answered calls from Work (busy busy). Uneventful flight. Lots of movies, reading and sleep. The sun NEVER came up our entire flight!!! (pictures coming as soon as we get a place that will recognize our USB) ... read more

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