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April 11th 2015
Published: April 11th 2015
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Well all, the trip is over. The last day in Wellington was amazing. We first went to a museum called Te Papa. Like all the museums in AUS and NZ, there is no entrance fee. Only bad thing about the whole time there was that there were about 500 screaming, running children enjoying it too. It was the middle of the Easter break so everyone decided to take the kiddies for a day out. The six floor museum had everything from geological rooms with an interactive earthquake house to a platform one jumped on to see how much the plate movement resembled an earthquake all in one exhibit. Except for the very loud noise it made when the platform kept hitting the floor, it was pretty amazing. In the same room were all kinds of fossils and re-creations of extinct animals. The Haast hawk, bigger than our condors, was the Moa's only predator (think I mentioned the Moa before, it made the Ostrich look like a chicken) until the Maori's showed up. The Maori's hunted the Moa to extinction, which basically killed off all the hawks. The museum has a full skeleton on a teenage blue whale hanging above the largest pickled carcass of a giant squid. The scientists also estimated that the squid was a teenager too. The exhibit has been there so long that the carcass has shrunk about two feet. It was still about 15 feet long. The guide says it is estimated that an adult giant squid is about 42 - 50 feet long. On the Maori floor there is a 3/4 size replica of a sacred meeting house, storage hut, war canoe that seats 30, a smaller replica of an ocean going dual-hulled canoe that would have carried the family, farm animals, food, implements, in other words everything needed to settle somewhere. Found out that Thor Hyerdahl had it all wrong. The Maori and other Polynesian settlers began in Micronesia/Polynesian, sailed to Papua New Guinea, across to South America, north through the Galapagos and Hawaii before finally turning south and finding Aeotearoa - New Zealand, the Land of the Long White Cloud. By the way, New Zealand, though British by settlement, was named by Abel Tasman, who was just sailing by and never landed -New Zeeland after someplace in Holland. After lunch, four of us went to Weta Cave, where Sir Richard Taylor with Sir Peter Jackson formed the creative workshop for filming. Some of the films included, or course the entire JRR Tolkien Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series, but also TinTin, Narnia, parts of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, District Nine and many others. If anyone has anyone who is creative, no degree required, have them apply there. There are only 100 designers and creators, but the boss is hands on and really pushes one's own creativity. Met a girl who had won last year's NZ body painting challenge. She was working on a project for this year. Our guide of a ripe old age of 25 had been working there almost three years and was responsible for the designing and creating the costumes of 30 of the Orcs from the Hobbit. Had a lovely farewell dinner at the General Practitioner, an historical doctor's home and surgery. Very early night, around 9, because wake-up was 3 am. First plane ride to Sydney took 3 hours. A two hour layover then on to Qantas for a 13 hour (turned out to be 14 because we sat on the runway for an hour until a paperwork snafu was corrected). Fed us dinner, ice cream, candy, tea and water and then breakfast on the trip. Three and a half hours in LAX to go through customs, pick up luggage, get new ticket and finally 5 and a half hours on the plane. I was so tired after no sleep on the Sydney-LAX leg that I totally missed the fact that I had a bottle of water in my backpack. Big no-no, had to talk to a lady and tell her what I was carrying. Told her after that long international flight I was not sure, but it was probably a water bottle. She tried not to grin, but failed miserably, took the bottle and tossed it. Got in at 6:12 after over19 hours of flying and all the layovers. Asleep at 9:30, awoke at 3 PM, 18 hours later. Pizza for supper and early night tonight after laundry, separating souvenirs, answering about 5000 emails (slight exaggeration). Temp was 94 when I got home, rain has cooled it down some. Ready for next adventure. Would definitely do this again with longer in each country. Missed so much, just can not get everything in. So hello again America, ta da to the South Pacific! And thanks to Overseas Adventure Travel for fulfilling a life long dream!

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16th April 2015

Wow, Linda
What a wonderful trip you had! Thank you for sharing it with me.

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