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July 9th 2009
Published: June 2nd 2009
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New Zealand

Our visit to New Zealand started a bit rough, our flight ways delayed for four hours, and the plane ride was turbulent and very crowded. Which was dissapoining after all the positive things we heard about JetStar Airlines. Once we landed things seemed to be quite a bit better. We were picked up and taken to our hotel, The Crown Plaza Auckland, which was absolutely gorgeous, and left to go see our first stop, Lake Taupo. Arihi, our tour guide led us to a popular fishing spot and let us fish for a while, where Jake caught a trout!

We stopped at The Huka Falls, which is the local’s favorite vantage point. And we hiked the Lions Trail, which took about 45 minutes, round trip.

After getting back from our tour we stopped for lunch at The Dominion, which served pretty much the same thing as American restaurants, the only difference was the restaurant was quite beautiful and had a wonderful outdoor patio.

Next we drove to Mount Cook where we took a 3 and a half mile hike around the base of the mountain with a group of about thirty others and our two tour guides, Sean and Neil. The view of the mountains was beautiful; all of the hikers were in awe and took about a million photographs.

Our tour guide Neil invited us and three other tourists to his house for some real New Zealand cooking. He made a feast of baked rice custard, curried sweet potato soup and whitebait fritters. After dinner, Neil took us downtown and to a small bonfire-like party. he explained that the people in costumes were performing the native Poi dance. He told us that it was first done by the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand to increase their flexibility and strength in their hands and arms and improve coordination at the same time

A traditional Poi dancer

The next morning we set of to the famous New Zealand fjords for a kayaking adventure. Although the trips could last up to four days ours only lasted two and a half hours. The Fjords are world famous for being one of the top one thousand things you must see before you die, and they were definitely amazingly beautiful.

We asked some locals what was something we had to do before we left, they told us we had to go hot air ballooning. We traveled up to the tip of the North Island to the town of Christchurch. We went to 'Up Up And Away" hot air balloon rides and rented a "flying Kiwi" balloon, which cost about $500 for the both of us, but the experience was well worth it.

"The Flying Kiwi"

We ended our visit to Wonderful New Zealand with a day trip to The Bay of Plenty beach on the east coast of the island. We rode horses named Dolly and Bruto and finished that day off riding mountain bikes up and down the beach.


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