Akaroa yesterday was a wonderful little port, but we only saw it boarding the bus and getting off the bus 1 hour late on our tour - luckily it was a ship-sponsored tour so the ship didn't leave without us! We went to a high-country sheep, beef, and red deer (yep, growing business for venison lovers) station near the Southern Swiss Alps. Had a lot of mountains still retaining lots of snow (late snowfall there in the last two weeks). We also had a jet-boat ride and a gruelling 12km mountain ride in a 4x4 buggy holding about 12 people. Our kidneys still aren't speaking to us! But it was fabulous countryside and the mountains are so different than ours. Really spectacular.
Today we're in Wellington (the capitol) of New Zealand. It's very gray, with low hanging clouds, and off and on rain showers. The view from on top of Mt. Victoria would have been totally awesome, but the wind (Wellington is affectionately called Windy Wellington) was brutal. But it is a beautiful city and unfortunately in a very active seismic area and "the big one" is an everyday reality for them. They get lots of little earthquakes all the time (mostly unfelt) but it would be like living in LA!
Tomorrow is Napier and we get our first Maori experience.