Blogs from New Zealand, Oceania - page 11


Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland March 6th 2015

An early start at 6am, as I still had some last minute packing and other things to do before our driver picked us up at 8am. All the other family members were busy doing stuff this weekend – Nat was up to her armpits with performances for the stage show, “Phantom of the Opera” that she was currently appearing in, so Justin was being Mr. Mom to their four kids at their place and, Jen was up in the Hunter Valley for a Manager’s Conference so, with all our usual taxi drivers otherwise engaged, Jen had arranged for a car and driver to pick us up and take us to the airport to catch our flight. Brother Glenn, sister-in-law Bonnie, husband Ted and myself, were flying to Auckland today to pick up our cruise on the ... read more
Our flight path today
Downtown Sydney far below us
Leaving Oz behind us

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island March 6th 2015

Wednesday 4th March Today we sailed from Picton in the South Island to Wellington in the North Island, a 3 hour crossing, very calm conditions. We had booked a city centre hotel for two nights with parking for Lara Lor van, a well earned rest for both parties! After checking in we walked 'downtown' and had a drink in a bar with all the important working people of Wellington, then on to Cuba Street where there are lots of restaurants. Next day fully refreshed we set of early, had a look round Wellington Catherdal; a guided tour of the parliament buildings which was very interesting; visited the old government building which is actually fully constructed of wood, but look like stone, the building now serves as the law faculty of the Victoria University; took the cable ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin March 6th 2015

Wifi has been hard to get the past few days, so I'm a bit behind on posting. We spent Wednesday and Thursday making our way slowly from Te Anau (Doubtful Sound) to Dunedin. The distance isn't long, but there are many places to explore in between. The area we explored is called, "The Catlins", and is an area of New Zealand where rolling farmland meets the Southern Ocean. I wasn't originally planning to include this area in our trip itinerary, but when I booked our flights I accidentally booked our return for March 9th, not March 8th, so we had an extra day to explore. Gee. What a disappointment. ;-). Having seen this area now, I'm so very glad I made that "mistake". Wednesday night we stayed on a farm on Slope Point Road in The ... read more
Aaron at Nugget Point Lighthouse
Sheep Watching us at Slope Point
Bay in The Catlins

Oceania » New Zealand March 6th 2015

Rather than wait until we were in Europe we decided to finalise the remainder of the trip in advance so we knew where we were exactly in terms of funds and take advantage of booking things in advance. A number of phone calls and emails and I was able to establish that changing the date and/or departure point of our return was going to incur considerable fees – money I felt could be better spent elsewhere. I also established that our accommodation in Ildir, Turkey was only accessible by car. We could get to Izmir by train but that was a 2 day trip! And from there I couldn’t see how to get the final 80 odd km to the resort – the resort is helpfully ignoring my emails requesting information. Hiring a car was an ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland March 5th 2015

On était 4 (dont 3 germanophones) à louer une voiture pour s'échapper un peu de la ville ce jeudi. C'était génial ! Pas de frayeurs sur la route, juste un petit oubli du fameux "Keep left!" des pays anglo-saxons... Et voilà ce qu'on trouve à 1 heure de route d'Auckland sur la côte ouest, c'est fantastique. Avec tous ces surfeurs qui regardaient le coucher du soleil depuis l'océan, ça semblait être un jeudi normal en Nouvelle-Zélande... Douceur de vivre pour les résidents ! Rien à voir mais je passe au niveau "Advanced" en anglais, j'ai fait de bons progrès. Et on m'a redit que je n'avais pas d'accent français, je suis trop fier ! D'autres nouvelles dans les prochains jours... Le week-end prochain sera (probablement) consacré à la visite des lieux du tournage du Seigneur des ... read more
Lion Rock
Piha Beach (2)
Piha Beach (3)

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island March 5th 2015

We headed from Nelson to the Marlborough wine district which is centred around the town of Blenheim. The drive from Nelson took us firstly through the town of Havelock and then over the scenic Queen Charlotte sound, a windy road that climbs up for ages with small coves and havens the whole way. Havelock is a pretty little town famous for green lipped mussels and for being the birthplace of Ernest Rutherford, a scientist famous for his work on splitting the atom. Finally the road comes to Picton, where the ferries leave for the North Island, we carried on to Blenheim. The town itself is pretty unremarkable but the countryside surrounding it is full of endless flat plains of vines, surrounded in the distance by mountains in silhouette. Marlborough is a well established wine producing region, ... read more
Cloudy Bay

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Akaroa March 5th 2015

Hi everyone, well we decided not to travel up to Christchurch and go out on a sailing boat to see Dolphins. We went on a lovely old 1920's sail boat, New Zealand's oldest gaff-rigged ketch, named the Fox II, with a friendly crew. They took us out into the harbour and we saw so many Dolphins known as Hector dolphins, there are only about 2 1/2 thousand left of these little things and they are very small. We saw blue penguins but they dived down as soon as they saw us as they are very timid. On we sailed, headed out to the ocean, bit choppy in some places but good fun, Captain Roy said if we continued to sail straight and go for 5,000 miles, we'll be in Chile. (I fancy seeing Chile ! ). ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island March 4th 2015

on Tuesday we drove from Clifton to Lake Taupo which is the largest lake in NZ and Australia. We spent the afternoon on a short river cruise down the Waikato river to the Huka waterfalls. Yesterday we then drove to Rotorua which is famous for its thermal activity. Just before then town we stopped at Wai-O-Tapu which is a huge area of thermal activity and looks just like something from the movie set of Jurassic Park! Lots of bubbling mud pools, huge lakes coloured by chemicals and steam and the very strong smell of sulphur! It took us over an hour to walk round. It was just fascinating. We then drove into Rotorua and stayed at a lovely site next to another lake. In the afternoon we went to the Te Puia Maori cultural centre. This ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Akaroa March 4th 2015

Hi everyone, were in New Zealand, South Island. Flew into Christchurch yesterday, got our rental car. Mmmmmmm, we booked an older model, cos either I'm like 'Driving Miss Daisey' or Stu is 'Crazy white van man', so the cheerful rental guy said this was a step up from Stu's van, he was right, a 2003 Nissan saloon, automatic. Rental man said he wouldn't bother counting the scratches and dents already on there. I thought smart guy, because there will be more when we bring this old clobber back !!! I haven't driven auto for about 35 years, but Stu said, it was no problem and he would drive. Off we go, first we went the wrong way, turned back, bit of a hairy ride first of all, we couldn't work out who to Give way to. ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Te Anau March 3rd 2015

Today was the day. My long awaited sea kayaking trip on Doubtful Sound had finally arrived. We had to be up early this morning. We had to meet at the outfitter's office at 7:15am, and it was about a 20 minute drive from our motel. Getting to Doubtful Sound is a bit of a labor of love. After meeting our small group of ten, we boarded a boat for a 45 minute cruise to West Arm (that sounds peaceful, but it really is a little fishing boat, engine running wide open across the lake, so you can imagine how big the lake is for that to last 45 minutes), and then about a 45 minute mini bus ride on a gravel road to where you put in. I'm not at all complaining, mind you, simply describing ... read more
Aaron on Doubtful Sound
Aaron and I at Lunch on Doubtful Sound
Aaron Paddling Doubtful Sound

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