Feb 11ish to Feb 17ish
Trip Start Jan 06, 2009
19Trip End Jun 16, 2009
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Where I stayed
Wrights Mill Lodge
The day before we left Christchurch, we went to a little known beach called, Taylor's Mistake. It was really great for body surfing, boogie boarding and surfing. We ended up body surfing, as we couldn't find a surf/board shop. Anyhow, the water was really cold, but the waves were really big and fun. They would knock you off your feet. The next morning, we both decided to get a massage at the B&B we were at, as the owner also ran a massage clinic.....I love massage therapy! I am planning to sample massage therapy at each country we visit.
The next day we travelled to Oamaru and stayed at a FarmStay. They raised sheep, cattle and had a puppy and a cat. It was an old farm home that was built in the very early 1900's. We did a few chores with the farmer (i.e. moving the irrigation system around), and then had a beer with him and his wife. We then had supper in the small town of Omamaru and hit the sack.
The next day, we drove through Dunedin on our way to the Catlins. Dunedin is a very neat city with a lot of English character. We picked up a few books at a second hand book store. The Catlins are on the very south end of the south island of New Zealand. When you look out onto the ocean from the south shore here, you are really looking out towards Antarctica....which I thought was totally cool. We stayed for 4 nights in a very small town (i.e. 20 people) called, Takahopa. The hostel we stayed at was called the Wrights Mill Lodge, and it was home to the managers of the forestry mill in the early 1900's. It was much more like a cool B&B than a typical hostel. I liked it a lot. We met some really nice guests who were also staying there. Four of these were from Israel....officially now the only four people we know from Israel. Based on what they've told us, Israel sounds like a stressful place to live. Everyone from Israel we have met are quite educated....one was a lawyer, the other was an aeronautical engineer who planned bombing missions for the military. (Side note: Kris and I started to wonder if we should be making up credentials for the both of us....so far we've come up with an aeronautical neuro-pchychological engineer for Kris.....we're still working on my credentials:)
While we were there, we went on some lovely coastal hikes. One was to Sutter Bay, which included a hike through some tall grass to get to the ocean beach. The grass and shrub were head-high, and we noticed many padded down areas but were not sure what made them. Once we reached the beach, it was a gorgeous, windy walk with really large waves crashing on the beach. We ran into a couple of large male sea lions and one female sea lion. The males were about 600 pounds, we guessed...they all looked incredibly tired, like all they wanted was a good afternoon sleep. The posted signs recommended getting no closer than two car lengths from them. Apparently, they can move quite quickly on land. Anyhow, I thought they were adorable. On the way back through the tall grassy part, we realized what made the large padded down areas....that would be large male sea lions. We practically stepped on one on the way back....we had no idea that they made it that far inland to find a good lay-down area. It was really cool.
The next day we visited some really large coastal caves at low tide and then took a surfing lesson at Curio Bay. The surf lesson was a lot of fun. It was only $50 and included the board, wetsuit, and instruction. It was also nice that we didn't have to deal with coral reef, as it was a sand bottom. The waves were perfect too.....not too big, and not too small. I leaned towards the smaller waves, while Kris tried his hand at some of the larger waves. We were both able to get up a number of times which was a lot of fun. The magical part of the whole surfing afternoon was that a sea lion joined our group near the end. It was really cute to see it poke its head up in amongst us as though he wanted to know what we were up to and if he could play too. He hung out for about 15 minutes with us. I think that was the hilight for me.
We were visiting with a German couple who were taking lessons to, and they said that the night before, a sea lion had made its way up to the camp ground, found a tent he thought he liked (empty), and layed on top of it, crushing it, because he thought that would be a good place for a sleep. I thought that was really funny.....
The last few days, Kris and I have been in Queenstown. We have toured around Arrowtown...an old historic quartz mining town, and went to some hot pools for Kris's birthday, yesterday. Today, we went to a remote National Park and did some jet boating and kayaking. The scenery is absolutely stunning around Queenstown...somewhat reminds me of the Rockies. We went through many areas that were used as sets for Lord of the Rings...in fact, I have determined that in New Zealand you can throw a stone and hit a spot that was used as a scene for the Lord of the Rings.....all very beautiful. Tomorrow we travel to Christchurch and then the next day we fly to Melbourne, where we will stay for 3 nights.
p.s. Queenstown is quite expensive....Kris and I went to a pub and he ordered Crown Royal and coke and I ordered a paralyzer.....one drink each ran us $26. Other than that, the place is great!
Talk to you soon....
Deanne & Kris....hope to post some photos now.....