New zealand recap
Trip Start Jan 01, 2002
15Trip End Jun 31, 2007
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Jason and Irene traveled to New Zealand in October 2003. The following are notes form the journal we made together.
We found quantas to be the best airline ever!!! We left on a Friday and arrived at 5 am on a Sunday, thoroughly disoriented, found a cab and check into our youth hostel in aukland. Auckland is a neat town but we left fairly quickly to get on the road.
10/6 Waitangi treaty site, matauri bay and taipa were on the list for the first day.
10/7 After a walk on taipa beach, Irene found a really cool looking snail shell to save and we headed north to the cape
10/8 Back down the other coast through Auckland to waitomo for the most amazing trip ever. The guide book suggested the Hamilton Tomo Group House, a place where all the cave guides stay. The rooms weren't as good as our tent looked, so we opted to set up outside in the pasture. Only they didn't tell us the cows were loose! In the middle of the night, the whiskers of the first cow scouting the area sounded on our tent. It was followed by the noisy chewing of cows grabbing a bite to eat. After this they laid down right there to belch and chew their cud. Are you kidding me? At 3:00 am we are listening to barfing heifers???? Jason finally said "for the love of god!" and they stampeded off. In the morning, we couldn't find anything but patties
10/9 The beauty of roughing it is that you have money to spend on the top of the line adventures. The lost world starts with a 100 meter abseil down into a giant hole in the earth. After a little walk, we found the exit ladder (the water level was too high to continue) which was 30 meters straight up. Attached at the top and bottom, the wrought iron ladder bounced and swayed while we climbed. And although we were climbing separately and roped in, in the complete dark, it was pretty intimidating.
After that, we continued on to Honking Holes, which started with a hike to a hidden hole in the brush. We crawled in to an opening and set up for an abseil down a 25m waterfall into a large cavern. Another abseil down into a hole seemed to have no exit. Though the waterfall continued, the standing water didn't seem to rise. No one was in the room so the rest had to have gone out somehow. "Where?" "Feel for the hole low down!" came the voice. After feeling around the exit was at knee level; a hole about 2 feet in diameter in the floor of the rock room was taking all the water out of the room. Take a deep breath and trust the guide......you pop out into another room!!! Holy cow. We continued down another abseil into yet another closed room until we were all shoulder-to-shoulder
10/10 We drove to Paekakanriki on the coast through the mountains to hang out for the day.
10/11 Drive on to Wellington to return the car and pick up the ferry to picton. The Grants, whom Irene met in Peru several years earlier, met us at the ferry crossing. They have a great place with a huge garden that hooks into a river of sorts in the back yard.
10/12 The girls got us to agree to float down that really cold river in the back yard on top of Styrofoam blocks. After getting good and cold, then you have to walk back across town! We also went to visit Yvonne's friend Helen who has yet another great place with kid cubbies and ladders built in. What a great idea. The Grants showed us around Picton, the sounds and Havelock
10/13 We left the Grants in Blenheim to drive south along the East Coast to Lake Tekapo. There were iclicles on the tent in the morning.
10/14 We made our way along to Mt Cook in the grandeur of sunshine. On the way, we got caught in a Kiwi traffic jam---sheep in the road! Only these sheep looked like they had just had their recent sheering by someone with a very unsteady hand. It made the cuts I sometimes get on my legs shaving not so bad. Further along we reached Duntroon petryglyphs, Maori Boulder Beach, and Dunedin.
10/15 Irene isn't much of a birder but she has always had this thing for a few species. The Royal Albatross is one such bird. Unfortunately, the mating season was upon us and it was a private party. So we walked around the area where we could. Shags, and NZ fur seals, but no albatross.
10/16 We headed out to Milford sound to check out the penguins and learn more about sounds and fjords
10/17 white water rafting on the shotover river was pretty exciting. The drive out to the put in was pretty hair raising. The road curved and swerved along a cliff just wide enough to fit the bus. I think they chose this so people like me who have never been on white water won't back out. Irene had a good time on her first class III and IV water while Jason was such a great paddler that the guide put him in the front of the boat for the bow rudder on the last part. Some miners had blasted out a long tunnel to divert the water so they could work the river bottom. Now you can raft through this tunnel and spit out through a large final rapid.
10/18 can't go to Queenstown and not bungy jump! Jason had already been jumping so Irene, still pumped up from trying the river, went for it. It wasn't nearly what I expected but still pretty scary. Then we went over to a nearby ski hill for some great spring skiing. The only problem was, we had to rent gear and the skis had no wax so it was a little slow.
10/19 the good weather is finally here with 2 sunny days in a row
10/20 Punakaiki rocks looked very much like pancakes staked high by the water. Then on north to Marahau. On the way, we found a cave at the paproa scenic reserve . It is a free, unmanned cave open to the passerby to explore and goes about 500 meters in.
10/21 kayak day along the golden coast at Onetahuti bay. Irene's nerves got the best of her on the crossing to Tonga island so Jason hardly had to paddle the double at all! After that, things got a lot easier and the coast slipped by under paddle. Along with this trip and our caving trip, we can certainly say that New Zealanders know how to do it! Great service. Oh yeah, and we pulled into a place called Anchorage! Then on to Pohara
10/22 Pohara has a great beach that made for a nice walk and shell scouting.
10/23 back in Blenheim we had a winery tour with Neville's sister and then made a mad dash to the ferry where we caught a bus to rotorua.
10/24 rotorua is a trippy town to arrive at 330 in the morning. We were dropped in the middle of town and found no taxis so we just walked across the park to the hostel. The street lights of the town are yellow. Steam explodes from vents all over the place and the smell of sulfur is heavy. Very strange. After crashing our tent in the campground of a hostel, we went on to Whaka to finally see my boiling mud. When I was a little girl, my Godmother Debbie came home from New Zealand with photos of boiling mud and tiki dolls for me. I have been captivated ever since. This area can do more than that. Corn on the cob is cooked in the steam vents to perfection!!!
10/25 on to a tourist farm! This place was hysterical. They do a sheep shearing show and go over the species of sheep, plus you go on a tour through the area to see the llamas and alpacas. Then Irene went and tried Zorbing. Even more hysterical. Thanks eva for suggesting it.
A great trip overall. We can't wait to return to New Zealand.