Monday, February 14, 2005

Exploring New Zealand with Sally & Mark

(covering Central & Southern North Island + Northern South Island)
1/22/05 - 2/14/05
by KT

W.I.P.  JOURNAL:  This journal piece is not quite yet complete.  We are frantically trying to get all our pictures uploaded before we depart New Zealand, and therefore lose our cheap & fast internet connections.  In order to accomplish that goal we are posting this journal with mostly just pictures, and sparse outline-like text ... we hope that we will be able to update the text at a later date.

Jan 22 - Birthday dinner for Chris with Island Sonata ... cake and pizza (YUM).  Chris got kauri wood pieces (for carving) and new shorts (yipee).

Exploring New Zealand

Jan 24 - Early airport pickup.  Drive to house Sally and Mark have via house swap, in Lake Taupo. Another 'lucky' car breakdown in Cambridge (where car breaks down just as we arrive at gas station with Auto Supplies store next door).  House is HUGE!  We have lunch in town and then enjoy fantastic sunset on the lake.

Jan 25 - Volcanic activity day:  Craters of the moon walk.  Thermal wonderland (amazing colors), and Kerosene Creek (where Chris impresses us with his knowledge about brain amoebas).

Thermal Activity

Jan 26 - Tonagriro National Park.  2 Hr waterfall hike (Taranaki Falls).  Another terrific lake sunset.

Taranaki Falls

Jan 27 - Tongariro Crossing (8hr tramp) ... terrific tramp, but very tiring.  Rocky, volcanic, colorful lakes.  (OH yeah, yet ANOTHER hose breaks on the car (and we are "lucky" again that it breaks just as we pull into the parking lot!).

Tongariro - Taranaki Falls & Lake Taupo

Jan 28 - Finally a day of just Relaxing and lounging (hooray!).  We watch T.V., Mark and Sally go for a walk on Hot Water Beach and KT does lots of Video editing (I'm making a video of our first year of cruising ... slow going as I don't really know how to use the software yet, we figure I have about 20 hours of my time into the first 6 minutes of video (yikes, at this rate the year 1 video should be done by the time we finish our 5th year of cruising!)

Jan 29 - Chris and Mark do some car work.  We all visit Huka Falls (and go for a walk/hike along the river).  We check out the Jet Boats and Prawn farm.  Island Sonata shows up and spends the evening with us.

Huka Falls, Huka Jet, & Bungy Jumping

Jan 30 - House cleaning, laundry, and relaxing (we're preparing to head down to the South Island). Chris, Mark, & Sally walk down to the beach, where they watch some boat racing.  I work on the video some more.  Island Sonata spends another night.

Jan 31 - Drive SH1 from Lake Taupo to Lower Hutt (just outside Wellington) ... about 5 hour drive. Dinner with friends of Mark & Sally in Lower Hutt.

Feb 1 -  Te Papa museum in Wellington (very very neat museum).  It's an overcast/rainy day.  Take the ferry over to Picton (South Island).  Spend the night in Picton (with lovely train track overhead ... ugh).

Feb 2 - Water taxi/ferry out to Ship's Cove to do part of the Queen Charlotte track.  5hr tramp to Fernaux Lodge (where we catch the taxi/ferry back).  Jump in the car for a scenic drive overlooking the Marlborough Sounds.  "Camp" at a farm-style holiday park near Havelock.

Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds & Old Macdonald farm

Feb 3 -  Drive to Abel Tasman.  Stay at Old Macdonald's Farm (holiday park with pigs, lamas, cows, and sheep).

Feb 4 - Day of kayaking in the Abel Tasman ... beautiful turquoise waters and soft white sand beaches.  Check out "split apple rock".  Perfect weather today, very enjoyable.  Meet up with Robin and Duncan (Whisper) in Motueka for dinner.

Kayaking in Abel Tasman

Feb 5 - Lots of driving today ... drive through Nelson, then South to West Coast.  Stop in Westport to visit the Seal Colony, and in Punakaiki to check out the Pancake Rocks.  Continue on to Greymouth where we "make camp" and enjoy a terrific sunset over the beach.  Amazing views along the entire West Coast.

Westport, Punakaiki, & Greymouth

Feb 6 - More driving ... Drive to Kaikoura via SH7, with a stop in Hamner Springs where Sally originally  wanted to visit the Hot Springs, but it was a wicked hot day, so that idea was thrown aside. Kaikoura is a neat town .. visit to the Seal Colony there too.

Feb 7 - Short drive up to Blenheim, where we rent bicycles and go wine touring.  Bit windy, and otherwise another day of fantastic weather.

Blenheim Wine Country

Feb 8 -  Take the ferry back over to Wellington (North Island), and drive drive drive ... all the way back to Lake Taupo House.  After the last three days, I never want to get in the car again!

Feb 9 - Relax, and rejuvenate!  NO DRIVING!

Feb 10 - Get the house cleaned up, do some laundry, and leave the house for good ... drive to Waitomo.

Feb 11 - Enjoy a few shorts walks in the morning (visiting a natural bridge and some caves).  In the afternoon join the Black Water Rafting Company for a FANTASTIC caving adventure which included an 100 foot abseiling, flying fox, tubing, tramping through water, sliding, slipping through holes/caves, and climbing waterfalls (oh yeah and millions of glow-worms).

Waitomo Photo Gallery

Feb 12 - On to Auckland ... enjoy our last lunch with Mark & Sally at Loaded Hog, where we run into Scott & Nancy (Apsara), who invited us out to Waiheke Island.  After dropping off Mark & Sally at the airport we ferry over to Waiheke and enjoyed dinner out with Scott & Nancy.

Feb 13 - Spend the day with Scott and Nancy on Waiheke, visiting a few wineries and going on a very different "Art Walk".

Waiheke Island Views & Art Walk Photo Gallery

Feb 14 - Chris and I finally head back to Whangarei ... hooray back home again, and very happy to see that Billabong did great in the three weeks without us!

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