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Thursday, April 16, 2009

'tween mountain and beach

I would recommend this campsite, between Mt Maunganui and the beach, we could watch sheep grazing, crazy guys jumping off the mountain on hang gliders during the afternoon and as late a 8.30pm in the dark, and walk across to the surf beach when we felt like it.

The bonus was the saltwater pools, on the other side, which warmed us up after an afternoon in the surf.
The top one is our photo, after our walk this morning to the top of this volcano.
Having decided this was a better place to spend our last day in NZ, we moseyed our way through a final day, and then headed up to Auckland in time to check in to a place close to the airport for our 4am start tomorrow!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Isn't this just as long as Welsh words?

The Maori 'thermal' village we visited today. We were planning originally to visit the buried village as well, which has been called NZ's pompeii, but decided against it in the end, on the basis of general prices in Rotorua, and our fast disappearing funds!

This is a shot of the geothermal forces at work in Taupo... G warming himself nicely. This was probably 20 minutes walk from our caravan park.

Our bath at the caravan park, scalds a bit on entry, we are also staying on thermal ground, just so that our backs stay warm during the night - you would have thought most caravan parks would offer this service in the 21st century?

Anyway, they also do pretty well with the showers, though the steam is a bit off putting!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Made it up Mt. Taranaki two days ago and found snow, to L and G's delight! Does it look a bit like Mt Fuji? Less people and less rubbish, though!

Easter in Aotorea - we tried to find a church, and found 5 churches. Eventually we went to the Anglican (with the Methodists) and heard 'in the name of the F,S and S' in Maori.

By the way, here is a photo of our lunch in our hotel we stayed in in Wellington.


Friday, April 10, 2009

More photos from Wellington

Okay, so here we were today, next to Wellington harbour, quite a stunning view isn't it. Right next to us, at this point, were about 10 girls and guys, who were taking turns jumping off a diving board, about 5 metres off the water. A fairly cool day you would have thought to jump in, with a top of 14 degrees, but at least they'd waited until the warmest time of the day. You probably can't see it, but in the background behind L and G are a whole lot of snow covered mountains, which gradually came out from behind cloud.

The waterfront has skateboarders, bikers, tourists and a massive building called the Te Papa Tongarewa, an impressive museum, which you definitely need more than a half day (which we had) to see. Some of the best bits are about earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanos, which for some reason, us Oztralians don't take much notice of.

Anyway, later, we met this friendly gent, who was only too pleased to let G have a pat of his dog.

Tomorrow, we head for Mt Taranaki, a volcano (of course). Not sure when our next internet access will be available - this cafe offering in Wellington has been too convenient. We could get used to adding to the cacophony by skyping from our pub where we're eating our irish stew!


We realised this morning, that for G and I, NZ is the first country we've gone to out of Australia that still has

English as a common language. All of us are starting to see some commonalities and some big differences between NZ and Oz. Flying in last night at about 5pm NZ time, we had an amazing view of the northern part of the South Island mountain ranges, which we saw this morning at a cartographer was a part of a 'relatively new' mountain range, due to the fault line, which goes right up NZ, and is especially pronounced on the SI. Snow capped peaks are not a common sight for us aussies.

The cable car this morning was beautiful, and up the top of the mountain, we read the narrative from Mark, and reflected on Good Friday, which must have been so different to a sunny Wellington day, especially if there was an eclipse, and three hours of darkness. Though cold here, the sun makes it feel warmer than it is. By Easter Sunday, we're hoping to be up to Mt Taranaki on the west coast. This'll probably make it harder to blog etc., but we'll see how we go.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

NZ here we come...

If you were looking at this picture of the North Island of NZ, what would stand out for you and what would you want to see? There is a big lake in the middle and a massive pimple of a volcano on the Western side. These are my must sees next week when we take off to NZ.

Starting from the south and working towards the north, our plan is to tackle the North Island and to do it justice. Probably difficult to do it justice in 7 days, but anyway! Yes, I've heard of the mud beach in the north - probably also a must do with 2 kids, Rotorua and so forth and if we have time, we'll venture north of Auckland to the Bay of Isles... More to follow! (Back to parent teacher interviews!!)