New Zealand 2017

Towards the end of October, Eliz & I took about three weeks holiday in New Zealand, having signed up for Haka Tours North-South island adventure tour. This was my selfish birthday present to Elizabeth, and I had insisted despite our busy schedules that we go before the end of the calendar year. We had a terrific time, and met a wonderful group of young people who had also signed on. (While Haka assured us we wouldn't be the oldest ones on our tour, we had at least a quarter century on all of them.)

Between us, we took almost 3000 photos, which I've winnowed down to about 750. I've further broken these into 24 pages, which you can jump between more easily. A few of the pages have linked video, or will have when I get around to uploading them.

Page 1, wherein we arrive to Auckland and explore the town and harbor.

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We arrived to Auckland’s city center by bus from the airport. Immediately, we felt right at home.

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We were impressed by the many pedestrian walkways, only a few of which we were able to explore. The harbor was visible from our hotel (though not from our room).

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There was also this odd and colorful used shirt display. We assumed they were for sale despite the lack of an obvious seller.

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Our first night was in the Haka Lodge, run by the same company that organized our tour.

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Off of the super–chic Ponsonby Street, we discovered some gravity–defying sculptures.

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We also found a nice coffee shop. (There were many.)

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I had a chai, which I recall was quite tasty.

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The mural art in New Zealand was definitely a cut above the usual.

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This is the gorgeous town hall, where they were hosting a modified "beer pong" tournament.

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The contest involved water rather than beer, but people seemed to arrive already well–lubricated, so I don’t think it was going to be a problem.

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On our way to the harbor, we stopped to watch the cable drop at the Sky Tower.

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I think we saw this guy on the street later.

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That’s him on the left. Probably someone mid–stag party. They seem to have a tradition for hazing the groom, which the victims embrace with surprising enthusiasm. It could also be a Halloween get–up, as we saw others in costume for the beer pong thang.

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Don’t call it a tricycle, at least not to his face.

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The harbor was well–stocked with traditional schooners and some rather expensive–looking yachts.

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We had another coffee. In the background is one of the last photos of my camera’s GPS unit, which was left at our hotel in Taupo (I think).

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Elizabeth trying out the Big Chair near the harbor.

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The Aramoana
A sailboat Eliz particularly liked. Moana=Sea

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Close–up of same

Our room at the Haka Lodge didn’t have a lot of extra space, and the bathrooms were shared. Other accommodations were much nicer; some were super–nice. Unfortunately, we never stayed anywhere for more than 2 nights.

Page 2, wherein we meet our tour group and head in the bus for our first destination on the north island, Whtianga.

Page 3, wherein a handful of our group go on a "black water rafting" adventure and check out a glow worm cave.

Page 4, wherein we check out a swing bridge and the Blue Spring, where the majority of New Zealand's bottled water originates. That night, we dine with the Mitai tribe and are treated to a demonstration of some Maori traditions.

Page 5, wherein Elizabeth and I go zip-lining in a native rain forest.

Page 6, wherein we visit the Waiotapu Thermal Park and check out the natural hot springs and Huka waterfall in Taupo.

Page 7, wherein we sail Lake Taupo on a boat that once belonged to Errol Flynn.

Page 8, wherein we enjoy a group barbecue and try our hands at Gumboot Throwing. We arrive to Wellington and enjoy a nice dinner.

Page 9, wherein Eliz and I hike to a view atop Mount Victoria, then check out the Wellington museum and the botanical gardens.

Page 10, wherein we meet the others for some street food and fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day. The next morning, we leave our bus for a ferry ride to the south island. (Just in time as it turns out, since Ronnie lost her rear suspension towards the end and broke down completely when the next group took her over.)

Page 11, wherein we travel to Kaikoura, and Eliz & I swim with some dolphins. We end the day at a nice Haka lodge in Christchurch.

Page 12, wherein we go hot-air ballooning with Yen & Brian, then check out the Christchurch Art Museum.

Page 13, wherein we meet up with our group and head out to Tekapo, where we were all surprised by a snowstorm in the night.

Page 14, wherein we enjoy our first afternoon in Queenstown and take a gondola up to Bob's Peak to be amazed by the view and learn how to luge.

Page 15, wherein Eliz & I are joined by Lauren on a horse trek near Glenorchy.

Page 16, wherein Jon, Brian, and Yen join us in a "canyoning" adventure that was more than we'd signed up for.

Page 17, wherein Eliz & I enjoy a leisurely day on Lake Wakapitu.

Page 18, wherein we drive over a mountain pass to get to Wanaka. The following day, most of us take a hike up Mount Iron. Some of us also go to see "The Lonely Tree"

Page 19, wherein we make a number of stops for beauty on the way to the Franz Josef glacier.

Page 20, wherein some of our group hike to see the glacier.

Page 21, wherein about half of us go on a final group kayaking adventure on Lake Mapourika.

Page 22, wherein some brave singers stand up for karaoke night at the pub. The next day, we stop in Hokitika and see some live kiwi birds on our way to catch the train in Greymouth.

Page 23, wherein everyone but our leader boards the Alpine Express bound for Christchurch, the final destination for the organized part of our trip.

Page 24, wherein Eliz & I have a final day on our own in Christchurch, which we spend wandering in search of good eats and take a ferry to Diamond harbor. We also finally get a chance to check out the Christchurch botanical garden, which is definitely worth the visit.

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Page created Nov 27 2017