Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Friday, January 20, 2012

Aotearoa, Long White Cloud

Since we have hundreds (!) of photos and upload time is shower than snail pace (watching paint dry?), and I dislike long travelogues, I've been debating on how to best blog about our trip to New Zealand, as it is something I want to share with all of you. As I looked over all our photos (Jinnet's, too), it's interesting to see what we most photographed--scenery, of course!, waterfront views, meals and food we ate.

All three of us like to cook--and eat. One goal was to eat good food, especially foods we knew we wouldn't get to eat for another year. Many Volunteers tell me that their first stop is McDonalds when they go home or on holiday. That never crossed our minds! We ate lamb, hare, ribs, and venison. We ate whitebait fritters, slices, and meat pies, which are NZ specialties. There was excellent coffee, Guinness, and good affordable wine. Two of our B & Bs served a wonderful hot breakfast, and we never said, "No thank you." Once a day we gathered in a room for a meal that always included good cheeses among other yummy foods we craved. We ate in cafes, fine restaurants, and carry-out eateries. I will spare you the food photos.

What will be our lasting memories? What photos will mean the most in future viewings? Some memories, of course, can't be captured in photos. Those become ours alone, to be savored and brought out at will. Perhaps the sweetest of all.

The North Island: Auckland, Overlander train trip from Auckland to Wellington, and Wellington.  Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and sits toward the north end of the island. Wellington is the capital and is at the south end of the north island.  We took a 12 hour train ride from one to the other.

On the waterfront with part of the Auckland skyline behind us.

We attended the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at the Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.

Here we are as Twits. What fun to see this performance, which had an audience full of children, parents, and grandparents out for a special time.
On the Overlander and in the observation car in the back.

View of mountains.

Looking backward over a bridge.

We crossed many rivers, and one river many times.

New Zealand's seat of government in Wellington, the Beehive.

Wellington waterfront.

Wellington waterfront with a view of the city.

A Wellington beach. 

We took a cable car to the top of a hill to get to the arboretum. This is the view looking over the city. We then walked down through the arboretum and back into the city.

Arboretum rose garden.

Carving of a bee lady at the arboretum.

Te Papa Museum in Wellington.

Maori welcome to the demonstration of their culture.(Te Papa)
Maori guide poses with us. (Te Papa)
 The South Island: Dunedin, which is on the east coast, and quite far south and has the Otago Peninsula nearby; Te Anau, on the west coast and near Fiordland; Doubtful Sound (fiord), and the road to Milford Sound (fiord).

Dunedin's Railway Station.

The rose garden in the arboretum near our B & B in Dunedin.

Yellow-eyed penguin seen on the Otago Peninsula tour.

The boat ride on Manipouri Lake.

During the bus ride to the power plant our bus driver gave us time for photo ops.

Manipouri Power Plant, which is built entirely underground. (Ask us  if you'd like to know more about it.)

On the boat on Doubtful Sound.

One day we drove the road from Te Anau to Milford Sound, taking time to enjoy the sights.
One the road to Milford Sound.

Gunn Lake on the road to Milford Sound.

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