- Taylors Mistake Surf Life Saving Club
- 229 Taylors Mistake Road - Sumner
- Christchurch 8081 - New Zealand
New Zealand Trip Report - Part 1
We left SFO about 7:30 PM on January 30 and arrived in Auckland about 7:30 AM on Feb. 1. Al and I picked up the rental car and headed for the Youth Hostel. I thought for sure that we would be divorced before our 25th anniversary. The map we were given did not have most of the streets listed on them. With the confusion from the map and the frustration of driving on the wrong side of the highway, I felt that if our marriage did not end in an instant divorce, Al might have a heart attack. While waiting to find Pat and Carol, who were already at the hostel, we drove around Auckland. Al and I saw the biggest working yellow horse moving across the highway. This mass of metal is used for unloading ships in port. We finally made it back to the hostel and met up with Pat and Carol.
While Al and Pat went to get Pat listed as a driver so he could share in the fun Al was having, Carol and I toured the Auckland Museum. We watched a Maori dance and saw a Tapiri war canoe from the 1830's. This canoe was built to hold 100 warriors. We also saw a Hotunui meeting house dated 1878 and a Te Oha storehouse from the 1820's. Later we drove to Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter. (The aquarium in Baltimore was much better.) Here we saw stuffed penguins. Instead of sharks painted on the wall like in Baltimore, (Baltimore's shark exhibit was closed when we were there.) these were swimming all around us with rays. Later that evening we walked to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Pat was charged $1.50 for a second tortilla to go with his fajita dinner. Everything is expensive there. After dinner we walked to the waterfront and took a ferry to Devonport and back. We spent the night at the Auckland City Youth Hostel.
We left Auckland about 8:30 and headed northwest and the gum they produced. Later we had a picnic lunch along the river in Dargaville. We had cheese, fresh bread, wine and marinated mussels and talked to one of the friendly locals. It was a fun lunch. We continued north and found Trounson Kauri Park where we walked to the tallest Kauri and the Four Sisters trees. We later stopped at Waipoua and saw the fattest Kauri tree, known as the Father of the Forest. We continued our northward trip and Pat found a lumber yard and Carol a cheese factory. Pat bought some pieces of local wood and we all bought some great cheese. We reached the Bay of Islands late in the day and tried to find our B&B. We followed the directions we were given on the ferry. (This ferry cost us about $10 each way.) We followed the road and took the third left and followed it all the way to the beach. When we did not find any sign of the B&B we drove into Russell and called. We were almost right. When we got to the beach we should have turned left and driven along the water to the third driveway. This is impassable during high tide. The Bed and Breakfast was run by John & Glen McGaughey. They are a retired couple, he was a veterinarian. The B&B was "Serendipity,". After unpacking we drove back into Russell and ate dinner at "The Restaurant". Here we had Tua Tua Soup. We saw the Southern Cross for the first time that night.
Bay of Islands, After breakfast we drove into town to get some food and had a beer at the Duke of Marlborough. We returned to the B&B and collected oysters, Green lipped NZ mussels and dug PIPPIES, a small NZ clam. Dinner that night was fresh BBQ shellfish cooked by our host and fresh bread, cheese and wine. Glen read us several of her poems. She gave me a copy of one. It will follow. We had a great time.
We left the B&B by 6:30 and headed south to Poor Knights Island where we caught a boat to go diving. Pat and Carol scuba dove. This cost them $145.00 each. Al and I snorkeled. This cost us $82.00 each. The water was very clear and some fish were a pretty blue. After I put on a full wet suit, I had no problem staying in the water watching all those pretty fish. Later we drove to the Whangarei Youth Hostel and met Bob. He put on a wonderful BBQ, having all the quests contribute to dinner that night. Bob made some terrific Lamb kabobs. Later he told us how to find GLOW WORMS and WEDDERS, large grasshoppers. We took off in the dark and followed a trail to a cave where we found them. What a hike!
After church and breakfast, Carol, Al and I took a killer hike, the Drummond and Dobbie tracks. Here in the Parahaki Scenic Reserve we found the remnants of Maori settlements including PA's, dugouts in the hill used by the Maori as defense, unfortunately, it didn't work for them and they were overcome and eaten by a raiding party. While hiking we found a rare endangered bird. It was blue with two white balls under his chin. It is the TuiTui bird. We hiked along a river looking for a bridge to cross. When we came to the end of the trail, we realized that we had missed the bridge. On the way back we found it, under water. We hiked back but the mountain had gotten the better of us. According to the flier, these tracks are steep and a moderate level of fitness is required, we were wiped out. After saying good-by to Bob, and leaving a pair of Carol's jeans behind, (Bob promised to send the jeans ahead to us at Franz Josef) we headed for a Backpacker's Hostel, The Ebb and Flow, on the Waipu river in Waipu. We feasted well that night since we realized we made a mistake and bought food that we did not want to transport to the South Island the next day. Carol and I picked chives, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to put into our omelets for dinner. We also ate our marinated Pippies and green lipped mussels, leftover cheeses, bread and wine. After a brief rain passed, Al and I walked along the beach. This beach lead to where the river met the bay and ran out to the sea. We could see the islands off shore. We took a beautiful picture of the sunrise before we left the next morning.
New Zealand Trip Report - Part 2
We got up at the crack of dawn and headed south to Auckland and caught the plane to Christchurch. Round trip airfare from Auckland to Christchurch and from Queenstown back again cost us $450.00 each. That afternoon the four of us shopped and toured Christchurch. Al and I rode a trolley that just opened over the weekend. I bought a wool sweater that cost $188.00. Carol and Pat also bought sweaters and Carol bought a hat. That night we drove to Scarborough Fare Restaurant for a great dinner. In Christchurch, we stayed in the new Christchurch City YHA that just opened in December `94.
Pat and Carol explored Christchurch while Al and I drove two and a half hours north to a city called Kaikoura. The ads told about "giant crayfish cooked and sold along the highway". It sounded like a great lunch. When we got there we found a sleepy little village along a beautiful blue waterfront with a few restaurants selling crayfish salad. Since this was not what we had in mind, we found a restaurant the White Morph Restaurant. It sold cooked crayfish with a salad. Al and I savored every mouthful since it cost $47.00. It is the most expensive lobster I have ever eaten and it was cold! We returned to Christchurch by evening and took a tour of the city given by CANTERBURY LEISURE TOURS. (This tour cost $78.00 each.) The owner runs the tours and is a retired lawyer who lived in Hong Kong and moved back to NZ. I think his name was Mark. We watched the QEII leave port as we took a gondola up Mount Cavendish. We saw all of Christchurch from the top and had dinner as the sun set. The ride down was enhanced by the lights of the city. We stayed at the Christchurch, City YHA.
Left Christchurch on the TRANZALPINE NZ Great Rail Adventure from Christchurch to Greymouth. The cost was $66.00 per person. The train stopped at Arthur's Pass for pictures. From Greymouth we drove to Franz Josef YHA. We had a double bed, Pat & Carol bunks. We survived two nights and opted for better quarters the third night. Meanwhile Wednesday night we hiked the town and Al bought himself a sheepherders' hat, that cost $65.00. We had a great dinner at the Blue Ice Restaurant than drove over to the see glacier before dark.
After breakfast we drove back to look at the Franz Josef glacier and hiked around the area. We returned to town in time to catch our 11:30 helicopter ride that cost $180 per person. We flew over the glacier, around Mt. Tasman and Mt. Cook, saw the valley behind, we continued over Fox Glacier and landed on the top of Franz Josef Glacier. After returning to town, Pat and Carol booked a canoe ride for the afternoon that was later canceled due to high winds. The four of us shared a quick pizza for lunch, and Al and I headed back to the glacier with a guided tour that took us onto the ice. This hike cost us $29.00 each. My camera batteries died so there are only a couple of pictures taken on the glacier. Our guide, Mike, said that we should remember his name because if we called out for Bob or John as we slid past him while on the ice, he would let us keep going. Our hike took us over the riverbed, through a rugged rainforest path, across the river to a rock pile where we put on ice-walking boots. From here we were led up onto the ice. Some of the trail was a narrow path with steps cut out for us to climb. In spots the path was so steep and narrow it was one foot-step wide. In other places we hung onto a rope to help us move. One part of the path had us stepping with the left foot on one side of a wide crevice and the right foot a giant-step away on the opposite side, continuing for several paces. This was followed by a descend through a round narrow cavity in the ice.
Returning to town and the hostel about five hours after we left, Pat and Carol greeted us with the news that they had made different arrangements for the following day. They hoped we did not mind spending $160 per person per night. This price included a gourmet dinner and breakfast at the Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge. We dined again that night at the Blue Ice, and stayed at the Franz Josef YHA.
We left Franz Josef, without Carols jeans (they had not arrived) and headed for Lake Moeraki. We arrived in time for our scheduled canoe trip from the Lodge to the Tasman Sea, $45 per person. Eric, our guide briefed us before we put our canoes in the water. These canoes looked more like a kayak, were made of plastic and fitted one person. Once in the water he explained where we were going and how we were going to navigate the river. It was a delightful paddle through the rapids down the river to the ocean two miles down stream. Eric stopped several times to show us plant life along the river. At one point we came across an illegal fish net trap. We also stopped for a coffee break. Here Eric passed coffee and cookies to us on paddles. Once on the beach he took us to the remains of a pilot whale that had washed a shore last June. We were able to smell him long before we saw him. We canoed back a different route and finished with a short hike back to the lodge. At the lodge we ate a delightful boxed lunch that had been prepared for us at a cost $13 per person. We spent the afternoon relaxing and hiked another path to the beach. Cocktails were served at 7:00 PM and all the guests of the lodge were introduced by Gerry. The dinner was great. For being in the middle of a wilderness, they have a fabulous chief. We ate dinner with a couple from England, and Margaret, who went down the river with us earlier in the day. Here we discovered that she was the sister-in-law of the owner. Her father was with her. He was from Leicestershire near Ashby- de-Le- Zouch, where a cousin of mine lives in England. We were there about ten years ago. After dinner, Carol went to bed, Pat drove back to Franz Josef to get Carols jeans that had arrived that day, and Al and I visited with the guests before going to bed. Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge.
We got up early to hike with Dr. Gerry Mc Sweeney, a conservationist who took over the lodge with the intention of demonstrating that tourism was an economic alternative to logging in the virgin forests of the south westland. He lead us to the river where he fed the eels before breakfast. After a great breakfast we headed south for a jet boat trip out to sea, cost $89.00 each. At Haast we met up with Eric and a couple from Michigan and the boat owner and headed to some islands about four km off shore. Here we saw a little Blue Penguin swimming in the water. We saw several Yellow Crested Penguins on the rocks. They were there because they were molting and could not swim. And there were lots of seals. The boat owner was able to maneuver his boat, due to the low tide and calm water, through a narrow opening in the rocks to a nursery where we saw lots of baby seals. Unfortunately we did not see the dolphins that the trip the day before us reported. After returning to shore Eric fed us more cookies and coffee and drove us to another beach. Then he returned us to the visitors' center at Haast and we said good-by to Eric and the couple from Michigan. Once on our way again, we drove over Haast Pass and stopped to hike to some blue pools. Then we went on to Wanaka $6.00 each. It was a real disappointment since it was constructed of wood and not hedges which is what we had expected. We went to town after the maze and shared another pizza for lunch. Later we shopped and Al bough a wool sweater. We paid $130.00 for it. Later that afternoon Carol, Al and I hiked Mt. Iron. It was a long hot climb but we made it to the top. The sight was worth the climb, with the city of Wanaka, the pretty blue lakes and the mountains in the background. After a shower and relaxing for a while, we walked to the White House for a leisure, farewell dinner.
After breakfast we drove to Queenstown airport. Pat and Carol made more reservations and turned in the car. We said our good-byes. Pat and Carol continued on their trip and we flew to Christchurch, and Auckland. Here we sat untill 10:00 PM waiting to fly to Los Angeles and then home to San Jose CA. We got home at 4:30 PM Monday Feb. 13. twenty-five hours after leaving Queenstown.
We had a great time in New Zealand! The most striking aspects of New Zealand were the difference in the vegetation and the cleanliness of the entire country. There was a noticeable lack of litter and an abundance of clean public toilets. Most of all we enjoyed the hospitality we recieved in New Zealand. We were most impressed on our trip to New Zealand, with the unhurried nature and friendliness of the people; from the passerby in the park, the workers in the hostels, the stewardess on the planes, to the owners of the shops and restaurants, everyone made us feel so relaxed and welcomed.