New Zealand 2007

We spent the first couple days wandering around Auckland, New Zealand's capital and largest city. We stayed fairly close to downtown, so we could simply walk downtown and explore.
Next we headed north, stopping briefly at Takapu, where there's a large gannet colony. Bugs may have loved the overpowering smell of guano, but we weren't quite as crazy about it.
We stayed for a couple days at Paihia, on the Bay of Islands. We took a day trip on a small ferry to Russell, visited the Stone Store (the oldest stone building in New Zealand) and visited the grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.
Then we headed south to do some black water rafting. This involved climbing down into a cave, looking at glow worms and jumping backwards over waterfalls.
It figures that the day we decided to spend hiking had the worst weather. Later we found out that we were on the edge of a large cyclone. The cyclone gave the north end of the island its biggest floods of the last century. The Stone Store we visited a few days earlier was flooded as well.
While it poured outside, the next day we stayed inside and watched some glass blowing.
Rotorua means both adventure and hydrothermal activity. So we did the "swoop", which is a cross between a giant swing and bungy jumping, looked at boiling mud and mud volcanoes, then finished with a dip in mud baths.
The Bed and Breakfast we stayed at near Hawke's Bay was on a vineyard. We explored Napier, the "Art Deco Capital", and the wineries in the surrounding countryside.
The capital of New Zealand is Wellington. It was windy and threatening when we were there, but the drive along the coastline was beautiful. Wellington is on the southern tip of the North Island.
Next we hopped on a ferry to take us to the South Island. We wandered through the Marlborough region where we stopped at a winery for lunch.
The most gorgeous day of the trip we spent tramping (i.e. hiking) through Abel Tasman Park. We took a water taxi part way up the coast then walked along a trail through fern trees and along several beaches.
We spent our last few nights in Nelson, a cute little town in the middle of an arts and crafts community.

Scott Sherman send comments to comments at this domain