New Zealand - August 2001

This year, instead of returning to Italy we decided to visit New Zealand.  Although we very much missed Italy and all of our friends, we felt we should take advantage of our position in the middle of the Pacific while we still live here.  Once we move to Sequim, we will be that much further from New Zealand, but that much closer to Italy!

NZ is such a wonderful little country.  The people are friendly, the scenery magnificent, and the prices reasonable.  Although August is their winter and the weather was cool, we found it to be quite pleasant and enjoyed getting away from the sometimes-stifling heat of Hawaii.  We spent 12 days in the country, and drove over 2,000 miles, landing in Auckland and driving through Whangarei, Hamilton, Rotorua, Taupo, Wanganui, and Wellington on the North Island.  Then we caught the ferry over to Picton, picked up another rental car, and drove through Nelson, Westport, Greymouth, Franz Josef, Arthur's Pass, Akaroa, Geraldine, and finally settling in Christchurch for the last couple of days.  Although we hoped to make it to Milford Sound, that proved to be too far south to drive (it would have added 1,000 miles to the trip).

Here are a few snapshots we took along the way.


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A section of coast north of Auckland.  We spent three days exploring this part of the island before heading south, back through Auckland, and further on.  This view is typical, with wide beaches, grassy dunes, and large rocks at the shoreline.

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This geyser is near Rotorua.  Although it spews on its own from time to time, they usually prompt it by dumping a bag of soap down the hole.  The soap breaks up the surface tension of the hot water below and causes it to erupt, as shown in the photo above.  They said that this was originally discovered years ago when the locals noticed that every time they came to the area to wash their clothes in the hot water, the geyser erupted!

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The river just north of Lake Taupo (North Island). I took this picture from the platform where I made a bungy jump when I was in NZ about 8 years ago!

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A small harbor on the north side of the South Island.  This part of the island is marked by small inlets, harbors, and passageways.   The ferry ride from Wellington to Picton was very pleasant and the scenery quite pretty.  We recommend you take the ride during the daytime, and hope for good weather (like we had).

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Another inlet along the north side of the South Island.  We saw several dolphins swimming in this area.

That's it for now!  I took over 200 pictures, but don't have room for near that many on the web site.  This was just a very small sample of the things we saw and the beauty of the country.  When we were there the American dollar was pretty strong against the NZ dollar ($NZ1 = $US.43) so everything seemed to be a bargain. All of the motels we stayed at were spotlessly clean, their owners very cordial and friendly, and cost $US25 to $US35.  Also, the food was inexpensive and good, although the steak was sometimes disappointing by our standards.  But, without exception, we had a great time and will always remember the visit.

Interested in reading a day-by-day account?  You'll find it here.

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Page last updated - 03/01/03