Archives for posts with tag: new zealand

Marty Melville

More at the Atlantic

Anglican Cathedral before and after

update: more photos via the Atlantic

Anglican Cathedral in February 2010:

cathedral square

Anglican Cathedral today:

Don Scott, Christchurch Press

the earth's crust
first view of the waimak

driving from queenstown to franz josef

franz josef glacier

be sure to rollover ‘notes’ to see photo captions!

Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day

Fiordland National Park cruising day…but rainy and cold with almost no visibility. Slept in, breakfast buffet, got some throat lozenges because I could feel a cold coming on – probably the same one Dad had been fighting throughout the trip. Went to morning trivia and checked out the ship’s Valentine’s Day decorations…which were INSANE.

Hung out on the sun deck, had the Indian buffet for lunch and saw the guy who looked a lot like Grandpa again. Went to afternoon tea! Afterwards the rain finally let up and we could see the fjords we were cruising through. But of course, the only one we got to see was Milford Sound, which we’d already toured.

Mom and Dad played some ping pong then at dinner, Aunt Linnea and Dad threw down a ping pong challenge! Mom gave our waiter some chocolate for Valentine’s Day and to make it extra special, put it down her shirt first! He thought it was hilarious and was very thankful 🙂

Feb. 15

Got up early and ran around the top deck and went to exercise class. Captain’s Circle meeting, vegetable-carving demonstration, ship-wide ping pong tournament. Went to tea with Mom, saw the ‘Piano Man’ stage show, watched ‘the Time Traveler’s Wife’ in the main theater, and saw Jack Wilks’ comedy show after dinner.

Feb. 16

Slept in – didn’t feel well. Dad brought me breakfast and I stayed in bed and watched ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’. Mom brought me soup and then I went up and watched Dad and Aunt Linnea battle it out over ping pong. I did my puzzles outside for awhile and worked on my tan. After dinner, watched ‘the Proposal’ in bed and ate way too many cakes and cookies.

be sure to rollover ‘notes’ to see photo captions!

We ported in Chalmers, and came ashore to a chilly, rainy day. A perfect day for a train ride! We boarded the Taieri Gorge Railway, a historic stretch of the Otago Central Railway, and wound our way through the rocky countryside. Most of the time we followed the Taieri River, dipping into the Taieri Gorge.

The train cars were vintage, and our host and hostess were incredibly kind and entertaining – wonderful ambassadors for their country and completely consistent with the level of kindness and consideration we experienced with every Kiwi.

On board, we sipped mimosas as we watched the countryside glide by, ate a surprisingly delicious box lunch (including wine from Montana, the winery Mom, Dad and I toured!).

After the beautiful train ride we boarded buses and visited Larnach Castle. We had a great guided tour of the house, and heard the sad story of the family who first lived there (read more via the links here). We had time to explore the house and grounds, and I spent a good amount of time on the roof (accessed via a very tight steep stairway) enjoying the near-360° ocean view. The castle and grounds were beautiful and reminded me a bit of Linderhof Palace. Less grand, of course, but a similar feel: grand palace in miniature, beautiful grounds.

That evening we went to Aunt Pat and Uncle Denny’s cabin for wine, and I brought some appetizers from the buffet. From their balcony we could see a bagpiper and drummer playing our farewell down on the dock (Dunedin is very Scottish)! We had dinner in the Santa Fe – I had an AMAZING Thai rice crème brûlée with lime sorbet.

be sure to rollover ‘notes’ to see photo captions!

We ordered breakfast in-room to save some time, since we had to be at our meeting point very early in the morning. Our first port was Tauranga, and our first shore excursion was to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, a park where we explored some of the features of the volcanic area.

First we drove through Te Puke, the world center of kiwifruit. We made a comfort stop and I called Maria to wish her a happy birthday. At Wai-O-Tapu we saw the Lady Knox geyser erupt, then spent awhile walking around the park, looking at vast boiling crates of mud and steaming, sulfurous, color-encrusted pools.

We had lunch at the top of Mt. Ngongotaha, and enjoyed a Maori cultural show. We drove through the government botanic gardens and saw the old baths and bathhouse. We also saw a spring that was 1000° that feeds water to the Polynesian spa, which gets up to 40°C.

We drove on to Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park. Trout are bred here, and there were endless ponds bursting with huge trout. We saw a lot of big fish up close, pretty birds, and redwoods that were over 80 years old. Apparently, for some reason redwoods grow twice as fast in NZ. We also saw a longfinned eel (called ‘tuna’ in Maori) that liked to hang out inside a pipe, upside down!

Back at ship, we left port and I read and had a mojito out on deck. We hit the buffet for dinner, then saw a musical stage show.

one reason, anyway. after i looked at our australia/new zealand trip itinerary:

me: wow this is so expensive

me: i owe you forever

mom: naw

mom: you’re worth it

mom: 🙂

mom: you might go back there some day – but i doubt if we will

me: i don’t know if i will – it’s so far away!

mom: i’m sure nathan (your future husband) will want to go there

mom: fillion