Friday, October 30, 2009

Wellington Public Library

For you bibliophiles, welcome to the Wellington Library...the entrance from the Civic Plaza leads you directly to coffee and assorted tables on the second floor, which overlooks the books below.
Walking in to the coffee bar, my first thought was that this must be a Borders! No wonder people were using the library---books were quite expensive (even in used book stores, trade-sized paberbacks were going for $18.).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Farewell Auckland, New Zealand

Farewell Auckland
Originally uploaded by for the birds1
Oct 22: Time to fly home, but in morning we took a quick ferry to Devonport to get a good harbor view---Dwight also had to check out a used book store there.

We took a 3:00 pm flight from Auckland and arrived in LA at 6:25 am the same day!!! (we crossed the international date line). Now we're back in Sacto. and can decompress.

The trip was an excellent adventure and New Zealand has some wonderful sights.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winding down to ChristChurch

Near Arthur's Pass
Originally uploaded by for the birds1
Oct. 19: Long drive to Christchurch, with stop at Nelson Lakes for hike in beech forest. Only sandflies of the trip joined us for picnic lunch at the lake, so we ran back to the car.

Oct. 20: big 40th anniv day. All day train trip across the Alps, stopping at Moana for a nice lunch followed with a tour by the innkeepers. First sunny day of the trip, fantastic views from the train (generally regarded as one of the best in the world). Lamb dinner back in ChCh, a two-dessert dinner!

Oct. 21: Another sunny day in the faux-British atmosphere of the town. Strolled thru the lovely botanic gardens, then had high tea
at the nearby uber-British Mona Vale estate. Flew back to Auckland this evening.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Abel Tasman National Park in South Island

Oct 17---Crossed to South Island on ferry. Made dolphin watch tour to Motuara Island sanctuary. Closest to any dolphin we came was a fur seal. Island had friendly South Island robins. We got rained out on way back to Picton. Rip-off.
Arrived at primitive hostel at Old Macdonald's farm in dark---very dark; we had to find our own shed in rain. We never did find the outdoor toilets!
Oct 18---were supposed to have all-day kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, but we missed the boat. Instead we had a wonderful hike along the coast after being dropped off by water taxi for part of trail.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wellington area

Oct 14: Stopped at Mt. Bruce Bird Sanctuary to feed Kaka. Dinner at the Tin Hut, and sleep at Longwood House.
Oct. 15-16: Wellington and environs, a great city to visit. Karori Sanctuary was exceptional and home to shags, North Island Robins, and many Tui, fantails, bellbirds, saddlebacks,...Botanical gardens were hillish, with an orienteeringly unacceptable map. Lots of restaurants and museums, and the public library looked like Border's.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tongariro Crossing

Middle ascent
Originally uploaded by for the birds1
Tues. Oct 13: Winter conditions, got forced to join a guided group with iceaxes. Went off on our own after lunch to finish the Crossing. Whiteout conditions at the top (photos misleading, no point taking any until a few seconds of clearing). 12 mlles, 900 m. climb. Made it in 8 hrs.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Volcanic and geo-thermal areas near Rotorua

Oct. 11: Arrived in Waitomo to see glow-worm cave; Ruakuri Tunnel hike. On to Rotorua for Maori Hangi feast, complete with warrior dance and fine dining. Dwight served as honorary chief of our tourist tribe.

Oct. 12: Hiked Waimangu Volcanic valley and Wai-O-tapu with many geothermal features, including the amazing Champagne pool. Tomorrow is the big 11 mile Tongariro Crossing hike. We've been forced to hire a guide because of recent snow and ice. They'll supply ice axes and crampons. More pix to follow, if we survive.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tiritiri Matangi Island

Originally uploaded by for the birds1
Mammal free wildlife preserve, all rats poisoned. Humans allowed by permit only. Sat Oct. 10, 2009. An amazing place---click on pic to see more.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Originally uploaded by for the birds1
Aaauck! We're in Auckland. Lots of Awkward birds. Click foto to see more.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis
Originally uploaded by for the birds1
I'm praying to get the hang of posting pictures from Flickr before we leave on Wednesday for New Zealand...if you want to view more photos, you'll have to view the photostream. (???)