Thursday, June 13, 2024

Rotorua's best geyser, Aug 2023

Finally I have seen all the regular geothermal geysers in the world!  (Yellowstone, Calistoga CA, and Rotorua New Zealand)

The whole of Rotorua has volcanic activity but only the geyser inside Te Puia goes off regularly.  


Even when the geyser is not actually erupting, there is a lot of steam over the whole area.

You can only visit via a tour.  In addition to the geyser you see the kiwi conservation center.  They are nocturnal so you won't see them in the wild.  

The third part is the Maori arts and crafts center.

It is a school where Master carvers teach apprentices and you can talk to them while they work.

The other craft is weaving.

In the gift shop you can of course purchase items.

Truly gorgeous work.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

To and From Wellington, Aug 2023

During the drive from Christchurch to the ferry in Picton we passed this memorable snack shack.  They weren't open yet, but next time, lobster rolls for sure!

If the weather co-operates you can get some amazing views on the ferry to Wellington.  We had bad weather and while we waited for it to calm down, we got to people watch in the terminal building.  

It was around this time my phone died, so I am in the next bunch of pictures, lol.  Wellington is home to Weta workshops, famous for all the Lord of The Rings armor.  They have them set out around the city in hotel lobbies.  We went on a scavenger hunt and found a bunch of them!

The waterfront

The art and natural history museum

The movie industry!

We ate lunch at the top of the funicular, spectacular view, great food, in the middle of a lovely park.

Super fun day!  In the evening we got to see a World Cup match.  I would happily visit again for a week!

Start the train journey!  We are trying to get in all the modes of transportation so next is the train from Wellington to Auckland!  It is a full day trip and perfect for tourists.

Giant sightseeing windows, every seat gets headphones with an audio tour, and a lovely snack car.

The views are amazing, it looks like a postcard.

The train goes through mountains, jungles, pastures, and along the river.

The last train car has been reconfigured into an open air viewing car.  I've never been on anything like it.  Travelling at 60 mph, feeling all the bumping and swaying, cold wind-invigorating!

Almost to the city we get a lovely sunset.  

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Christchurch Antarctic center and around town, Aug 2023

The majority of Antarctic trips leave from Christchurch so their local science center/museum is Antarctica themed.  It is a mile from the airport and the first thing we did.  A must do!

The Hagglund is the way to get around because it can cross all the gnarly terrain.  A ride in a Hagglund through the obstacle course is part of admission, and the best thing!  Up and down 45 degree hills, over a 6 foot crevasse, crazy bumpy fields.  We were laughing our heads off like we were on a mini roller coaster.

Don't miss the chance to go into the -40 with wind chill room.  They provide foot covers and extra jackets before you enter the snow filled room.  Things are normal for a bit, then over the radio you hear that a big cold front is coming in fast.  Watch the temperature drop and hide out in the igloo if you have to.

Little blue penguins!

Even at feeding time we didn't have a problem getting a front row seat.

Of course they take in injured penguins and give them a cozy home.  The rest of the Centre is tightly curated, presenting a few topics in depth.

Countries with permanent Antarctica programs have logistic centers right near the airport.

Gorgeous country

How cute is our little business hotel!

Mural art is a big deal in Christchurch-fun variety of styles.