Archive | April, 2013

The Lord of the (w)Ring(ing wet) (with apologies to JRR Tolkien)

Fiordlands National Park

In 10 quick days, we drove from the top of New Zealand to the very bottom, going from North Island to South Island with a four hour ferry ride through the Cook Strait (named after the good Captain, himself) in between.  My positive spin on the experience is that we never needed sun block, sunglasses, or short sleeved shirts. You’ll be interested to know that when it rains in the southern hemisphere, it does so in a counter-clockwise fashion.  (No, it doesn’t.  That’s just as silly as the notion that the toilets flush differently down here.  We know, because we watched.  Repeatedly, just in case of a fluke flush.) Continue Reading →

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Christchurch – charming, beautiful and devastated

Avon River, Christchurch

View of the Avon River in the Christchurch Botanic Garden

On a sunny morning in February, 2011, the lovely town of Christchurch was hit by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake, a mere 5 months after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake jolted the area.  The 2010 quake caused no fatalities, but weakened many building structures, so that when the second quake hit on that lovely summer morning, 185 people would die as buildings collapsed and the ground slid away to be filled with silt and water. Continue Reading →

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Today’s Random Observations

If I weren’t here to report these things, how would you ever know that:

The newspapers here are HUGE

The newspapers here are HUGE

There are a multitude of ‘house movers’ in NZ. At first, we thought they were the folks who helped pack and move your belongings from house to house. But, no, they are ACTUALLY house movers and …. they move your house from your property to a ‘used house lot’, where you can walk around and browse among the many used homes for sale. And kick their tires. Maybe take them for a test ‘live’. I’m not kidding. I took some photos, but they just look like very crowded neighborhoods. Continue Reading →

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Ski New Zealand

Chairlift ski Tongariro

Not that we’re Alpine experts, but we do go to Aspen every year and have experienced our share of chairlifts and ski runs. But never, ever, have we seen a chairlift and a ski run quite like this one. Granted, it’s a bit early in the season, so there’s no snow.   Yet.    ON THE VOLCANO. Continue Reading →

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A hot time in the old town tonight


Views of Tongariro's volcanoes from the air.  Not from an airplane.

Views of Tongariro’s volcanoes from the air. Not from an airplane.

We’re sleeping tonight in the shadow of not one, not two, but THREE volcanoes.  Two are active; the most recent eruption was in 2003.  Nothing to worry about:  the guidebook assures us that “NZ’s volcanic nature can be destructive, but overall is a blessing in disguise.”  It then goes on to say “in the Central Plateau (yep, right where we are), a different form of lava produces a very dangerous, explosive type of volcano”.  (As opposed to those dribbly, kindly volcanoes we’re all familiar with??)  Kiwis (New Zealanders) carry on as if living in the Pacific Ring of Fire is no cause for concern, so we’re trying to do the same. Continue Reading →

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Auckland … Rain, rain, go away!


Downtown Auckland seen from ferry.  Note:  sun successfully photoshopped out of image.

Downtown Auckland seen from ferry. Note: sun successfully photoshopped out of image.

The canopies should have been our first clue. Jutting out from every building, covering every sidewalk and plaza, permanent canopies shade the daily life of the Kiwi in Auckland. I use the word ‘shade’ judiciously; we’ve heard talk of that distant orb in the sky but we’ve not seen hide nor hair of the sun since we arrived on New Zealand’s (very damp) soil. So, the canopies did a reasonable job of protecting us from the unremitting rain as we attempted to tour Auckland. Continue Reading →

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Au Revoir, Moorea

I’m already nostalgic for this scene:

Afternoon shadows Moorea

This post finds us on a ferry, journeying from Wellington, NZ on the North Island to Picton, NZ on the South Island. I just needed one more look at Moorea before I start writing about New Zealand. Just to prepare you for what’s coming, I found this little sign at Te Papa, a stunning museum on the shoreline of the Tasman sea in Wellington.

It rains and rains and rains

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Things to do in paradise

When you find yourself in paradise, here are a few recommended activities:  You can

A few recommendations:

Hop the catamaran from downtown Papeete (instead of the slower ferry) for a 25 minute ride to Moorea.  Phone ahead for a taxi … everywhere.

On Moorea:  We stayed at the Moorea Pearl Resort;  it lived up to every star it received on various travel sites.

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Moorea – Paradise Regained!

“Nothing on Tahiti is so majestic as what faces it across the bay, for there lies the island of Moorea.  To describe it is impossible.  It is a monument to the prodigal beauty of nature.”  – James Michener, ‘Return to Paradise’, 1951

I couldn’t agree with Mr. Michener more, so to spare you my feeble attempts at describing paradise, please enjoy my feeble attempts at photographing it….

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REsort and REality on Tahiti

Sometimes, you just have to REsort to REality!


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