I’ve been so busy travelling recently that I’ve had no time to record my thoughts. Now however the opportunity presents itself – I am taking a siesta in the cool of our room while the hot Pantanal sun beats down outside.
There is a lot to talk about.
In this post I’ll talk about New Zealand. We spent two fantastic weeks there. It is a country with spectacular scenery and nature. I’d love to return in the future. Our first stop was Queenstown in the South Island – you’ll have seen the amazing views we got as the plane approached in an earlier post. Crosscountry skiing was brilliant fun – so much so that we are seriously considering a future trip to Scandinavia to do it again!
We had a lovely time with Keith and Jan in Dunedin. Keith took us to his Marine Lab on the Otago Peninsula. We saw the aquarium there ( the girls specially enjoyed the touching pools)and also had the good fortune to see some carpet sharks that were being monitored as part of a research project. We also took a boat trip out to Taiaroa Head where it is possible to get really good views of the only Royal Northern Albatross colony on mainland. We saw albatross soaring around plus young albatross being fed and taking their first faltering steps. There were seals and some little blue penguins too. We also visited Allan’s Beach on the peninsula in search of sea lions. We didn’t see any but it was the most fantastic beach – golden sands and wild spume. One of my favorite beaches of all.
Jan took us to the Moeraki boulders and then on to see a colony of yellow eyed penguins that live on the cliffs surrounding a lighthouse nearby. We were able to get really close to them in the dusky light. When I get a chance I’ll upload a video.
We also visited Baldwin Street which is officially the worlds steepest street.
Another trip was taking the girls to NZ Cadbury’s World. Rather ironic as we haven’t been to the one in Birmingham. It was very entertaining and we left clutching a bag of Cadbury’s freebies most of which were things we hadn’t tasted before because they are only available in New Zealand. Almost all chocolate bars seem to contain marshmallow – makes them very hard to eat discreetly!
Next up was Rotorua in the North Island. Wow. I had high expectations and they were met. We visited Wai-O-Tapu an amazing geothermic area with clouds of sulphurous steam rising from boiling lakes, spouting geysers and bubbling mud pools.
We all loved luxuriating in the spa pool at our motel looking up at the stars and watching the steam rise from the hot water into the chilly night air.
Learning a Haka and sharing a Hangi meal at Mitai Maori village was another very memorable evening.