About 2 hours south of Auckland is this cave known for its concentration of glow worms. The cave itself is not that special but the sight of the glow worms makes it all worthwhile. Unfortunately pictures are not allowed in the cave so you'll have to see for yourself.
This is Aukland's oldest park. It occupies the site of a former volcano. Despite rainy weather we had pleasant stroll here. It is home to The Auckland War Memorial Museum. We also found a statue of Rabbie Burns here - just to make me homesick.
One of the great things to do in Auckland is to go to the old ferry building and go on a boat trip. Had we had time, we would have tried them all. As it was we chose the trip to Devonport. This was a beautiful place and it had great views back towards Auckland and great views of the volcanic island of Rangitoto.
We treated ourselves to a wonderful relaxing soak in the geothermal pools at the Polynesian Spa . A splendid way to ease all your aches and pains. Also very theraputic for eczyma sufferers like me. The pools overlook the beautiful Rotorua Lake.
Our hotel in Rotorua overlooked the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village. At night we could hear the boiling mud bubbling away outside our window.
We visited Whakarewarewa Thermal Village twice. First, we went during the day and were escorted round by a very friendly Maori guide who showed us all the geothermal activity - steaming pools, geysers, bubbling mud. We also visited the Maori cultural centre and saw traditional crafts and learned more about the Maoris' traditional way of life. Then we saw a Maori dance display, including the famous haka.
We returned at night for a hangi - a traditional Maori feast cooked in the ground, more entertainment and a very relaxed fun evening.
I would strongly recommend a visit here. The Maori people who live here are incredibly hospitable and friendly. It was fascinating to see their buildings with the lovely wooden carvings and to see their traditional dancing.
We paid a visit to this beautiful old wooden building. One of my New Zealand friends tells me she got married here, what a lovely setting for a wedding. This building used to be the cathedral in Wellington, but that role has now been taken by a bigger, more modern building - also called St Paul's Cathedral. The church was consecrated by Bishop Abraham on 6 June 1866. It is located at 34 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon.
We arrived in Wellington on Boxing Day. It was, at least on a public holiday, an incredibly quiet place. Most restaurants were closed. One thing still open was the funicular which took us up to the top of the hill. From where we enjoyes great views over Wellington and had a lovely wander round the botaens.
We wanted to enjoy some of New Zealand's spectacular mountain scenery, so we booked a train trip to Arthur's Pass. We had a couple of hours there before we had to catch the train back so went for a stroll, visited the waterfall and made use of one of the cafes.
Now this I do know is up and running again as I checked it out on line.
We went here by bus from the centre of Christchurch. The cable car takes you up to the top of an extinct volcano. It last exploded 6 million years ago. There are fantastic mountain and sea views from this point.
We visited Christchurch in 2004. In 2011 it was hit by a massive earthquake; I do not know if these beautiful gardens were affected.
Our hotel was a bit away from the centre of Christchurch and our most direct way into the centre was to stroll through the botanic gardens, thus we were lucky enough to walk through these gardens repeatedly. Parts of them are by the banks of the river. They were stunningly beautiful gardens with the most wonderful rose garden I have ever seen. From time to time we would see people punting on the river. It felt like we had been suddenly transported to Oxford or Cambridge.
World-renowned for its adventure, Queenstown is home to a huge choice of adrenaline based activities ... However, if like us, your desire is to explore at a more relaxed pace, there’s also plenty on offer.
The Queenstown Skyline Complex sits high on Bob's Peak, and is reached by the gondola cableway. The entrance to catching it, is located 5 minutes by foot from central Queenstown.
Although I dislike heights, I didn't find the gondola ride to Bob’s Peak too uncomfortable ... if anything, it gave me a thrill. The views from the top are superb, providing a stunning bird's-eye panorama of The Remarkables, and Lake Wakatipu. There is a shop, restaurant, toilets and plenty of seating up there, but the views are the thing. Plus there’s the luge. We didn't try it, but our traveling companions enjoyed the experience.
Queenstown is known for its spectacular skiing and snowboarding, and turns into a winter sports paradise from May to August. Although a non-skier, we took the bus up to The Remarkables ski fields and appreciated the scenery ... For me, it was my first encounter ever, with snow. It had fallen the night before, and was crisp and powdery. You don't have to ski to enjoy the area.
We also hopped on the last surviving steamship on Lake Wakatipu, the “TSS Earnslaw”.
It was a lovely cruise with spectacular views. The steamer, from a past era, was very well maintained. We took the return trip on Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. Passengers can check out the engine room, and observe the crew shoveling the coal.
During the cruise, we saw stunning views of the lake and Queenstown, and amazing scenery of snow-peaked mountains. Seeing the lake from the wharf was great, but aboard this ship, it was incredible.
The Kiwi Birdlife Park is a great place to view the elusive kiwis that are rare, nocturnal and exist only in New Zealand. The park is a relaxing place to spend time. The area is beautiful with lots of trees, and other rare birds are on display too. We were able to see all of them, and the endangered reptile, the tuatara, up close. The informative show given at the start of our visit was excellent too.
For something a bit different, and amusing at the same time, there is an underwater observatory beneath Lake Wakatipu where you can view and feed native diving ducks ... (New Zealand Scaup), as well as fish, and an occasional big eel. The observation windows were huge and clean. There were seats too if you wanted to relax a bit. We enjoyed this unique experience, that is hidden under the jetty where thrill seekers board the speed boat.
Several people had mentioned to me that i should visit the Hundertwasser toilets which is in the small town of Kawakawa in the northern region of New Zealand.
These toilets were designed by Austrian architect Frienenriech Hundertwasser,who lived in the town from 1975 until his death in 2000.The toilets are a mixture of ceramic tiles,bottle glass windows,mosaic tiling,copper handwork,cobblestone floors and a grass roof.
I must say it seemed a bit strange taking photos inside a toilet block.
Situated on the edge of Lake Tekapo the church was built in 1935 and the first church built in the Mackenzie Basin.
Because the Church of the Good Shepherd has caught the attention of the world,many people visit here from all parts of the globe.The church is still used for weddings and baptisms.The views from the church window has to be one of the best anywhere.
GLIDING TRIAL FLIGHT.
Enjoy the exhiliration of flight without the noise and vibrations of an engine. A truly worthwhile experience, and you can easily take photos out the canopy of the lovely terrain below. Once you have released from the towplane, flight becomes vibration and noise free and you are up there with the birds!! Having no engine is a real plus, as you will see :-)
Check the GlidingMatamata website and view thru the webcam on their homepage.
*THIS IS CONVENIENTLY LOCATED BETWEEN AUCKLAND AND ROTORUA*
Trial flights cost $NZD120; $180 & $300 as at 2013.
They fly Sat/Sun and Wednesdays, and public holidays.
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