New Zealand in March 2016   1 comment

Presenting the latest episode of
“Hawaiians in New Zealand”
starring: Lari and Mary
February 22 to March 10, 2016

Mary Ann Kadooka and I are best friends since our freshman year in college at University of Hawaii.  She was my maid of honor and I was her matron of honor, but we had never travelled together before. When we decided to go to New Zealand together, we started planning our trip rather than take a tour. We discovered that we had similar interests and wanted to see virtually the same sites. So we each planned different parts of the trip, sharing the planning process, making reservations, etc.

We flew by Hawaiian Airlines to Auckland and spent one day just walking around town and going to the Sky Tower to see the views of the city by day and by night. We caught a ferry (at the suggestion of the girl at the visitor center) to Devonport Island. It was a delightful little island. We walked around and had lunch there.

The next day, we caught the bus to Waitomo Glow Worm cave for an adventure with Black Water Rafting. Instead of riding a boat into the cave, we wore wet suits and floated in the underground river on inner tubes. Part of the way we had to walk through the rocky stream and we also had to jump two small waterfalls with our tubes. It was so much fun! We caught a bus to Rotorua where we stayed for 3 nights in a motel close to the visitor center.

Rotorua is known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, as well as showcasing their fascinating Maori culture. The first day, we visited Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. We saw bubbling mud pools, pools of many different colors and Lady Knox geyser, which is “induced” by pouring soap into it’s mouth to make it bubble and shoot up. We also went to Hell’s Gate Spa, where we experienced hot mud bath spa treatments before going into the sulfur pool… very good for our health. We also enjoyed the Mitai Maori dinner show (similar to a Hawaiian luau) for tourists to be entertained.

We flew to South Island and stayed several days on the East coast of the South Island at Oamaru, where we took a bus outside of town to Moeraki Boulders, where huge spherical boulders are scattered along the beach; very strange and interesting! We saw the blue penguins come home to nest at night after feeding in the ocean all day long.

We took another bus to Dunedin, one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. The center of their town is called The Octagon, and we visited the wonderful and free Dunedin Public Art Gallery right on the Octagon. We also enjoyed the free Otago Botanic Garden, the Otago University campus, the Chinese Garden and the Otago Museum. We also did a full day tour which included a train ride through the Taieri Gorge in the morning and a van ride in the afternoon to the Otago Peninsula, with gorgeous views.

We rode the bus to our next destination, Te Anau, on the west side of South Island. We stayed at a lovely BnB, where we met Ed and Barbara from Philly at breakfast, and then we took the bus to Milford Sound. I was surprised that the bus ride had spectacular views with high mountains and many waterfalls. We arrived at Milford Sound and boarded the Milford Mariner with cabins for our overnight cruise. We were awed by more spectacular views on Milford Sound-so many waterfalls so very beautiful! We enjoyed the views in the evening and again in the morning.

After disembarking, we took a bus to Queenstown, the place for many different adventurous activities such as bungy jumping. We walked around the lovely Queenstown Garden, did some shopping, we rode up the Skyline gondola, the steepest gondola ride in the Southern Hemisphere up to Bob’s Peak overlooking Lake Wakatipu. We took TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Farm for a fabulous buffet dinner and to watch sheepdogs n sheep shearing. We loved the famous burgers at Fergburgers, where there is always a long line.

Ed and Barbara, from Philadelphia, who were staying in the motel next to us had a rental car, and they drove us on a day trip to Wanaka, and on the way, we stopped to watch bungy jumpers at AJ Hacket bungy, off the Kawarau Bridge. We had lunch and a lovely walk along Wanaka Lake. New Zealand is a beautiful, scenic place with no freeways and no huge crowds. We had a wonderful time in New Zealand, and loved the friendliness of the people and gorgeous scenery.

Lari’s Top Ten:
10 The beautiful gardens in each city
9 Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
8 Lovely scenery with cattle and sheep farms
7 Delicious food
6 The local beer
5 Moeraki Boulder beach
4 Taieri Gorge train ride and tour of Otago Peninsula
3  Mud bath spa at Hell’s Gate
2 Black Water Rafting in glowworm cave
1 Beautiful Milford Sound

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We spent a day in Auckland and went up on the Sky Tower and stood on the glass floor looking down 722 feet to the street level.

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We took a ferry to the island of Devonport.

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In Devonport, we strolled along the oceanside park path and went into the main part of town for lunch.

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We took a bus to Waitomo Glowworm Cave for our Black Water Rafting tour. We had to wear wetsuits and wetsuit socks and boots to keep us protected.

Each of us in the group posed at the beginning of the rafting tour, where we had to walk through the underground stream, float in our inner tubes and jump the waterfalls.

Here we are in the cave in a group photo.

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We stayed in Rotorua and enjoyed the night market.

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In Rotorua, we loved the mud spa treatments.

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At Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland the hot bubbling mud pool was so fascinating!

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At Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland the Lady Knox geyser has to be induced by adding soap into the opening before it starts to bubble and shoot up.

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At Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, this is the artist palette because it has many different minerals and colors.

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At Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, this bright yellow pool is called the Devil’s Bath.

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At the Mitai Maori Village, we had entertainment and a wonderful buffet dinner.

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We flew from Rotorua on the North Island to Christchurch on the South Island.

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We stayed in Oamaru on the east coast, where we watched the little blue penguins come out of the ocean to their nests at night.

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Just outside of Oamaru, we had to catch a bus to see the strange round Moeraki Boulders on the beach.

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Our next stop was to Dunedin, the lovely city settled by Scottish settlers. This is their beautiful train station.

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Our favorite in the Dunedin Botanic Garden was the rose garden.

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Baldwin Street in Dunedin is the steepest street in the world!

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On the Taieri Gorge Tour, we rode the train through beautiful scenery.

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On the Taieri Gorge Tour, we rode the train through beautiful scenery.

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We walked around through Dunedin to find street art like this one.

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After walking around town, we enjoyed cold Speight’s Beer.

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We loved the Chinese Garden in Dunedin.

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This bagpiper entertained in front of the train station.

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Milford and Doubtful Sounds are not really sounds, but fjords formed by glaciers in Fiordland National Park.

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We did not know that the bus ride to Milford Sound would be so scenic!

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Our bus to Milford Sound had roof windows to enjoy the views of mountains and waterfalls.

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We chose to do an overnight cruise on Milford Sound on the Milford Mariner.

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Milford Sound at different times of the day is just fabulous!

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Milford Sound at different times of the day is just fabulous!

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Milford Sound at different times of the day is just fabulous!

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Milford Sound at different times of the day is just fabulous! So many waterfalls to marvel at!

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In Queenstown, we rode the Skyline gondola for a fabulous view of the city!

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We rode the Skyline gondola for a fabulous view of Queenstown!

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The famous Fergburgers in Queenstown are a must! Yumm!

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At Queenstown Gardens we watched the ladies lawn bowling.

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We took the steamboat TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Farm for a fabulous buffet dinner and then watched sheep shearing.

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We watched bungy jumping at the Kawarau Bridge, but we did NOT jump!

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We enjoyed Queenstown a lot. This mall had many shops and restaurants to enjoy.

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In Cardrona, they had a fence full of bras for breast awareness.

One response to “New Zealand in March 2016

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  1. Love your adventurous heart! You two look related, no wonder you’re best friends. I liked the inner tube excursion the best. I’d do that!

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