Archive for December, 2007

2007 12 24 – Big Trip – Day 237 – New Zealand – Golden Bay

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Pohara Beach Top 10 Holiday Park, Pohara, South Island, New Zealand 3565km

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Wharakiri Beach, Golden Bay

Season’s Greetings to all our friends in the US!

We spent the last 2 days in the south island’s northwest corner called Golden Bay. Part of the time it was Grey Bay, due to the rain. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful corner of NZ and we had a nice time. (more…)

2007 12 22 – Big Trip – Day 235 – New Zealand – Abel Tasman National Park

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Old McDonald’s Farm, Marahau, South Island, New Zealand. 3340km

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Bark Bay, Abel Tasman National Park

The weather has improved considerably in the last 2 days, especially today. We left Nelson yesterday and reached Marahau, a tiny town on the border of Abel Tasman National Park. Abel Tasman was a Dutch Explorer who was the first European to discover this country a century prior to Captain Cook. He called it Neu Seeland. (more…)

2007 12 20 – Big Trip – Day 233 – New Zealand – Rainy welcome to the South Island

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Nelson City Holiday Park, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand. 3270km 

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Nelson Playground

We have not been too fortunate with the weather in the past few days. We got up to a bleak Tuesday morning and crossed the Cook Straights to the south island with poor visibility and rain for most of the 3 hour journey. The ferry itself was huge and impressive, with a little play area for kids. Lucky for us, because that is all the running the kids did on Tuesday. (more…)

2007 12 17 – Big Trip – Day 230 – New Zealand – Wellington

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Te Papa Parking Lot, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand. 3140km

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Maori Word of the day: Te Papa – Our Place. This is the name of Nz’s very impressive museum of art, history, and science.

The last few days have been spent in Wellington, New Zealand’s very small and relaxed capital. The city has only 100 thousand inhabitants, and the entire area only 400,000. Which means we never saw a traffic jam, had no problems finding a parking spot, and in general enjoyed our time here. (more…)

2007 12 13 – Big Trip – Day 226 – New Zealand – Tongariro National Park

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park, Ohakune, North Island, New Zealand. 2745km

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Mount Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park

Kiwi Word of the day: Tramping – Hiking.

On Wednesday morning the weather was kind of iffy, but we decided not to hang around Taupo any longer and drove down towards Tongariro. We took the turn to Whakapapa village, which is a year round attraction, ski in winter, tramping in summer. After Shir and Orr napped along the way, and after lunch in the visitor center parking lot, we embarked on a hike to Taranaki Falls. (more…)

2007 12 11 – Big Trip – Day 225 – New Zealand – Napier and Hawkes Bay

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Taupo All Seasons Holiday Park, Taupo, North Island, New Zealand. 2450km

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Gannet Colony, Cape Kidnappers

The weather in the mountain area of Taupo was still bad on Sunday morning, so we decided to hit the east coast area of Napier for a few days. The 140km drive was scenic (as usual) and also supplied us a few tense moments with an almost empty fuel tank once we realized there will be no gas station till we reach the coast. Imagine our joy to find a gas station towards the end of the drive only to realize it is automated and won’t accept any of our credit cards. Argh! (more…)

2007 12 8 – Big Trip – Day 222 – New Zealand – Wet Wet Taupo

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Taupo All Seasons Holiday Park, Taupo, North Island, New Zealand. 2225km

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Whanganui River Road

Our luck with the weather ended a few days ago and now it seems we are doomed for several more iffy days. We left Whanganui on a sunny morning and headed north on a beautiful drive called the Whanganui River Road. This narrow and winding road tracks the river upstream for over 100km. The second part of the road is gravel, so we took it very slow. The whole area is a Maori stronghold, with no services like gas or groceries. (more…)

Trampoline Fun

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

2007 12 4 – Big Trip – Day 217 – New Zealand – Mount Taranaki

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Wanganui Top 10 Holiday Park, Wanganui, North Island, New Zealand. 1934km

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Fantom's Peak, Mount Taranaki

Maori word of the day: Pakeha – The Maori word for European New Zealanders. Once derogatory, now standard.

Hag Urim Sameach (Happy Hanukka)

After Waitomo we headed south to Mount Taranaki also known as Mount Egmont, depending if you are a Maori or Pakeha. It is a beautiful conical volcano almost 3000m high, similar to Mt Fuji in Japan. The top is snow covered year round. The last eruption was 250 years ago and another one is due in 100 more. Ron correctly deduced that this must be a dormant volcano, not an extinct one. (more…)

2007 12 2 – Big Trip – Day 215 – New Zealand – Waitomo Caves and Glow Worms

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park, Waitomo, North Island, New Zealand. 1532km

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Boat leaving underground river in Glow Worm cave, Waitomo

Maori word of the day: Waitomo – Water (wai) Hole (tomo). The Maoris were the first to discover these caves, but it is the white man that turned them into a huge tourist and adrenaline industry.

We had a busy day here in Waitomo. Our day began with a 10am tour of the famous glow worm cave, a short walking distance from our campground. After we parted with a nice sum of money, we were led on tour of a very interesting cave. Sure, it has stalagmites and stalactites, but it also has an underground river running through it, and even cooler than that, thousands of little glow in the dark worms that hang from the cave ceiling. (more…)