We visited the Maori Cultural Center at Te Puia.
We saw kiwis in a darkened pen where they are set up for breeding. No pix allowed in there. They are very threatened as a species and nocturnal and therefore sensitive to any light. Here I present a stuffed kiwi we spied in the museum.
We highly recommend the Robertson House B&B in Rotorua, where proprietor John and his pal Loki here make you feel at home.
Sculpture in the square in Wellington created by the good folks at Weta Studios.
The Te Papa Museum is pretty awesome. Part natural history, part cultural, and part art museum, the admission is free.
Yes, that’s the famous Colossal Squid!
The City Art Gallery (also free), featuring a show by Yayoi Kusama. No pix inside though.
Boarding the ferry to South Island.
Te Waikoropupu Springs, the cleanest, clearest water I have ever seen in nature,
The traditional Pavlova. We never tried it, and I’m okay with that.
It was a tad windy up there above the spit.
Fur seals snooze all along the coast.
We had one of the best seafood dinners at The White Morph in Kaikora.
Off to the Whale Watch. It was choppy conditions but I managed to keep my lunch down.
One large sperm whale “logging.”
Dusky Dolphins (with weeks old calves)
New Zealand Crayfish (aka spiny lobster). I’ve worked in a lobster company/restaurant in Boston and I have to say, this critter beats Maine Lobster, hands down. I know that’s a kind of blasphemy.
Lake Tekapo‘s Church of the Good Shepherd. The lake has a beautiful aqua color due to the mineral deposits reflecting light.
The weather was not very cooperative viewing Mount Cook so we spent the night at nearby Twizel.
The next day the skies were clearer and the lupins lead the way.
More LOTR location reference, Minus Tirith (minus the CG castle) I believe.
After that, we went to Oamaru to see penguins: Blue Penguins (which are smaller than rabbits!) and Yellow-Eyed Penguins, which are endangered and much more rare. The former are adorable, but it was cool to see a few of the latter, as they are harder to find and you have to wait for a long time to see even one come out of the water. Well worth it, though. Here we are at the Blue Penguin colony during the day. We came back for the night time mass migration home to the colony.
This post is the next to last documenting our New Zealand trip. Just north of Dunedin are the Moeraki Boulders which are naturally occurring boulders along the seashore that have been released from the eroding dune wall over time. These boulders are completely spherical with a honeycomb interior that reveals itself with further erosion. In the past, the beach was covered with hundreds of boulders of all sizes but, over time, people carted off the majority of them. What remains are are the largest, and still impressive, examples.
Wool made from Australian possum, a non-native nuisance species, is now very common in New Zealand.
We also stopped in the the city art gallery in Dunedin which, like most NZ art institutions, is free to the public.
Then it was off to the Catlins, the lowly populated but beautiful southern coast of South Island.
This fellow (or gal) spotted me and started making tracks in my direction. I did not wait for him/her to arrive but opted to hide in the dunes. Whether the advance was amorous or adversarial, the encounter would not have been pretty.
The next day we headed out for a boat cruise through Milford Sound which is technically a fjord. It was quite rainy and dramatic but that made for extraordinary waterfalls.
A very wet Kea, a sort of mountain parrot.
Back in the town of Te Anau and into dry clothes.
We finished our trip by visiting Queenstown (South Island’s second largest city, Christchurch being the largest), Glenorchy, and Arrowtown. By the way, special thanks to MKC who took many of these photos. This trip was a celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary. It seems like only yesterday!
Mary in front of a statue of the extinct Moa. Imagine encountering one of these big flightless fellows like the Maori did when they arrived on New Zealand soil over 700 years ago.
Isengard location shot.