Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Zealand Finale

The last ten days of our trip were spent back in New Zealand.  Here are some miscellaneous photos.

This was one of many interesting museum exhibits at Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum.  It is located in Wellington, the capitol city of New Zealand.

Wherever we went, we continued to be mesmerized by the beautiful scenery.  I love this image of  a cloud engulfing a mountain top.

One day we took a catamaran through the Marlborough Sound.  The scenery was spectacular.  We also  learned about mussel farming.  Before lunch, we were able to feast on fresh mussels.

Another day found us cruising through the fiords of Fiordlands National Park.  This is one of the spectacular waterfalls we saw.

Photos can't capture the true beauty of a waterfall so I took a short video I thought you might enjoy.

This is  a view at Mirror Lake.  Look at the reflection of the mountains in the water.

Queenstown is considered the "adventure capital".  We started the day with a jet boat ride through Skipper's Canyon.  The trip to the dock was also quite an adventure.  This is a section of the road to get down there.  It was quite a ride on the mini-bus!  And this was the paved part!

Yikes...I discovered that the jet boats are not for one who easily gets motion sick.  I didn't see much because I had to keep my eyes closed most of the time in hopes of not getting sick.  (I doubt I'll be going on a jet boat again.  Been there, done that.)

I found this video of the boat trip on-line.  The video is from another tour company, but it gives you the idea.  Had I seen it in advance, I certainly wouldn't have made that trip.

And how would we get back up from the low valley?  It was either by mini-bus on that very windy dirt road or by helicopter.

Yes, I went by helicopter--something else I never thought I would do.  They put the smaller people up front with the pilot, so I got some wonderful (and unobstructed) views.

Quite a few members of our tour group also went ziplining, and one man also went bungee jumping.  He said he wanted to do it on the bridge where it originated.

Another interesting excursion we had was sailing on a vintage steamship across Lake Walatipu.  We enjoyed the beautiful scenery and visited a farm.

Next we went to Rotorua to visit the Te Puia Maori Cultural Center where we learned about Maori history and also saw a performance of the Haka, the Maori war dance.  The Maori people have been living in this area for over 700 years.

This is the outside of the meeting house.

Here are some of the performers greeting us outside before we went in.

This is a short video of some of the performers.  We took this one at the beginning of the performance before they did the Haka war dance.

The center is adjacent to a geothermal valley, which has hot mud pools and geysers.

On the last day of our tour we took a ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island.  Here is a view from the ferry looking back at Auckland.

And here is the beautiful view from the winery where we enjoyed lunch.

And so ended our trip.

We flew home the next evening, but before going to the airport we had dinner with our friends Vivien and Tony--lamb on the "barbie".  Vivien and Tony were the first to greet us when we arrived in New Zealand at the beginning of the trip and the last to see us as we left.

The trip home took about 28 hours between the flights from Auckland to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Atlanta, and Atlanta to Cincinnati plus the time we spent in the various airports.  Tom figured that by the time we went to bed at home it had been nearly 40 hours since we had seen a bed!

I plan to do one more trip post where I'll show you some food photos.  Plating food has become such a beautiful art.

After that I plan to resume doing needlework-related posts, so stitchers, keep watching.


Patti-Rocky Mtn Stitcher said...

You have such a blessed life. Were you looking for Frodo and Bolbo? LOL

wirose said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Margaret said...

Wow! Fantastic! I love seeing everything. I've been reading a trilogy that's about Australia and New Zealand. Some of it talks about the Maori, so I was even more interested to review your other post and to see the Maori in this one. I wonder if they have any distant relation to the Hawaiian people and other Pacific Islanders. Thanks for sharing with us. Helicopters -- you are so much braver than I am!

Annette-California said...

I am so happy for you that you got to see and do all you did. And the best part is that your passion for needlework and teaching others made this trip all happen.
I loved every photo you shared Ellen of your trip. It was wonderful to watch the short video of the Maori dancing - reminds me of Hawaii (music and dancing). The one pic looks like your the one flying the helicopter.
Fabulous trip. Thank you so much for sharing - love Annette

Jackie said...

I've so enjoyed your posts about your visit - it truly looks like a trip of a lifetime!

Melissa said...

My goodness, what a spectacular adventure!

Now I want to go to NZ! Goodness I don't know if my wallet could handle it haha.

So happy you had such a fantastic trip. Memories forever :)

Melody said...

What an amazing adventure! I enjoyed all of your posts and photos of your trip. I am impressed by all the things you tried. I don't know that I would have been as brave or adventurous... Good for you! :)