Thursday, March 01, 2007


I am lazy and it will take too much time to do a full on post about everything I got to do with my family in the past two weeks, so I'll just post the pared down version wit our itinerary:

Monday, 19 February: My parents arrived in Auckland at about 5am. Hmm... so I woke them up with a morning trip to the top of two extinct volcanoes, Mt. Eden and One Tree Hill. After a short rest (and a shower following their 24 hour journey), they explored the Domain, Parnell Rose Garden, and Wintergarden. I went home and packed, but met them up in Devonport for dinner. By 9pm my dad could barely keep his eyes open.

Tuesday, 20 February: Early morning departure, stifled by me getting lost in South Auckland when I tried to drop off some American food at a friend's place. But it meant my parents got to see the "bad" part of Auckland. Next, a drive to Bridal Veil Falls. Then on to Waitomo (including 20kms on a dirt road--not cool), where we did not go abseiling or black water rafting, but still got to see glowworms and some pretty amazing cave formations. My sister sang in pitch blackness in the cathedral (i.e. part with the highest ceiling) of one cave.

Wednesday, 21 February: Taupo. In the morning we went to Huka Falls and the Craters of the Moon. Everyone was duly impressed by the geothermal activity and bright water color. In the afternoon: jumping out of a plane at 12,000 ft. And I think my dad and sister did something. In the evening, a drive to Rotorua for a Maori cultural show that I am still sorting out my feelings about (exploitation or positive learning experience?)

Thursday, 22 February: Long drive to Wellington, but got an interesting drive nonetheless. You can literally see the scenery change from rolling green hills to desert scrub. Plus some awesome views of Mts. Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro. By evening, an introduction to Wellington from the top of Mt. Victoria. Luckily it wasn't raining, but they met the Wellington wind for the first time.

Friday, 23 February: I caught up with all my Wellington friends while my parents visited the Botanic Gardens, Parliament, and of course Te Papa. Typical Wellington weather--rain--but I guess that's the city for you. I got a long-awaited dinner at my favorite Wellington restaurant, Satay Kingdom. Anyone know a good Malaysian place when I get back?

Saturday, 24 February: Ferry ride (with the car) from Wellington to Picton. The last hour of the ferry ride was pretty spectacular because we travelled in through the Marlborough Sounds. We arrived by midday and drove through lovely vineyard countryside over to Nelson. In Nelson we were greeted by a lovely sunny beach, where I promptly fell asleep. Mom and Jaya went over to the World of Wearable Arts Museum as well.

Sunday, 25 February: The morning kicked off with a4 hour tramp through Abel Tasman National Park along golden beaches and turquoise water. When we arrived at Anchorage Beach, we were met by a catamaran that sailed us back, stopping along the way to see some seals and even some little blue penguins swimming alongside our boat. This was also the fateful boat ride where a wave took out my camera, meaning I have no pictures after this date. Dinner at the Smokehouse in Mapua, noted by Lonely Planet as one of the best restaurants in NZ--and we discovered why.

Monday, 26 February: Drove to Kaikoura in the morning. Along the way there was a pretty lookout on the side of the road and we decided to pull over. There, in among all the brown rocks, were about 10 fur seals just basking in the sun. We were able to get so close--about 20 feet away--and just watch (I tried to get closer, but one barked at me so I backed off). Another kilometer or so down the road was another lookout for the main home of the seal colony, complete with a little tide pool where all the baby seals were learning to swim. Possibly one of the cutest things I have ever seen. Continual cursing at my broken camera. In the afternoon, we took a whale watch tour. We had four sperm whale sightings, and got to see them sitting and gathering oxygen, plus the impressive dive down and splash of the tail. Plus, on the way back to the port, we caught up with some dusky dolphins, who put on quite a show for us.

Tuesday, 27 February: Morning drive to Christchurch, of course including spectacular scenery. In the afternoon an exploration of Christchurch city. Gardens, the Cathedral, art gallery, etc.

Wednesday, 28 February: In the morning, more Christchurch exploration. In the afternoon drove out to Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula for possibly my favorite activity so far in New Zealand: swimming with endangered dolphins. Hector's dolphins, the world's smallest dolphins, live along the NZ coast. Even though they're completely wild, they're friendly and will come swim with humans. We had a bit of a disappointing tour and only got about 10 minutes of swimming with them, but we did get to see two pairs of moms and calves who swam along with our boat for a good 20 minutes. Plus, a massive albatross (which the guide said they see maybe 3 times a year), flew right past our boat.

Thursday, 1 March: The family left, I am alone again.

So no pictures for now because of the camera situation, but hopefully the links will do for now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I CAN'T BELIEVE YOUR MOM DID THAT, ACTUALLY, I DO BELIEVE YOUR MOM TOOK THE DIVE! We just love even more!!! Thank you for sharing your experience with our family and Emerson School! As Linda said, "Magnificient and Awesome!"

All My Best,