The Last Leg in New Zealand

Our last week in NZ was bitter sweet....it went by so slowly which was a blessing. After our ferry to the north island we made our way up to Aukland where we hoped on a boat and saw dolphins! 

We made our way to Cape Reinga via 90 mile beach highway on a bus. We got to stop and sand surf? It was fun! 

Then we looped around to Rotorua and WaioTapu to see the geothermals....which smelled like farts. Gorgeous views and smelly smells.

Highlight of this week was getting to spend 3 days in the Red Woods and Kauri trees. We met Tane Mahuta, the 2,500 year old Kauri tree. The name means Lord of the Forest in the Maori language. 

We ended our time in NZ with a quick visit to Hobbiton. No Hobits running around that day but we did enjoy some ale at the Green Dragon.  

The Week We Never Stopped Going

This was a packed week! We trekked from Queenstown to Picton taking a train, a few buses, and a rental car. Several spontaneous stops to collect drift wood from the Tasman Sea and explore caves. Riding a jet boat through Skippers Canyon and enjoying an eco tour was a perfect way to break up our travel days. I, of course, got into the freezing water...just to say I did it. 

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R. Tucker Thompson

The R. Tucker Thompson is an iconic tall ship based in the Bay of Islands. Operated as a social enterprise, they run tourism sailings over summer, with profits used to fund youth development voyages over winter. 

On this trip we got to see the Bay of Island in the most environmentally friendly way possible. We had the chance to take the helm, climb the rigging (scary), take a swim, and just relax. 

And to know that our money was going to youth trips teaching the next generation this beautiful skill of sailing! 

Dunedin Sights and Seals

We arrived in Dunedin at 3pm on December 12th after traveling 52 hours from Arkansas. The hardest part of this trip was staying awake that day to acclimate to the new time zone.

First stop was Larnach Castle which is the only castle in New Zealand...but it's technically not even a castle.

Next we strolled downtown where we peeked into the railway station and encountered a beautiful antique Ford fire truck. They allowed us in the fire station to climb in and take pictures! Amazing! 

We made our way to Otago Peninsula were we saw New Zealand penguins, albatrosses, fur seals, and then I was chased by a sea lion. Such a privilege because I was 4 ft. away from a Yellow Eyed Penguin. In 25 years they will be extinct.....

Off to Queenstown! 

 

 

 

Doutful Sound

Day 5 and we now sail to the Tasman Sea via the Navigator.

We stayed overnight in a small ship holding 40 or so, in tiny bunk-beds. The food was glorious, the people friendly, and the views were AMAZING. We saw waterfalls galore, dolphins chasing the boat, swam in arctic cold water, kayaked to the shoreline, and star gazed. 

This is considered to be one of the quietest places on earth with no sound pollution. There is only the sound of birds and waterfalls. This fiord is sacred/protected by the Maori and Kiwi's. 

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It's About the Journey

Off like a herd of turtles in a big bowl of peanut butter! It was an awkward start with unexpected delays and funky terminals but we made it. 

XNA to LAX was a 3.5 hour flight were we then had a five hour layover....ugh. 14 hours in the sky to Sydney Australia THEN 3 hours to Aukland New Zealand TTHHEENN 2 hours to Dunedin. 

After we sleep a long while and acclimate to the time zone, we sail down to Doubtful Sound. This is considered to be one of the quietest places on earth!