Our trip to New Zealand and Australia lasted 5 weeks - 2 weeks in New Zealand and 3 weeks in Australia. You would think that would be plenty of time. IT WASN'T!
Upon our return, I made a slide show presentation of the trip. This site is basically the slide show with some added commentary along the way.
Waiting for the plane -->
We flew Air New Zealand from Los Angeles to Auckland. We arrived in the morning and went directly to our hotel. It was too early to check in, so we immediatey went and found ourselves a tour of the city.
Auckland is known as the City of Sails. I think the harbor is the largest recreational sail boat harbor in the world.
One of the stops on the city tour was the Auckland museum. We were particularly intriqued with the exhibits of Maori culture. Here are some pictures of a 100 man canoe made from a single tree. Look at the carving on the bow.
<-- We also saw some articles of native dress.
When we checked in to our hotel, we got a big surprise! We had been given a large 2 bedroom suite with a view of the harbor. I couldn't believe it so I had to take a picture of the living room.
We had a nice view from our balcony both daytime and nighttime. The one night shot makes one feel right at home!
We rented a car in Auckland and drove to Rotorua. It had been a long time since I had driven on the left but I made the adjustment quickly and easily. We had a nice motel like room in Rotorua overlooking the lake.
The primary reason for visiting Rotorua is to see the thermal areas. We visited an area called Te Puia and the Whakarewarewa Valley. There were a number of geysers, thermal pools, a cultural center and a "theater" where they gave a "cultural" show.
Here we are being greeted and welcomed to the cultural show. It looked like it was going to be really "tacky" but surprisingly it wasn't.
The next day we drove north to the city of Taupo where we played golf. On the way we stopped at Huka Falls which is a scenic spot. We also stopped at one of the better thermal areas and saw some spectacular pools of boiling mud.
We had allowed plenty of time so when we passed a sign for Killer Prawns we decided to take a look. This is a "prawn farm". They raise prawns for the restaurant trade and at the same time have a fun tourist attraction.
I got a kick out of their driving range. You stand on a platform and hit the balls (floaters) into the prawn beds.
We took a tour of the facility and then had a prawn lunch.
After lunch we played golf at the Wairakei International Golf Course. The course was beautiful but it couldn't stand up to our finely tuned game. We saw many parts of the course never before seen by human beings.
Early the next morning we were off to the South Island.