Monday, 28 January 2013

Down under

In November and December, we went on a vacation to Australia and New Zealand. We had a wonderful time! This blog post about our trip is for our English speaking friends.

We started in Sydney, and walked along all the city highlights such as the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the Rocks and Darling Harbour.

We also went to the Blue Mountains. We went to Melbourne by night train, and from there we went to Tasmania. On Tasmania we rented a car and drove around this very beautiful island. We walked in Cradle Mountain NP and had a very sunny day in Strahan on the Gordon River.

After Tasmania, we went back to Melbourne and did a day trip along the Great Ocean Road and Shipwreck Coast. Again we had beautiful weather and made lots of photos!

The next week we stayed in the Red Centre, where is was quite hot (40-45°C). We started in Alice Springs, went to King´s Canyon, and of cource to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). The distances and emptiness were very impressive!

Our last week in Australia we joined a cruise on the Great Barrier Reef with the Coral Princess. Three days of snorkeling in marvellous reefs. We have seen a lot of fish and very beautiful coral.

Then we headed to Christchurch, New Zealand by Air New Zealand. On the plane, every passenger was watching the safety announcements, done by crew members dressed as elfs, dwarfs and hobbits from Middle Earth!

We stayed a day in Christchurch. The CBD is still fenced off, we could see the damage done by the 2011 earthquake. A corridor is made to Cathedral Square, so we could see the damage done to the cathedral. It is a pity... Everywhere buildings are being demolished. We had a pizza on the Mall where containers are used for shops.

We rented a car and left for a three week's drive through the South and North Island. We went to Mount Cook, and Dunedin. We drove around Otago Peninsula, where we visited the Albatross Centre. There we saw a lot of big birds. From Dunedin we drove to Te Anau. We had very good weather in the Milford Sound, which is rather exceptional.

We stayed a day in Queenstown, and then continued to the West Coast. We walked to Franz Josef Glacier.

The next day it rained, so we did not see very much on our route to Westport. We only stopped here at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks.

In Motueka we had a day off before leaving to Picton. We were lucky to catch the morning ferry to Wellington, so we had the afternoon to walk around Wellington and visit the Te Papa museum.

The next day we headed to Tongariro NP, with the three volcanoes. From there we drove along lake Taupo to Rotorua. This is the area with the hot pools and thermal valleys. We made several stops, also at Wai-O-Tapu. Geothermal Wonderland.

We enjoyed the Coromandel where we stayed in Whitianga. Here we went to Hot Water Beach and walked to Cathedral Cove. Again we had beautiful weather.

Next we went to Northland via Takapuna and Paihia. In Paihia we went to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and enjoyed a Maori Cultural performance.

We ended our trip in Auckland, we we stayed four days. We had a lovely time down under. Although the weather was too cold and wet for the kiwis, for us it was warm enough with an average of 20-25°C to walk in shorts and T-shirts every day!

There are still parts of NZ we have not visited, so we might go back in the future.


Leandra Franich said...

Awwwwwww you make me homesick!! Christchurch, as you know, is where I was raised. My Dad still lives there, I am dreading going back to see that. I can't imagine. I went to university there.Too sad.

In the north Island, we still have our house at Mt Maunganui, not far from Rotorua, but our part of the world is more like Whitianga. We used to go camping to Hahei Beach, not far from Cathedral Cove. And Mark's family are just North of Takapuna. I used to teach in Auckland, but further South, a place called Buckland Beach - nice spot to be in a city!

Thanks for sharing. Looks amazing, and yes i could do with that weather now too!!!

Leandra xxx

Helen said...

What a lovely trip - thank you for sharing your photos and the story of the sights you saw!

Yours Artfully said...

Wow!!! Looks like you guys had an amazing trip, thank you for sharing all the details with your amazing photographs. My Mark has always wanted to visit NZ and we keep telling Mark and Leandra that they need to go back so that we can go visit them!!! I think I could really get used to the climate there too.