Monday, March 31, 2008

What about this and that . . . zorbing, etc.

Okay, so we're home and almost recovered, but several people have asked about "that zorb thing you did", or that blackwater rafting, or . . .

So. here are some links to videos, etc. of some of the things we did that we didn't or couldn't get our own videos or photos of. The Zorb is a big plastic ball with a smaller one inside attached by hundreds of bungee cords, you dive in (Patti and I together), they put in some water, zip you in and push off the hill. No, I can't believe I consented to this . . . but there was much more of the same along the way. Blackwater rafting entails wetsuits and innertubes, then crawling down (200 feet) into caves to access an underground river/creek (complete with eels and glowworms), then float, jump, etc. your way along! Well, you get the idea . . . lots of nutty things to do in NZ, but we drew the line at bungee jumping or skydiving . . . preferring the comfort of a quick little helicopter for our aerial adventures. Anyway, here are some links to activities in NZ . . . most of which we did:

okay, and here's a bungee video from NZ for those who may want to try it:

No, I still don't think so???!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Home at last

New Zealand was all we expected and more in many ways. Beautiful country of incredible natural diversity; geography, topography, climate, scenery, etc. Wonderful, warm people, including the indigenous Maori people. So much to see, but easily attainable due to the small area encompassing it all; tropical beaches to alpine mountains and fjords. We came home with wonderful memories, not to mention all the crafts and apparel; Maori carvings to Rugby memorabilia! We have more photos than we can handle, but Patti is proposing to build a scrapbook of it all! Good luck!

Highlights??? There too many to name them all, but here are some favorites: the night on The Rock (boat) in Bay of Islands, Blackwater Rafting (tubing in the caves), Zorbing in Rotorua, swimming with Dusky Dolphins in Kaikoura, jetboating in Queenstown, and those were just the activities. Scenery highlights were literally everywhere we went, and the two lane roads with 100K max speed (60 mph) allows you to take it all in while driving; Canterbury Plains, alpine areas, coastlines (Pacific and Tasman). But, of course to us it's always about people first and foremost, and we met many wonderful people; some old friends and more new ones!

There is a beautiful Maori weaving on a wall in Christchurch Cathedral that sums up God's intent in creating us for one another. . . the translation of the dedication on this Maori art piece is, "What is the most important thing in life? It's the people, it's the people, it's the people." We are grateful to many people for making our time in NZ not only possible, but truly blessed. Firstly, all those of you who have been praying for us, to Margaret, Nick & Tina, Ian & Morgan, Libby, Jonny and Sarah and their crew . . . the list goes on and on with hosts, guides and just people we met in restaurants, pubs, stores and the like all along the way.

It is good also to be home, and to wait upon the Lord and His plans for this season of life. To Him be all Glory and Thanksgiving in Jesus Christ.

Kia Ora, Aloha ke Akua e i ke alo o Iesu! Pat & Patti (PnP on the road . . . the narrow road, the Hopeful journey that leads to His Kingdom.)

Christ's College, Christchurch

Christchurch Cathedral

Dunedin Railway Station

Little Blue Penguins

Rare yellow eyed penguins

Hooker Sea Lion (female with male in background)

St. Joseph's Cathedral, Dunedin

Saturday, March 22, 2008

From Kaikoura up through Canterbury and on to Fjorland and Southern Alps

After our wonderful time in Kaikoura, when headed out across the Canterbury Plains (bypassing Christchurch this time, where we'll return later.) Our first destination was Lake Tekapo, home of the Church of the Good Shepherd (one of the most photographed buildings in the world.) Also home to the Mackenzie Country (Highlands) of sheep dog fame, hence a wonderful bronze statue to honor this tireless laborer.) From Tekapo we headed over and down into the Queenstown area, home to extreme recreational pursuits, where you can book; bungee jumps, parasailing, jet boating, rafting, sky swinging, etc., etc. From Queenstown down to Te Anau, the home base for Fjorland and Southern Alps treks and tours. Some of the best hiking (tramping) in the world. We chose a helicopter flight to get the true bird's eye view . . . well worth it! Tomorrow we drive down to Milford Sound for a cruise on that fjord. New Zealand a beautiful country with a lot packed into a very small space!

Tomorrow we celebrate our Lord's resurrection in a little Presbyterian Chruch here in the Highlands! But, we have been worshipping Him in awe and thanksgiving for many days now!

Fjorland and the Southern Alps . . . one of the most beautiful places on earth

Our Raven R44 on top of the Southern Alps (pilot Rod Hall Jones)

Yep, our jet boat went right up that gorge!

Don't blink, you'll miss our jet boat warming up!

Looking down into Queenstown area from the Crown Range

The revered sheep dog

Lake Tekapo

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

AbelTasman and Kaikoura

Our journey took us to Kaiteriteri (eat quick) and the Abel Tasman Nat. Park, one of the most beautiful places in the south island, where kayaking, boating and tramping (hiking) are the byword. Then off to the east coast (the Pacific Ocean here) and Kaikoura, the home of various marine mammals who make this area their year-round residence.

Already we have noticed the slower pace of the South Island, and we know that some incredible diversity in geography awaits us still! Tomorrow we head up to Lake Tekapo on our way to Queenstown (the home of extreme sports in NZ.) We will bungee from 100 meters? We will we ride the skywire plane? We will jump out of an airplane? We will we hot air balloon over the Canterbury Plains? Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of PnP on the road!

Goat in a pipe (home)

G'day Mate!

Dusky Dolphins

Bark Bay in Abel Tasman Park

Kayaking in Abel Tasman Nat. Park

Napier & Wellington

After our recreational time in Rotorua, we headed south past Lake Taupo (home of the biggest trout you'll ever see), and down into the Hawkes Bay Region where wine is the primary focus. We had a Church Road Chardonnay in Napier that rivals the best of France and California. Napier was basically destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 and rebuilt in total Art Deco style.

From Napier we traveled through wine country, over to the Tasman coast and down to the capital city of Wellington. We stayed with good friends in Welllington (Hataitai District), were shown the town by Morgan Horwood (Kiwi & USA citizen), and finished off our time with an exquisite dinner in a favorite Wellington restaurant with Morgan, her brother Ian, and the delightful Nick & Tina! A very beautiful capital city indeed, and worth a longer stay.

But the South Island beckoned, and kayaking/tramping in the Abel Tasman Nat. Park awaited us.

Parliament Building

Dinner at Monsoon Poon

The Kaka


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Maori Christian church in Rotorua

Rotorua was awesome in many ways

So, we relaxing in Napier and preparing for a picnic. Much needed after a very busy in Rotorua. We did the sky gondola, luge ride, Zydro Zorb (water in a big plastic ball, we both jump inside and they push us off the mountain! We laughed all the way down! We did the Blackwater rafting thing in caves and underground streams 200 feet below ground. We walked the thermal parks and visited a Maori village. We also enjoyed visiting with Maori people and artists, and their wonderful church and meeting house in Rotorua.

Next, we visit the Robilliard and Horwood Kiwi clan in Wellington before heading off to the South Island and more exciting adventures! This is an incredible land of beauty and diversity all packed into two small islands!

Kia Ora ke Akua (a mixed Polynesian blessing of good health and friendship!

PnP . . . only by Grace

Chief Paka relaxes in natural spa after a long day

Tamaki warriors welcome Chief Paka and his "tribe"

beautiful thermal areas near Rotorua

a mad luger prepared to go

Sky gondola to luging site

Rotorua luge

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Waitangi River

Today, whatever day it is?!, we hiked 10K along the Waitangi River to Haruru Falls. Along the way we tramped through a Mangrove Forest (swamp), and saw a wonderful Shag (cormorant) rookery where adults and young fledges were quite at home. Tomorrow we leave Northland for Rotorua, the home of the largest population of Maoris and an amusement area for all of the north island. The Bay of Islands area has been great, and reminds both Patti and I of Hawaii in many respects. If you ever get this way, you must join the folks on The Rock for a night . . . it is definite must do here! Well, off to dinner at Seafood Only, and they mean it!

G'nite Mates, PnP

Tramping through the Mangrove Forest

Shag rookery on Waitangi River

Waitangi River area

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bay of Islands

Journal entry #1

Kia Ora from Aotearoa (blessings and good health from New Zealand), we have just finished our second night in New Zealand, actually we spent the last 24 hours on The Rock, a converted ferry. It was a true blast, with kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, BBQ on board, and of course sleeping on board. So far, we have truly enjoyed all the Kiwi people here, wonderful accents and very friendly. Tomorrow we head over to Waitangi, the home of the Treaty settlement that brought "Peace" between Brits and the Maori native people. Yea, it's a bit like Hawaii mate, so Da Moose (Big Muddy) is right at "home"! More pics to come when we can get connections . . . cell phone and internet coverage is spotty here in many places.

only by Grace, PnP

Oh yea, the Rock is a boat

Night #2 on The Rock

First night stay in Warkworth

Auckland, NZ