New Zealand Postcard – 3rd
New Zealand Postcard – 3rd
Hope you are all well. I thought I should write an update shortly after the last one so it wouldn’t be as long… I hope. It turned out to be only 2 pages. For all of you in the United States, have a fantastic Thanksgiving. Please eat some turkey and dressing for me. (Molly and family, please eat some of those incredible turkey and dressing sandwiches that you know I love so much. I wish you could send me one. It will just have to wait till I see you guys hopefully next year.) Again, thanks for all your letters after the long one. It is always great to hear from you.
Tues Nov 13 Wellington – Napier
We stopped at Mt. Bruce Wildlife Center and I was truly fortunate to have seen 2 Kiwi’s. They were right in front of me eating right under the light. This was a major highlight of my trip for me. I was alone and it was my last chance to see one. And I saw 2. Then I was on to the Art Deco town Napier that was really quaint and nice. I found a nice pair of shoes in my size (yes, my size) for NZ$30 or $12. Such a deal. How could I refuse.
Wed Nov 14 Napier – Taupo
Napier has this great sheep factory and outlet store. Yes, I finally did a bit of damage, but I wanted to be good for their economy… and I was. For those of you that were in NZ and saw them, I bought one of those gorgeous, huge, quad rugs. That is 4 skins sewed together. And of course I bought Casper, Spooky and Mary their own rugs as well. They deserve them. (They were seconds, but I won’t tell them.) I must have had pent up shopping energy and it exploded in the outlet.
Thurs Nov 15 Taupo – Rotorua
Taupo gave me my highest skydive ever. I jumped 15,000 ft. and it was terrific but extremely cold. My face had ice speckles on it. I smiled at one point and the air near froze my gums and teeth. It actually hurt. Heading out of town we were smashed into, by a car, on the drivers side right by his seat. Everyone was ok but I was in the front seat on the passenger side and saw this car plow into us. It was a bit scary but all was good and we went on to Rock ‘n Ropes… again. That is where I jumped for the trapeze wire last month and did the giant swing. This time I only tried the Gravatac ride which drops you down 138 ft. and I tried the Crazy car which was hysterical. It is a VW bug and to start with, it is a stick shift on the opposite side of the car. (In all my travels, I have never driven on that side of a car let alone the opposite side of the road.) What made this extra tricky was when you steered to the right, the car went left and vice-versa. I had 3 passengers and we were hysterical. I basically stayed on the track but my 3rd time around, I literally ended up in the middle of it all on the grass hill very confused not knowing quite what to do. They still let me go around 2 more times though. It was good fun.
On arriving in Rotorua again, which I really enjoyed last month, I took the gondola up 2950 ft to the top to ride the 1 ¼ mile Luge. You ride this tiny little go-cart sort of thing on a great scenic, cement track. It also was a kick. After coming back down the gondola, I went back to the Agrodome and rode in the Agrojet. This 13-ft race boat had a 450 ft horsepower engine and hit 62 mph in 4.5 sec. Then I rode the Swoop with Louise and Diane. This was a 142-ft bungy tower that pulls you up to the top backwards and then I had to release us to swing 81 mph hitting 3g’s before swinging up to the opposite side. It was wild. Then I did another wet Zorb which is still one of my favorite crazy things I did in New Zealand. It was like being in a wash cycle rolling 660 ft down a hill. Then I went dancing at the Pig & Whistle, Lava Bar and Monkey Jo’s. It was a long adventurous day.
Fri Nov 16 Rotorua
I went back to Waiotapu to see the thermal wonderland from the ground. Last time I flew over it. It was fabulous with its colorful, volcanic areas and craters and boiling mud pools. Then I went to Waimangu, a hydrothermal system, which I enjoyed even more. In 1886, there was a terrible inferno from Tarawera volcano. It erupted and all flora and fauna were killed. This is how the Waimangu valley was formed. In 1900, the Waimangu Geyser erupted and continued until 1904. It spouted out debris 1300 ft into the air.
In 1917, The Frying Pan Lake Blasted up and became the largest hot spring in the world. These 2 phenomenon’s left the conditions for plants and animals to once again flourish into the beautiful and treasured area it is today.
Sat Nov 17 Rotorua
I went to Hell’s Gate, which is New Zealand’s most active geothermal area. It has steaming fumeroles, violent, bubbling mud pools, a sulfur lake and the largest, hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere. The geothermal mud is excellent for masks and packs so I decided to give it a try in New Zealand’s only mud pool. It just opened about 3 months ago. So I sat in a private mud pool for 15-min loving the feeling of rubbing mud all over my body and face. Then it was off to the extremely cold shower. Then I sat for 25 min in a beautiful hot spa. I needed the relaxing. I’m not sure if it took 10 years off as I was told, but I sure felt rejuvenated enough that I bought a mudpack and mask to try once I get back home. That night I did the pub rounds at the usual’s and ended up at a dance pub watching the rugby match that started at 3:30am. It was nuts in there.
Sun Nov 18 Rotorua – Mt. Manganui
After driving several hours, a group of us went and soaked up some relaxation in the famous salt-water pools at Mt. Manganui. It was fantastic. There were 5 pools. We started with the warm, which was a huge swimming pool and worked our way into the hottest with incredible jets. The middle temp had these hard fountain jets that just massaged your body. It was hard to leave those. The salt really burned my eyes though. I have been having these incredible allergy attacks out here. I’m not sure from what, but my eyes are always red from rubbing them so much and I’m always sniffling like I am crying.
Monday Nov 19 Mt. Manganui to Auckland
This is a sad day for me. I am back where I started which means I only have a few days left in this incredible country. I will be in Auckland for 3 nights. Basically the next couple of days, I will be relaxing (I’ll try anyway) and do my last minute shopping. I head to Fiji on Thurs. Nov 22 for 9 nights and come back into Auckland on Dec. 1 and on Dec 3, I will fly back to Adelaide in Australia and start a whole new adventure. I’m sure it will all be fantastic, but I have really loved it here. This is a place I am sure I will be back some day. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll apply for a one-year working visa for New Zealand. You wouldn’t believe how many people do it.
Anyway, I am just over the ½ way point of my trip. I can’t believe it. I return back to the states on Feb. 11. I really hope you are all well and I hope you are keeping track of your stories so that you can share your adventures with me. I love to get updates about you so feel free to write me anytime.
Always in my thoughts and prayers.