Thursday, November 20, 2014


We have not lived in the wild, or in camper-vans, or in Youth Hostels, (they call them backpacker hotels here) where the wild life is always heard loud and late.  It doesn't matter, New Zealand is a wild country.  It has wild oceans, volcanoes, thermal geysers and birds a plenty.  It has seals, whales, dolphins and penguins.  We have come here late spring/early summer and the winds can blow.  It can also be as beautiful a place as we have seen.  Miles and miles of unspoilt country beckoning us to drive spectacular drives, walk the best designed nature trails in the world and be left completely breathless, figuratively and literally.

It's been awhile since we last posted - bad internet and just plain tired after days of hiking/walking through the bush and rainforests of NZ.  We now have good internet, so there are no more excuses....

Waterfalls are everywhere, above is in Milford Sound

Taupo / Rotorua have thermal geysers scattered throughout and it looks like the towns are on fire.   It's crazy wild "tramping" with craters that are boiling and steaming around you.  

Kaikoura was one of my favorite towns we visited -the town itself was small and unimposing, but the wild life seen here was phenomenal ....

Let's start with the seals - can you tell the difference between a seal and a walrus?

An incredible hike was to visit the Ohau Stream seal pups!  During winter hundreds of New Zealand fur seal pups travel up stream and interact socially with each other while their mothers are feeding at sea.  We must have stayed for an hour watching them in awe...

Picton Sound

All through New Zealand are wonderful walking trails, many through rain forests and wild bush.  We always felt safe because New Zealand has no harmful animals like poisonous snakes, scorpions, or venomous insects. 

Deer we thought were wild but not,  Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen live in New Zealand during the off season and are now heading to the North Pole.

Abel Tasman National Park

We are at the "Pancake Rocks" in Punakaiki on a rainy day.  
Rich was excited to get there and broke a tooth --- come on, we all know you are brighter than that....

These stacked rocks were 30 million years in the making from dead marine creatures and plants under the seabed which turned into layers of limestone that emerged to look  like a stack of pancakes.

There are blow holes at high tide that are extremely impressive here too

These are the pancakes Rich knows best!

I have never seen Penguins in the wild, unfortunately like my Kiwis, all we saw were signs

The kids are pretty wild here, most travel in packs on buses that cater to the youth.  They hop on and off a bus and stay in an area as long as they like.  Daughter Renata traveled this way last year when she was here.

Ahhh!  This is the kind of wild life I enjoy - wild crayfish with garlic butter!!

Summer in New Zealand with all the wild flowers in bloom!

Southwest New Zealand is one of the great wilderness areas of the southern hemisphere and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1990.

Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand's Southern Alps

Our "hostel" in Queenstown!  Mind boggling "Lord of the Ring" views....

The Pohutukawa Tree is New Zealands native Christmas Tree.  The wildly beautiful tree blooms bright red flowers in December and is found all over New Zealand.  Driving along the coast we saw spectacular blooms of trees much larger than the small one pictured.

We got a little wild in Dunedin and went to the Speight's Tour.  At the end of the tour, John our tour guide taught us to pour a proper drink and said "Have at it- drink as much as you can before the next tour group comes in...."  We were the last tour group of the night : )

Still on the hunt for Kiwi......