NZ Travelogue

April 19, 2011 Comments Off on NZ Travelogue

When you go to a fancy restaurant and the waiter asks what scenery you’d like to order, and you say, “I’ll have the sampler platter, please,” they bring you New Zealand. Simon and I found ourselves comparing it, at various times, to the California coast, Sicily, South Dakota, England, Utah, Hawaii, Scotland, Cape Cod, Oregon, San Francisco, Wyoming, Paris, New England, and, of course, Middle Earth. And Kiwis are so friendly! (In general.) I felt like a New Yorker on vacation in the Midwest, coming out of every store, restaurant, and hotel saying wonderingly, “They were so nice!” And along the way I kept discovering things that had apparently been put on my bucket list by my subconscious, including wearing crampons, driving on the left side of the road, and riding in a helicopter. Every time I did one of these things, I felt deep satisfaction and a kind of “cross that off the list” feeling.

What follows is a brief summary of each day, linked to a post that goes into nauseating detail about our adventures and gustatory activities, plus a map of where we went that day. Or, if you would care to read in chronological order, you can go here and scroll to the bottom and work backwards. For your geographical enjoyment I have also made a master map of everywhere we went (A-Q), to accompany my narrative describing everything we did. All hail Google Maps! Huzzah for New Zealand!

6600 km added to the car.

MAR 24. Flew to San Francisco.

MAR 25. Hung out with Kelly and Jake, then flight to NZ!

MAR 26. Shortest day of my life.

MAR 27. Auckland (zoo).

MAR 28. Auckland (Rangitoto Island).

MAR 29. Car rental! Auckland to Rotorua: Karangahake Gorge and Waihi (Burger Man).

MAR 30. Rotorua to Picton (South Island): ferry across the Cook Strait.

MAR 31. Picton to Greymouth: Nelson Lakes National Park and gorgeous coastal road (Pancake Rocks!).

APR 1. Greymouth to Fox Glacier: Hokitika Gorge, Fox Glacier, glowworm hike.

APR 2. Fox Glacier to Wanaka: heli-hike!! and amazing dinner.

APR 3. Wanaka to Te Anau.

APR 4. Te Anau to Milford Sound and back: Milford Sound, the Chasm, Key Summit hike (with birds!).

APR 5. Te Anau to Dunedin: Southern Scenic Route (overrated), Porpoise Bay, Nugget Point.

APR 6. Dunedin: Sandfly Bay (sea lions/seals!), Taieri Gorge Railway.

APR 7. Dunedin to Christchurch: Moeraki Boulders, Fleur’s Place.

APR 8. Christchurch to Kaikoura: disaster tourism, Peninsula Walkway.

APR 9. Kaikoura to Takaka: Takaka Hill (Ngarua Caves).

APR 10. Up to Farewell Spit and back: totem! horse trek, Wharariki Beach, Mussel Inn.

APR 11. Takaka to Wellington: Pupu Springs, Picton toilet, weird hotel.

APR 12. Wellington to Te Kuiti: long day.

APR 13. To Waitomo Caves and back: tour of Glowworm Cave, then Black Abyss tour!

APR 14. Te Kuiti to Tutukaka: dive set-up, Matapouri Beach.

APR 15. On the water: diving for Simon, snorkeling and kayaking for me.

APR 16. Tutukaka to Auckland: Waipoua Forest (Tane Mahuta!), same hotel room, amazing Japanese resto.

APR 17. To the airport: shopping, returned rental car. Plane to San Francisco (time travel!) where Kelly saved our lives.

APR 18. Red-eye SFO to MKE. Nap, Seder, then sleep…

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