Tag Archive for New Zealand

New Zealand: The Wrap-up

Days in country: 40 Cost per day: $261 Or, $220/day if you don’t count some of our big splurges, like artwork we bought in Wellington, our glacier hike, or the whale-watching tour. But the only reason not to count those is to make us feel better about all the money we spent in New Zealand.   New Zealand was terribly expensive – even worse than Australia, where we spent twice our budget. In part, this was because we traveled at the peak of summer and paid premium rates for our…

Art Deco in Napier

Napier

While on the North Island in New Zealand, Jeremy and I spent some time in Napier and the surrounding area. We ate a lot plums and apricots and drank a lot of wine from Hawke’s Bay. We also took time to tour the town. In the early 1930′s the town was hit with a terrible earthquake and was rebuilt largely in the popular style of the time – Art Deco. In fact, the town is considered one of the best places where the style is preserved in the world, alongside…

Rebuilding Christchurch

What remains of the Christchurch cathedral, the city's former landmark building

The last stop on our New Zealand tour was Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island and the second-largest city in the country. Christchurch is a lovely city with lots of gardens that lend the place an English charm. Or rather, it was, until an earthquake in February 2011 leveled much of the city’s downtown, killed 185 people, and disrupted the city in ways that are still being felt. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake followed a larger (7.1 magnitude) earthquake which had occurred six months earlier, in September 2010, but…

Moeraki Boulders

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Near Omaru, New Zealand is a geological oddity called the Moeraki Boulders.  The boulders are spherical rocks – called concretions – that started to form 55 million years ago when lime deposits slowly grew around a shell or pebble.  They resulted in large rocks that can be over 3 feet across, and are nearly perfect spheres.  These days, the large rocks are all that are left on the beach, as all the smaller ones have long since been pilfered by jerk tourists. These geological marvels now primarily serve as props…

Fiordland

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While in New Zealand we took some time to drive into the fiordlands and visit the famous Milford Sound. Many people who visit sign up for the 3-4 day hike in the area, but our time was short and our desire for multi-day hikes low, so the drive in, camp out and cruise was our chosen way to visit. Every turn on the drive was one awesome view after another. This was our initial view on the way in. We stopped for a mossy hike on our way to our…

New Zealand’s Marvelous Marine Mammals

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Kaikoura, New Zealand, the same place we went to go swimming with seals, has some other amazing marine mammals as well.  While we saw plenty of fur seals, we also had the chance to take a boat trip out to go whale-spotting and see some dolphins. Kaikoura’s unique geological features have created a deep-water channel very close to shore, where sperm whales often come to visit.  One whale in particular can be found there almost every day. Sperm whales can dive for up to 90 minutes at a time, although…