Milford Sound, Fiordlands, New Zealand

Andrew J. Wharton and Dave Clingman at Milford Sound, New Zealand

Mitre Peak in background

We had an amazing cruise on Milford Sound in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, with good weather and plenty of space on the cruise ship (few people).  The water was smooth, other than for a few minutes as we turned around in the surf at the end of the sound, which greatly helped me enjoy the trip Continue reading

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Te Anau, Manapouri, and Native New Zealand birds

We stayed three nights in Te Anau at the Kingsgate Millenium Hotel, and from there we explored the surrounding area including Milford Sound (next blog topic).  We had planned to spend our first full day exploring Doubtless Sound by kayak, but the kayak company postponed their opening this year by one week.  So, instead, we had a mellow day exploring  by car. Continue reading

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Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand, including Skyline Gondola and Luge

Andrew and I again took a holiday to coincide with a conference his work sent him to, this time to Queenstown in South Island for the New Zealand Resource Management Law Association‘s annual conference.  Andrew attended talks, field trips, and nice dinners while I explored Queenstown and relaxed in our room at the Queenstown Motel Apartments one block from the conference venue.  Our house sitters for this trip were a retired couple who live in Hastings.

Queenstown is located in South Island at about the midpoint of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s third largest lake and Continue reading

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Hamilton Gay Pride 2012

This weekend saw the launch of Hamilton’s Pride Week.  We attended a few activities of opening day, despite it’s an hour and a half drive each way.

Andrew J. Wharton roller skating at Hamilton's Gay Pride 2012

Andrew at Hamilton Pride Roller Skating

The first activity of the week was a roller skating time, and though we arrived half an hour late, we had a great time while we were there.  Andrew skated nearly the entire time, and I skated a few laps with him.  It was fun watching Continue reading

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Knucklebones Game in New Zealand is not quite the same as the US Jacks game

While at the Kerikeri Stone Store, Andrew bought the game Knucklebones.  He had told me a couple times about this game, and it sounded rather like the game Jacks that kids used to (maybe still do) play in the US.  Sure enough, Knucklebones is similar to Jacks.  In fact, Wikipedia seems to think that Knucklebones and Jacks are one and the same game.  But believe me when I write that Knucklebones is MUCH more complicated and difficult than Jacks.

Knucklebones consists of five pieces which are roughly shaped like the bones of sheep knuckles, hence the name.  Originally, Continue reading

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Rewa’s Maori Village in Kerikeri, New Zealand

Straight across from Stone Store and Mission House in Kerikeri is Rewa’s Village, a great re-creation of a Maori village.  We were there after hours, and there’s a donation box at the entry requesting a deposit of $2 for entry.  I don’t know what it costs for regular hours.  This village is well worth a visit.

Chief's Whare (Home) in Rewa's Maori Village in Kerikeri, New Zealand

Chief's Whare (House)

The first thing you come to as you walk down the path is the Chief’s whare (house).  Continue reading

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Kerikeri’s Stone Store and Mission House, New Zealand’s Oldest Buildings

Two of the oldest buildings in all of New Zealand are located right in the town where we stayed in Northland, Kerikeri.  The Stone Store is the oldest stone building, and Mission House (also known as Kemp House, after the family who lived in it for over a century) is the oldest wooden structure.  Because it was late in the day when we visited these two buildings, we didn’t get to see inside Mission House, but it is a beautiful villa. 

Stone Store in Kerikeri, New Zealand

Stone Store

The Stone Store is still a store, selling various old-timey stuff as well as a few modern day souvenirs.  It is fascinating Continue reading

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Ake Ake Vineyard and Restaurant, Kerikeri, New Zealand

We ate most of our meals in our Kerikeri Park Motel room, but we treated ourselves to one very nice dinner out, thanks to a Grab One voucher, at the Ake Ake Vineyard and Restaurant located just a few kilometres from our hotel.

Andrew J. Wharton in the wine room of Ake Ake Vineyard and Restaurant

Our table at Ake Ake Restaurant

When we first arrived, the hostess/waitress gave us a table in the wine room, stating that Continue reading

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Kauri Forests of Northland, Largest and Oldest Trees in all of New Zealand

Our final full day in Northland was centered on the Waipoua Forest (pronounced wy-PO-U-ah) of Kauri (pronounced COW-ree) trees.  This forest contains the oldest tree in New Zealand, Te Matua Ngahere (“Father of the Forest”, pronounced TAY MAH-too-ah NAH-hair-ray) and the largest tree in New Zealand, Tane Mahuta (“Lord of the Forest”, pronounced TAH-nay mah-HOO-tah).  This day was a wonderful wandering through beautiful forests (often called “bush” here in NZ) in rather pleasant weather. Continue reading

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Cape Reinga in the far north of New Zealand, where two seas meet

 
Point Reinga Lighthouse at the extreme north of New Zealand

Cape Reinga Lighthouse and Walkway

Our next full day in Northland after Waitangi and Russell was to the far north, to Cape Reinga.  Here there is a very well crafted walkway with benches for rests and signposts (in both English and Maori) about the environment, as well as two large parking lots.  While we were there, it was a stormy day, with rainshowers now and then, but we endured and enjoyed.

New Zealand's Point Reinga Lighthouse

Cape Reinga Lighthouse

The drive north is long and rather boring, but at least the road is in very good condition.  Not long ago, it was a metal (gravel) road, but it has now been paved Continue reading

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