I just noticed that I posted the same fur seal picture 2 days in a row—can you tell I am a tad tired??? LOL I am pretty exhausted right now but I did want to jot down a few notes before it got too late.
We have just had the most fantastic couple of days and I haven’t really blogged about much so I will just do a couple highlights here. I posted a bunch of pictures on Facebook but when I get back to real internet in the US I will make a Picasa album to share with all of you. But first things first!
All my days are kind of melting into each other but all in all it has been such a great trip. Chris really did a fantastic job of planning things out, getting things booked and doing a lot of the driving (tho I must admit I did my fair share on the South Island). Wednesday was our longest day and Chris had warned me that it would be a long one. Well he did not lie! We had breakfast with a German couple and a man from Chicago at our B & B and got on the road from Te Anau —not early enough for all the stops we had on the way! We stopped at the Otago Pennisula where there is an Albatross colony. We toured the visitor’s center and took some pictures but did not actually go see the colony as it was going to eat up too much time and as it was we saw some on our own anyway! On the way further we got caught in road works and as the man chatted with us he told us to make sure we stopped to see these boulders along the way. Well we did and they were spectacular! There is a picture from a couple days ago of them and they were pretty neat to see. Looked like giant dinosaur eggs or something! They are the result of water intruding into the mudstone and they are just all along this beach-some look like eggs that have hatched, some look like eggs, but they are just really neat looking.
The down side of our little side trips was that we were going to get to our accomodations late. Chris had booked us at this Farm Stay which I was a little iffy about —as it got later and later and we still seemed to be far away I got crankier and crankier!!! Chris was doing the driving at this point and thank goodness we rented a GPS unit which we named Fiona. Well, Fiona got us there but it was a struggle! It was pitch black and we were on this skinny road that had room for maybe one car (and it was of course both directions!) that was the curviest road I think I have been on in my travels! It was awful! Add to that that we knew that the left side was a sheer dropoff into the ocean and that was the side I was on!!! It kept going and going and I kept getting tenser and tenser! Well, we finally made it to this farm in the pitch black–there was one light on and no outside lights and it was after 10 pm so I told Chris that they had given up on us and what were we going to do??? He knocked on a door which was difficult to find since there were no lights on outside and then all the sudden a huge floodlight went on so we thought we were in luck….well…..a few minutes passed and no action…..Finally he was getting ready to walk around the house and the door flew open and out came this gent in his boxers trying to put his robe on!!! Oh my. I felt terrible! But what a sweet sweet man! He said he had just been brushing his teeth, they had given up on us and his wife was already in bed. Garry was the sweetest man ever and brought us in, made us tea, got us settled in our little room and we crashed. We joined them for breakfast at 8 and they were such a lovely couple—-their farm is beautiful!!! Simply stunning and after my apologies for the late call we were all chummy! Rana and Garry were the most wonderful hosts and they even had dinner for us–too bad we didn’t show up!!! I am sure it would have been a zillion times better than our takeaway that we got on the way! After breakfast Garry took us for a tour of the property on his 4 wheeler with a trailer, I got to see all the sheep, pet the pet lamb and just enjoy the wonderful countryside! It was awesome. And their house was really neat—it was built by /for an American in 1955 and was in the Craftsman style that we have kind of gotten attached to in Iowa—flat roof and all. Pretty weird to see that in New Zealand. They gave us some great advice on where to go and what to do in Akoroa and we were on the way.
When we got to Akoroa we booked a cruise to go out to see some nature and that was fabulous! Got to see a couple of the world’s smallest penguins (white flippered penguin) and a bunch of Hector’s Dolphins which put on quite a show for us by jumping out of the water. They, incidentally, are the smallest dolphins so we got to see 2 pretty neat things!!! It was a great cruise and we had such a great day—had what was probably our final real fish and chips by the water and headed to the airport to fly back to Auckland.
The great thing about the flying in and out here has been that it has been so incredibly easy! They have kiosks where you not only print your ticket but also your luggage tags, you tag it yourself, take it to the little conveyer belt and that is it! You are all done and just have to wait for your plane—so much easier and takes so much less time because you just take care of it all yourself! I loved it!!!
Well, this is just a quick little update but I am about out of minutes on my internet card here at the B & B in Auckland so will post more when I can! WE fly back to LA and then on to Minneapolis tomorrow night (Saturday) and will be in Minneapolis by Saturday night. Weird, I know!!!! Back in Mason City on Sunday and Chris will start work on Monday! Whew! What a whirlwind this has been! Keep you posted!