Saturday, November 15, 2008

John R's Vacation Pics

Hi Marty,


New Zealand has some of the most scenic landscapes I've ever seen, and we just visited the North Island. They say the South Island is even better.


After arriving in Auckland we drove 3 hours north to the Bay of Islands. We stayed at a little town named Russell which was New Zealand's first capital. If anyone wants to spend a week or two in tranquility, Russell is the place to visit. From there you can go to the beach, go ocean fishing, or just take cruises around the Bay of Islands.


After Russell we drove south past Auckland to Hamilton. The roads are uncrowded everywhere in New Zealand except Auckland, and a new vista arrives with every turn in the road.


New Zealand is extremely volcanic so virtually everywhere there are a myriad of green coloured hills - seemingly tiny volcanoes 50-100 feet high blended into the landscape. On each green bump sheep - but more recently cattle - can be seen grazing.


Rotorua has a lot of volcanic activity and steam can be seen to be rising from the ground in many places. We walked a beautiful nature trail beside Blue Lake where the beauty seemed to come from the combination of coniferous trees like we're used to seeing in Canada combined with ferns and palm trees of more tropical areas.


In Rotorua we had a mineral water spring in our motel that they claimed was really good for your health. 15 miles south of town was Wai-o-tapu, an extremely active geothermally active area. Here we saw the Lady Knox Geyser brought to life by a guide adding some soap, a beautiful lake called the Champagne Pool with bright colors caused by the different chemicals in the ground, mud pools that shot mud into the air and another pale green lake called the Devil's Pool whose water was stronger than battery acid. You'd be dead in a short time if you fell in there.


Then we visited an old mining town called Thames, with buildings dating from the foundation of Greenfield Park, followed by the Coromandel Peninsula where we witnessed a beautiful sunset before returning to Auckland.

Thanks John Riley


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