The first destination on the around-the-world trip was
Christchurch, on the South Island of New Zealand. From there,
we headed across the island over the Nelson Pass to Greymouth on the
west coast. We ran into a blizzard on Nelson Pass and had to
get out and put chains on the car... We drove from Greymouth
up highway 6 along the west coast to Westport. The west coast
is gorgeous - a bit reminiscent of Big Sur because of the cliffs
running into the ocean. After Westport, we headed inland
through Murchison and Nelson to Picton and took a ferry to
Wellington on the North Island. The weather was mostly cloudy
with some rain (and snow!) but with the occasional bit of sunlight.
Wellington was fun. Happily, we arrived
there on a Friday night just as the nightlife was getting started.
I visited one of the main clubs Friday and Saturday nights and had a
fun time. During the days, we wandered around the city.
The Te Papa national museum was most interesting.
The next stop was Rotorua - the geothermal area
of the North Island. We visited two of the better geothermal
areas, Wai-o-tapu and Waimangu, and also experienced a Maori Hangi
dinner that night.
A trip to New Zealand would not be complete
without some form of adventure, so we went caving in Waitomo.
It started out with a 330-foot rappel down into a huge cave, hiking
through the cave for a bit to see the cave formations and the
glow-worms, then climbing a wet, muddy, cold, slippery 100-foot
vertical steel ladder back out of the cave. Definitely a great
The last stop was Auckland, a beautiful sea-side
city of about 3 million. The America's Cup was being held
there, and we spent some time down at the America's Cup harbor
watching the sailboats. We had dinner at the top of the
Auckland Sky Tower as well as several other excellent restaurants.
The night life was a bit dead at first but finally picked up on