A Travellerspoint blog

Wellington

Friday

sunny 23 °C
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Today we visited the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, it is the National Museum and Art Gallery, it tracks native as well well as natural history. The Gallipoli Exhibition is amazing and moving as you will see from my photos of the men and women figures which are more than three times life size and made in incredible detail by the Weta studios, more of later. The Exhibition takes you through different perspectives from people involved in the war, nurses, privates, gunners, doctors. The thought put into the exhibition is breathtaking.

We were then taken on a journey around the city and to Mount Victoria with great views of the city and Harbour. I then went to the Weta Studios which have been an incredible force in the film industry especially in the making of the film trilogy Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Avatar, Tin Tin and The Marvel Films to name a few. We were shown around the special effects studio where many of the characters we know were created and where the war characters for the Gallipoli Exhibition were made. You realise just how much detail and effort that is made to make the figures so lifelike. For example each strand of hair is individual attached to the scalp and may take up to 6 weeks to complete one figure!

On my return I took the cable car from the heart of Lambton Quay up through the hillside terraced houses of Kelburn 120metres in 5 minutes The view from the top was stunning and we have been very fortunate with the weather being sunny all day. The Wellington Botanical Gardens are lovely with 25 hectares of protected native forest, conifers, specialised plant collections and colourful floral displays.

I found the street food market in Cuba Street and enjoyed some delicious dumplings this evening

Posted by Keithviner 00:26 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Rotorua to Wellington

Thursday

sunny 24 °C
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Leaving Rotorua we head to an amazing mud pool at Waiotapu before taking the Thermal Explorer Highway to the spectacular Haka falls Continuing to Lake Taupo via the Tongariro National park and see the mountain called Ngauruhoe which was the Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings Lunch at Waiouru, the Pen Factory holding over 90,000 pens on the walls!! Before completing our drive into Wellington, the capital for a two night stay

Posted by Keithviner 00:45 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Rotorua

Wednesday

sunny
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Today we had an early start for the drive to Skyline Rotorua and a Gondola ride to Mount Ngongotaha 2552ft above the city and lake for breakfast and then an exciting 1.2 mile Luge ride back down the mountain Great fun!,

Then on to Agrodome for an action packed hour of farming entertainment including learning amazing facts as 19 breeds of sheep are introduced on stage. Then a sheep shearing demonstration and farm dogs showing how they can keep sheep and ducks in order! We saw the farming nursery and a live dig trial too .....

This afternoon we went to Te Puia the centre for Maori cultural experiences and geothermal valley. The Arawa are the local tribe and after migrating from Polynesia on an ocean going canoe around 700 years ago They explored New Zealand's volcanic plateau and harnessed the abundant geothermal resources they found in the area We experienced a powhiri, a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony Then songs and dances and the traditional Haka before a delicious Hangi Meal

Posted by Keithviner 00:20 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Auckland to Rotorua

Tuesday

sunny 23 °C
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Leaving Auckland behind we travelled to Glenbrook Vintage Railway for a nostalgic 15k trip back in time on a beautifully restored vintage steam train And guess what?! I got to ride in the drivers compartment and pull the whistle!!! A truly excellent experience and all the guys who rode on the engine had smiling faces all day! Leaving Glenbrook we travelled through magnificent scenery to Longlands Farm and Restaurant at Matamata where we had the most delicious lamb lunch A great example of farm diversification

The afternoon took us to Rainbow Springs near Rotorua a nature reserve spanning 22 acres of native trees and to experience a behind the scenes tour of a working kiwi nursery and hatchery. A kiwi has whiskers like a cat, massive feet but can't fly! The kiwi is now an endangered species in No with a population of only 70,000 and since 1995 Rainbow Springs has been helping the north island population of the Brown Kiwi considerably. In fact 1610 eggs have been hatched since 1995 and the chicks returned to the wild. The main predators are stoats, possum, cats and dogs and pigs.

The department of conservation staff monitor the male kiwi and when they have established incubation of eggs in the field, teams then lift the eggs from the burrows and bring them to Rainbow Springs partially incubated. The incubation is then completed artificially for 78 days and raise the chicks to 1kg in weight and then returned them to the wild where they know the kiwi will be safe from its main predator.,

Posted by Keithviner 01:07 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Bay of Islands Back to Auckland

Monday

sunny 23 °C
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Leaving the Scenic Bay Hotel in the Bay of Islands we headed to the Kauri Museum in the north of Auckland at Matakohe. We saw a massive Kauri Tree slab 22.5metres long in the volunteers Hall and the Governor General's boardroom table. In the steam saw mill we saw how logs were sawn into timber. In the Tudor Collins wing we saw fine Kauri furniture lovely timber panels and carvings and in the Gum room is the world's best Kauri Gum display. The Post Office was the centre of the local community from 1909 to 1888 Lifelike mannequins wear actual clothing and the rooms Show original equipment used at the time. The Pioneer church was built in 1867 mainly used by Anglicans and Methodists. A well organised and informative insight into how the Pioneers used this amazing wood. On our way back to Auckland we called into Parry Kauri Park seeing Trees more than 800 and 600 years old

This evening I took up a trip to the 328metre high Sky Tower to see far reaching views over the Auckland skyline. It is possible to absail down from the top but thought I would give that a miss especially after a nice meal!

Posted by Keithviner 01:08 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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