Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Zealand, part something until the end

(Ah, January in New Zealand. Does not suck)

Ok, we're just going to truck through the whirlwind of the rest of the trip. We parted ways with the big group in Auckland and Ellen and I soldiered on. First, we went back south to the Waitomo Caves to participate in the infamous cave rafting. Bottom line: put on a wetsuit, crazy-big shorts, helmet and headlamp and an innertube and float down some underground river. It was fun. And really cold. And you see "glow worms" which aren't REAL glow worms. They are just the larvae of some moths that have bioluminescence. For obvious reasons, I don't have any pictures.

Then we headed to Tongariro National Park, home of a volcano paradise and home to the volcano that played Mt. Doom in those movies about Hobbits. Our attempt to do the alpine crossing was thwarted by rain, so we did a short, nice, rainy waterfall hike instead. I could see hobbits appearing at any point.....
(the volcanoes in Tongariro. or most of it...)

(a waterfall)
(a giant carrot. found while entertaining ourselves instead of hiking in Tongariro)
(sweet, sweet volcanic deposits. Wonder where they came from??)

(Lake Taupo, aka large caldera. Apparently the result of a VERY LARGE eruption that happened ~1800 years ago.)

After Tongariro, we headed north to the Bay of Islands. On the way, we found a lovely little beach. For some reason, I felt a special affinity for this place. Hmm.(Yay! Who knew we had a beach in New Zealand!)
(ripples on my beach. check out the shell fragments collecting in the troughs!)

(Goat Island. Scene of some snorkeling)

The Bay of Islands was beautiful. Gorgeous water, beaches and we saw bottlenose dolphins, and one little blue penguin. We rode the boat through the hole in the rock and got a lot of sunshine.

(Kind of reminds me of something out of a Bond movie. Any minute, the wall is going to open up in the rock and reveal a nuclear weapon...)

Finally, we stopped through a Kauri forest on the way back to Auckland. Kauri trees are native to New Zealand, but were heavily logged. The Kauri forest has some very old, very big old growth trees.
(this tree is 16 meters in circumference!!! That would take ~12 people, joining hands, to completely ring the tree!)

1 comment:

Trifarina said...

I like the carrot the best, but that should come as no surprise. A sure fire hit on the farm of ironic scale.