Monday, January 31, 2011

New Zealand Recap: Hiking, Glaciers, and Black Swans

When we planned our trip to go to Australia and New Zealand, I had no idea what to expect when it came to New Zealand.  Not that I'm not worldly, but when I think of New Zealand, I think of The Lord of the Rings and not much else.  It turns out that there is so.much.more.  Of the 700 photos we took, I wanted to share a few things that stood out to me.  I won't drag you through the daily activities- you'll thank me later.

Most of these were photographed by the hubby, and he'll be doing a guest post to share more of the scenery and his photos with you.

We arrived in Christchurch, the main 'hub' to the South Island.  All of the water is this gray-blue color and extremely peaceful.

While it was summer time, it never really gets hot in New Zealand.  The weather hovered around the low 70s the whole time we were there- and this is what one day at the beach looked like.
Apparently the hydrangea flowers brides pay gazillions of dollars for in the US are a common garden plant.  I loved the color here- they also came in purple and other vibrant shades.
Black swans are the norm in New Zealand.  It is rare to see white swans there.
You can drive on a road for hours without ever hitting traffic.  The clouds are so close to the ground it looks like you can jump up and catch one!
We (I) stayed in a hostel for the first time ever.  You can buy food and cook it there and you share and do your own dishes...and meet lots of travelers.  I like hotels better :)

Kea birds are scary. That is all.  This one tried to open our cooler and take our food.  I ran into the car and locked the doors to hide from this dinosaur.
One of the trails we walked on had completely different 360 degree views- mountains, bush, and lots of squishy mud for me to walk through.
Two hours later on this hike we hit the top and sat on this branch to eat chocolate and trailmix.  No other food will work for recovery. Yum!
In New Zealand, once you finish a track, you have to take a picture.  Here is us with our post-hike apples in our hands and in my face.
We got pretty good at posing near tracks.
 Really, really good at it.
The pancake rocks, named for the shape of their formation were so cool.  The only thing that would have made them better would be a stack of pancakes to eat on the trail.

This blowhole went off every 10 seconds or so- I counted down so we could get a good shot of it.
See? Pancakes!  I'm not sure why I am so excited in this picture, but it was pancakes, guys.

The trails we walked on had New Zealand rain forest plants and tons of ferns.  Ferns were everywhere and I kept calling them little palm trees.
The most intense walk?  We went to see a glacier.  Walking to the glacier was an intense experience.  It was raining sideways all over us as we walked through a valley and it felt like you were walking into a refrigerator.  If it were not for this view (and my husband telling me to 'be a man') I don't think I would have made it.  I whine a lot when I'm cold and rained on.

After we walked to the glacier, we frolicked in the valley.
Everything about this trip showcased and played on the nature that makes up New Zealand.  It's hard to not be impressed by the diversity of plants, animals (except for the kea birds), and scenery and we only saw a small part of the island on this trip. If you are looking for cosmopolitan glamour and amazingly snooty food, then this is not the place for you.  However, if you want to see some crazy spectacular views, humble friendly people, and get your hike on...bring your sunglasses and a rain jacket (which will permanently be attached to you at all times) and have a great time. 


MelissaNibbles said...

That's such an amazing hike. So beautiful!

That dinosaur was pretty scary dude.

Simply Life said...

WOW! Looks like a beautiful place!!!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I have always wanted to go there, and your pictures only make me want to go more!!! What a stunningly gorgeous place. Your pictures are incredible!

Susan said...

Beautiful pictures! I would love to visit New Zealand some day because it seems to have that unworldly, fantasy-like atmosphere that we rarely get here in the US. You really seemed to capture that!

Anne Marie said...

Wow-what beautiful pictures!

getting Fit said...

how great! I would love to travel in the near future looks like you guys had a blast!!

Mari said...

Aww it looks like you two had such a great time....

Sidenote I have the most amazing picture of a black swan and nope I was not in New Zealand...I was at the Bronx Zoo lol

Anonymous said...

What a trip down memory lane! On my first trip to NZ, I also went to the franz joseph and the pancake rocks! And you are SO right - you ALWAYS pose with the trail sign!

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh my goodness what a great adventure. It is so beautiful there.We have some friend that went there a few years ago and they loved it.Your pictures are great and you can tell you all were having a wonderful time!

Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) said...

I am really itching to go to New Zealand now. Seriously it looks so pretty and fun!