we packed a lot of activities in to our 4 days in Taupo.
We hiked to the Huka Falls. The Huka Falls have so much water falling that they can fill 5 Olympic sized swimming pools every minute. That is 200,000 liters of water per second.
The Huka Honey Hive was awesome. They have lots of bees living there and they have wonderful samples of over a dozen minds of honey. An added bonus was that you get little Popsicle sticks for every honey sample. the Popsicle sticks have provided hours of amusement.
Then, we went to watch a dam opening. The floodgates turned a trickle of water into a huge water fall full of rapids.
After that, we played a game of mini golf. I got two holes in one. Nobody else got any, but, I still lost the game.
Finally, we went river rafting on the Tongariro river. We went into a boat with 3 other people, plus a guide whose first initial was J. We went through more than 60 rapids. It was awesome. I want to go rafting again.
Since today is Saturday, there is a Farmer’s Market in Napier. There were so many good jams, cheeses, honeys and cupcakes that we nearly ate a whole lunch.
Then, we went to visit a few wineries. When we got to Highfield, we met a really cute dog. His name was Cooper. the wineries are really pretty and they go on for miles and miles.
Wellington has weird and hard driving with a lot of one way streets. We are staying at the Rydges Hotel. The main highlight of Wellington was the Te Papa museum. It is the National museum of New Zealand. There are all kinds of cool things in the museum to learn about Maori culture and the history of New Zealand.
The coolest thing in there is their colossal squid! It has the largest eyes on earth. Each eye is the size of a soccer ball!
The wackiest thing we saw was a nose flute. You hold it up to your nose and then exhale and it makes a shrill, squeaky noise. Wellington was okay.
Picton is a little town at the very top of the South Island. from here, you can take a ferry to the North Island.
Today, we got to go on a dolphin watching trip. Today is the last time they are doing it this season. We got to see these super rare Hector’s Dolphins.
To celebrate, they brought two very special guests along. They are both Rowi Kiwi. Rowi Kiwis are the most endangered of all of the species of kiwi with less than 1000 left. People told us that there are only 5 species of kiwi, but, they are wrong! there are now 6. The Blue Kiwi is the rarest bird on earth, with a population of (drum roll) TWO! They are only on one island on earth, and, they have not bred yet.
The two kiwis on the boat with us were only 2 months old and they were adorable. The Wildlife Service is bringing them to this special island that has no predators so they can grow big enough to be released on the mainland without getting eaten by stoats or other predators. We got to meet BOND, the baby kiwi.
I wish I could have a few kiwis at home.
Today, we are going to see baby seals!
We had fun walking up the edge of the river. the road goes over a kind of tunnel for the seals. on one side is the Pacific Ocean, and the other side is a river. When the seal moms have kinda, they bring them up the river to this big waterfall. There are all of these little
pools that go up to the waterfall.
Anyway, it was so cute, because, walking up to the waterfall, you see a few little seals playing in the pools and you tank they are the cutest things ever. Then, when you get up to the actual waterfall, there are HUNDREDS of seals. They are New Zealand Fur Seals. they can climb up the rocks around the river because their flippers are adapted to climbing. We saw one seal climbing over land towards the top of the waterfall and we didn’t see him again. I hope he got to where he was going.
Did you know that the baby seals go down to the ocean every night to eat and hang out with their moms? Then, every morning, they eat breakfast and then go back to the waterfall to play all day with their friends.
2 years ago, a huge earthquake hit the center of Christchurch. We took a walk around the edges of where the earthquake hit. It brought down a lot of big buildings. Some of them are still standing, but, they are not stable, so, you can not go into them. We saw the Rydges Hotel, where my mom and dad stayed on their honeymoon, it is still standing, but you can not go in it. On the news, we heard that it will take until 2018 at a minimum to get the whole rebuilding project to its peak. It was very sad to be walking around downtown.
The cool thing is that someone had this brilliant idea. They cleared a bunch of the rubble and they brought in a bunch of shipping containers that have been turned in to buildings, and now it is a whole mall. It is called the RE:start mall and it is very colorful and fun.
Also, I lost half a tooth. If I do not lose the other half, I have to go to a dentist and get it pulled out.
We drove from Fox Glacier to Hokitika. Our hotel was right on the beach. The highlight of Hokitika is SOCK WORLD. It is a museum/shop that sells socks. It also has New Zealand’s largest collection of vintage sock making machines. They also had a Jade World which was very cool.
Have you heard of Possumerino? Since possums are an introduced species to New Zealand, and, because they kill kiwis and other native wildlife, some person had the idea of making clothes out of possum fur. Now, farmers and other people can get money for killing the possums and then other people make scarves, socks, vests and more out of possum fur. It is supposed to be the second warmest fur in the world, after polar bear fur. The best thing is that kiwi populations are slowly starting to rise again.
We took a hike up to the big glacier.
It was small compared to the glaciers we saw in Alaska. The coolest thing about the glacier was actually this crazy radioactive looking lake thing by the parking lot. It had the weirdest color of water I have ever seen.
Did you know that New Zealand’s largest gold nugget was found in a little place called Ross? We saw an ad for it and went to see it. RIPOFF! The real one was given to one of the King Georges in England from a long time ago. Now, they have a replica you can see for $2. So that was annoying.
We drove to Wanaka for a day trip to go to Puzzling World. It was awesome. It has a huge maze that takes an hour to get through with bridges and four towers, red, yellow, green and blue. The bridges and paths lead you anywhere and everywhere. It is really fun. It is the hardest maze that I have ever done.
After the maze, we went through all of their illusion rooms. They have a room that leans, and holograms and heads that follow you no matter which way you walk.
I will put up the freaky video of them.
Also, if you think you are psychic, you can win $100,000.00 if you can psychically figure out where a piece of paper is hidden at Puzzling World. Seven people have tried and failed to find it. They must not be as psychic as they think.
We are going to Milford Sound! we got to the airport and saw our pilot. He appeared at first to be 17 I years old, but he is really 25. He took us to a tiny plane with only 4 seats and told us to get in.
Note to self, flying on a plane that only you, your parents and the pilot can fit on is a wonderful experience.
Did you know that Lord of the Rings was filmed here? We. Flew over some of the locations. It was funny seeing the pictures from the movie and then comparing them to reality. Photoshop does wonderful things.
Then, we landed at Milford Sound. It really should be called a fjord, because it was cut by a glacier, and fjords are glacier formed and a sound is formed by a river. Milford Sound was the 5th most beautiful view of the whole trip.
In my opinion, Murren, Switzerland paragliding, Gulfoss Waterfall in Iceland, Lake Como from the top of Bellagio and Castle Rocks in New Zealand. New Zealand is like being stuck in a long line of postcards.