Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Feb2

Dave and I had to change rooms this morning because the room we had last night was reserved, and we were moved to an even nicer room. The rooms have been terrific all along.
Freda and Shirlee have made most of the reservations and all the rooms have had kitchenettes so we can prepare our own breakfast in the morning. Most of the rooms have not had AC though, nor do they have screens on the windows. So we open the windows and commune with nature.

The rest of the group was going to see the Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park which sounded fascinating but a little too strenuous for us, so we took a cruise on an old steam boat out to see some Maori carvings. The carving was on the wall of a cliff....a 30 foot tall representation of a full face tattoo, with every line having a special meaning. The tattoos make the Maori warriors look very fierce, and even the women had tattooed chins. This practice was discontinued many years ago, but I did see an elderly woman in the supermarket with a chin tattoo. Also on the cruise we saw Rod Stewart's summer home high on a hill overlooking the lake.

After the cruise we went to the Taupo Museum mainly to see the Ora Garden of Wellbeing, a garden that won the Chelsea Flower Show in 2004. It was small but had over 1000 native plants. And who do you think we ran into at the museum? The Gotterbarns and Goodwins were sitting in front of a TV "watching a DVD" (actually having a little nap). They exited and we took their places and had our own little nap. Then we went out to the rose garden....just so beautiful! Later we all went out for pub food and even at that little pub the food was incredible!

Tomorrow we leave for Napier, a town that was totally destroyed in the 1930's and then rebuilt in the style of the day...Art Deco.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I need a few more blog lessons. I wish I could label the photos but in this format I can't get the photos and narration to go together, so think of it as a puzzle where you have to pair up the pictures and the words. Some pictures show yesterday's activities in Rotorua...the visit to the salt flats, the visit to the Rotorua museum and the mud baths, and the trip up the mountain by cable car and the luge down. (The person on the chair lift is me returning from the luge ride) This morning we left Rotorua for Taupo. Unfortunately, I don't have any pics of the scenery on the way here...it was all rolling hills and farm land...just beautiful. On the way, we stopped at the Haku Falls, which are not large, but an incredible amount of water pours over, enough to provide 20% of the electricity for all of NZ. The amazing thing about it is the water...it's a beautiful crystal clear turquoise and it rushes in great currents into the narrow river, and over the drop, where it swirls in white drifts that look like merangue (sp?) Absolutely beautiful. My pictures just don't do it justice. Will I ever be a decent photographer? Our motel is across from a large fresh water lake. Don and Louis went parasailing over it this afternoon and the rest of us looked around the shops. We stopped and got a pastry in Bumble's Bakery, and some books from the bookstore then back to the motel until dinner. Shirlee chose a great restaurant once again. The food has been fantastic and some of us are a little concerned that our clothes are a little tighter than they should be. Dave says its the dryers we've been using, but I think that's wishful thinking. We've booked into Taupo for another day and there are more than enough things to keep us busy. Ah, life is very good!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

First week

I just knew this would happen! I didn't do any blogging for the first week and now the whole thing has run together...where we've been, what we've seen, etc. These are my impressions of the first week:

1)I've never seen such beautiful scenery as we've seen this past week. It's so breathtaking...the deep azure color of the sea up north was unforgettable!
2)I didn't realize NZ was so mountainous....driving these roads was quite an adjustment for a flatlander from Michigan, and combined with driving on the opposite side of the road presented quite a challenge.
3) Everywhere we go the people are so nice, even when I've cut them off in the roundabout
4) The Maori culture we've been learning about was quite a surprise. I thought the Maori were a very peaceful people but apparently they were quite fierce. We've enjoyed the Maori shows and exhibits we've seen and the Maori carvings are wonderful.
5) The seafood has been terrific. I've eaten fish of some sort every day since we've been here.
6) The number of cattle. I expected to see more sheep but we've actually seen more cows than sheep.
7) The lushness of the gardens and the size of everything. MJ, you would think you'd gone to heaven if you could see some of these gardens. We went to dinner at Don and Shirlee's friends last night. They have half an acre of land and on it he grows all kinds of fruit and nut trees...lemon, apple, grapefruit, passionfruit, pear, avocado, mango, hazelnut, to name but a few, as well as grape vines, tomatoes and more. And he just throws things in the ground and they grow with little or no attention.
8) Rotorua is VERY smelly. Today we went to some salt flats to see geysers on the beach, and the sulphur smell was almost overwhelming! So then we went up the mountain in a cablecar and I luged down the mountain...what a rush!!!! Found out later that Gotterbarns and Goodwins were there just before us and most of them did the luge too:-)
9) The terrain is so varied!!! In one day we went from a tropical rain forest to curvy mountains to a 90 mile beach that'ss classified as a highway!!! Good heavens it's like the whole world in microcosm!!!
10) I may never learn to do this, but everything Don Gotterbarn says must be questioned!!!!!
11) The Sky needle in Aukland was amazing and we really enjoyed the restaurant. Many thanks to Tiff and the rest of the Brantford Bowmans for treating us.
I didn't take many pictures the first week, but I'm going to attempt to load some now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Well, we are actually in New Zealand!!!! There were times yesterday when, because of a whole series of mishaps, I doubted that we'd actually make it, but here we are!!! Dave needed a lot of help to navigate the airports and all the airport people, from Detroit to LA to Aukland, were great. While waiting to go through customs, Dave and I were even sniffed by a very cute border patrol basset hound who made a bee-line for us while we were in line...we had had some sandwiches packed in a carrier and threw them away when we were fed on the flight, but that little dog still could smell them in the carrier, and also an apple, which we forgot we had. We were very lucky as his handler said that if we had reached the actual customs gate with the apple we could have been fined $200. We had an excellent day...saw some beautiful scenery, stopped on Piha Beach and waded in the Tasman Sea and watched the surfers ride the waves, and then we spent a lot of time stuck in traffic...there must have been a very bad accident on the freeway as a several mile stretch was closed and all traffic was rerouted off and into the city. Shirlee's excellent navigating and our intrepid leader, Don, got us through though. So here we are enjoying a relaxing evening in Orewa! No pictures today, but I'll try to load some tomorrow. The scenery has been incredible already...very tropical with lots of palms and lots of beautiful seascapes. Eager to see what tomorrow brings....

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Welcome to my blog... a big thanks to Michelle for setting it up for me. For those who haven't heard, Don and Shirlee Gotterbarn, Louis and Freda Goodwin and Lynne and Dave Bowbeer will be on our way to a travelling adventure in New Zealand and Australia. Don and Shirlee have been doing all the planning for the trip, a huge undertaking for which we'll be eternally grateful! So here's our itinerary.

Final Publishable version subject to editorial revision at any point-

21 Jan Wednesday
Meet in LA at the airport
(22 January does not exist for us)
Useful references:
North Island Driving times

New Zealand Maps

23 Jan Friday
6:10 am: New Zealand- clear customs, call car rental to pick us up and get our vehicles.
Free Call from New Zealand: 0800 628843
Phone: 64 9 622 1593
Address: 47 Neilson Street, Onehunga, Auckland

9:00 am adventure starts
Options begin- It is only 58 km to our hotel and we have most of the day so
1. We can take a scenic drive thru the Waitakeres (scenic route 24 at New Lynne to the visitor center and if time allows a brief stop at Piha beach to see the Ganat Colony-(maybe do this on the way back to Auckland- If folks are too tired)
2. Loop back toward town (stop at AA for maps and AA card)
3. stop in Devenport then North on Route 1 toward Orewa (and any stops) and motel onto:
4. Anchor Lodge Motel + 64 9 427 0690 436 Hibiscus Coast Highway
Orewa Beach, New Zealand
Stay in Orewa
Nice town – Wakworth Park

North Island-
24 Jan Saturday
(Orewa to Paiha -2-3 hours drive)
-Enjoy Orewa, overlooks, beaches, parks,
-Head north to Whangarei- waterfalls, park, then North again to Bay of Isles and Stay in Paiha on Bay of Isles
Reservations for 24th & 25th:

25 Jan Sunday
Tour to Cape Reinga and 90 mile beach and some Kauri Forest (all day-includes bbq lunch)-one tour $125 USD couple
write up on Paiha and tour at this web site http://www.roadlesstravelled.com.au/paihia-seaside-hub-of-mo-hotels-and-crafty-cruise-operators/
Short trip across Bridge to Waitangi Treaty Grounds site with Maori’s

26 Jan Monday
Whatever we forgot in this area of New Zealand- Kauri Gum Diggers park and glow worms north of Kaitai http://www.gumdiggerspark.co.nz/Copal%20v%20Gum.htm , Keri Keri (place), Route 12

27 Jan Tuesday
Head west across island (12 or 44) to travel south toward Auckland south on the west coast toward Auckland – maybe stop at Wairoupa Forest Giant Kaori, Dargaville- Rainbow Warrior, Karoi Museum 50,000 year old wood.

28 Jan Wednesday
Probably take an extra day here
Moving down the west coast on 12, intersects 1, then back east to do the east coast into Auckland
stop at Piha beach to see the Ganat Colony.
Arrive in Auckland

29 Jan Thursday
Hang around Auckland, Museum, Domain, Harbor

30 Jan Friday
Head south toward Rotorua-
Maybe side track to Coromandel Peninsula
We can go through Hamilton toward Rotorua (3.5 hours total drive to Rotorua)

Go through Hamilton, perhaps visit the bird sanctuary then south (1 hour) to the Waitamo Caves (tour books suggest get there early before “tourists” arrive. J) Drive back up to Hamilton and on to Rotorua- Head to TePuke to see Kiwis (the fruit)

31 Jan Saturday
Feb 1 Sunday
Arrive Rotorua, need two days here-
Tour things: Whakera Thermal Reserve. Waitapu Thermal Wonderland
Luge down Mountain
visit Rotorua Maori center Waima – Waimangu volcanic valley (2 hours), (route 5 south out of Rotorua)
Here is a Rotorua review.

2 Feb Monday
Head South toward Wellington- stop in Taupo- Haka Falls, Walk on the Thermals-Visit Park South of Taupo.

3 February Tuesday
Maybe stay in Napier (half way to Carterton)! – neat art Deco city destroyed in 1930 rebuild with the ‘latest” architecture- Wine district.

4 February Wednesday
Visit winery J http://www.pukeora.com/
Stop in Masterton Mt Bruce National Wildlife Refuge

6 February Thursday GEOFF AND PAULINE's
Great Bear Migration: meet up with Pauline, Morven, Kyle, and Susan...YAY!!!

Arrive Wellington/Carterton. Women do whatever
Men hike the bridge to infinity and beyond,
ride a horse, Tiapapa Museum, - music and Beer, Fringe Festival

11 February Wednesday
Connect to South Island-
Leave retreat as close to 7 AM as possible.
Driving times north and south Island http://www.accommodationz.co.nz/distances2.html#
Take the 10:35 South Island- arrives 1:35
Interislander - Ticket Office PO Box 2085 Phone: 0800 802 802 //Booking number: 13429644
Tour Picton then on to Kiakoura for that night 11 Feb. Picton to Kiakoura (Drive 2.10 hr,)

Feb 12 Thurs
Kiakoura – albatross- 6 am 9 am
1 pm- 2-2.5 hour tour at Dolphin Encounters
horse back, whales, Wairou wine valley, Swim with Dusky dolphins, watch the Shags.
Kaikoura to Christchurch (Drive 2.15)

Feb 13 Fri
(5 hour driving day from XCh to Franz Josef)
visit stuff along the way.
Christchurch, Shift to west coast drive over the ‘alps’ Greymouth 3.25 hrs, then- maybe north for a view of Paparoa national park
Greymouth on to Franz Joseph glacier (2 hours) get there in the evening.

Feb 14 Sat
Franz J. Hike Franz Josef,, nature trails, or maybe take air safari over Mt Cook. Helicopter ride http://www.helicopter.co.nz/glaciers.asp

Feb 15 Sun
Leave Franz J to Fox Glacier (25 minutes) then on to Queenstown thru Wanaka(5 hours)

Feb 16 Mon
Queenstown–day tour to Milford Sound, Lake Te Anau is on the way to Milford, so we might drive to Te Anau and start tour from there.

Feb 17 Tues
Queenstown has tour to Glenorchy- place where filmed the Lord Of The Rings, beautiful park, Dart River Safaris (also can tandem hang glide, parasail, jet boat, etc.)

Feb 18 Wed
Drive toward Christchurch
The winery is Gibbston Valley Wines, close to Queenstown. Check out www.gvwines.co.nz
Go through Arrowtown on the way-visit THE quilt shop
head north and then toward coast
Might stop for night before we reach Christchurch

Feb 19 Thursday
Christchurch maybe
– Visit Canterbury museum

20 February Friday
In Christchurch – poll a punt, drink a pint
Leave Cars at Hotel

http://Wotif.com for hotels
NEAT Australia driving maps
21 Feb Saturday
5:00 AM arrive at airport L
6:15 AM Flight 202S Plane leaves for Australia-J arrives Melbourne 8:00 AM Clear Customs, have lots of coffee,
TAXI into Avis in town -Sat, Feb 21, 2009 10:00 AM
Melbourne Downtown - ME1, 8 Franklin Street Shop 2 Melbourne VI 3000
We need to layout this drive while in NZ
21-25 February Sat-Wed
Head west along Great Ocean Road- Werribee Park Animal refuge, 12 Apostles, Geelong, Grampians National Park, tessellated rocks, back to Melbourne

26-28 Feb Melbourne
Quilt show!!! Royal Botanic Gardens, etc. Penguins Philips Island
drive toward Sidney via Canberra
Advice from Doug- coast road and allow 2 to 3 days. It's worth stopping at Lakes Entrance, Bermagui, Merimbula- Saphire
Coast—take A1 out of Melbourne- than 1 along coast to 23 North to Canberra than 23 to 31 north to Sydney
March 1
Leave Mlb Drive Rt M1, A1 and 1
at Cann River, take 23 North to Cooma and Canberra
There are several stops possible on this route as time permits:
Snowy Mountains (Berridale, Jindabyne)
Ben Boyd National Park (we may be "oceaned out" by this time)
Allow 2 days in Canberra

Possible stops:
Tidbinbilla Natural Reserve ( See Map Page 193 Item 17)
Namadgi National Park (Page 207 Item 18)
National Museum of Australia (Item 18)
National Zoo and Aquarium (Item 11)
The Parliamentary Triangle (Page 198)
March 5
Leave Canberra approx. 4-5 hour drive to Sidney via Rt 23 to Rt 31
Return to Avis at 5 PM Sydney Kings Cross (Downtown) - SY4 200 William Street (Corner William & Dowling) Sydney NS 2011 Australia

6 Mar Travel
Fly Sydney to Cairns QF 924 9:15-11:15 Terminal 3
Pick up car at airport: Pickup time: Fri, Mar 6, 2009 12:00 PM


7 -11 Mar
Cairns- pick up cars
touring- 3-4 days- Eat with Birds- Rainforest Habitat (Port Douglas, Aboriginal tours-
Daintree National park,
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park Tour - Tour from Cairns and Surrounds - Overview
Immerse yourself in Australia’s aboriginal culture and learn of their music, dances and epics at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. This unique Cultural Park is situated on 25 acres of land in Caravonica Lakes, Cairns, immediately adjacent to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Butterfly sanctuary

Reef- day visit to Green Island 8:30 ferry

11-15 Mar
Back to Sydney 12-3:55 Domestic
Wed, Mar 11, 2009 11:00 AM return cars to Cairns airport
Arrive Sydney Pick up one large van- 3 way
Reservation Number11198861US2 Pickup date/time: Wed, Mar 11, 2009 05:00 PM
Sydney Botanical Garden-
Bondi Beach, Opera House, Featherdale Wildlife Park, Nature reserve etc., Blue Mountains

16 March
Return car Return date/time: Mon, Mar 16, 2009 09:00 AM
Head home QF 107 s11 AM arrive in LA 6:30 am

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sample first post

This is Lynne's first blog, developed in preparation for her post-retirement trip to Australia and New Zealand (with Dave of course).