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
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 , 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
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
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

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
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

AUSTRALIA – 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