Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Big One

By the frantic note in the voice of the morning TV show host you'd have thought that the entire nation was about to be inundated by a Tsunami today. It was sad to see that television host in NZ are just as appallingly rude and stupid as they are in Australia. One host all but accused a spokesman for local Civil Defense of incompetence simply because he refused to speculate based on rumours alone.

There was no giant wave that hit us here - only the islands of Western Samoa and American Samoa and it looks terrible for them.

We arrived safely in Auckland today and still have a vast backlog of tales, reviews and adventures to write up - I think most of these will be done once we get back to Australia as the internet facilities have been patchy in supporting image uploads and edits.

The last few days have been spent touring Taupo and Rotorua and we managed to visit a Maori village (a real one, not a tourist-built village), enjoyed watching a hangi cooked in the boiling water of the thermal pools and then rode luge downhill near our motel. Junior Grendel Number One surprised us once again by riding not only the luge but the chairlift. He took his own luge down after an initial tandem ride with me and fell off three times and got up laughing each time.

Scared ten years off me!

Or added ten - not sure yet.

Here are a few choice moments from the last few days - and as always, click to enlarge!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Geology - everywhere has it but some places have it more than others. I had a rock pickers dream drive over the last ten days, and I also noticed that everyone else loves the rocks - and tends to make piles of them!

September 22nd On the road in NZ

September 22nd On the road in NZ

September 22nd On the road in NZ

September 22nd On the road in NZ

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Backwards in time to Queenstown. . .

Chronologically backwards in time from September 20 to September 24:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Amazing photos

I have some amazing photos - I really do, but this particular internet kiosk is perhaps the most useless that I have found - it is in our hotel in Palmerston North and while most of these systems work pretty well and allow you to edit images using a basic tool like Irfanview, this one has nothing. SO I can't show you the great powder snow that fell on us as we drove through Saint Arnaud, or the pale face of Alli as we crossed Cook Strait into the teeth of the same low pressure system that brought the snow.

I hope to do a little photo editing tomorrow - and I'll post up some images then.

I can say that this morning I had my best coffee so far - in Wellington. By and large the standard of coffee and food over here is very high and I don't like to make comparisons but this was really outstanding - Floriditas in Wellington - I got the tip from "Grab Your Fork" an Aussie food blog and it was bang on the money and provided a good rest and recovery stop for us after an early start and moderately rough trip over the Strait (actually it was pretty calm but Mrs Grendel does not do sea travel at all well so for her a 1.5 metre swell might as well be a hurricane).

I have to catch up with a lot of the cafes we have visited over the last few days - there have been some goodies, and I'll also review a few of the places we have stayed - and a few we wish we'd stayed in, like Lake Wanaka.

We are on the journey North to Auckland but stopped by Palmerston North to visit friends and we have had a great time - we have another day resting here before heading for more adventures in Taupo.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quick catch-up

We've been anable to get near the internet for a few days - most often because we were just too exhausted to try staying up.

I'll post a few quick pics though - mostly of Queenstown - we'll try catch up on some cafes later in the week but there have been some great stops along the way and it is rare to see the same coffee roaster supplying more than one or two cafes in a town and I have not seen a large bulk roasted presence much at all.

And now for the snow Grendels!

(Click on images to enlarge!)

We've just done the Fox Glacer, Punakaiki and are passing through Murchison on our way to Blenheim before catching the first ferry tomorrow morning across to the North Island. It is blowing a gale today and I hope it quiets before the crossing tomorrow!