Travel Bug – Part 4

I don’t write a daily diary, but I do write a daily journal while we travel, which brings me to our latest trip to New Zealand and Australia. 

I plan to share some of the things we saw and experienced while sailing around New Zealand and winging and busing our way around Australia. 

I’m a Tolkien fan and loved The Lord of the Rings book and movies.  Hence, I belly laughed at the safety film on Air New Zealand that has an Arwen stewardess and Legolas steward giving instructions to a plane full of elves, orcs, goblins, uruks, hobbits, and couple of ringwraiths.  If I remember correctly, Sauron sat in the front row checking his iphone. Gollum crawled around a seat and peered down the aisle.  Aragon (not Viggo) tossing his long hair and Gandalf pounding his staff in annoyance because he couldn’t smoke.  Sir Peter Jackson even appeared, snatching the ring from beneath a seat and admiring it wickedly as he says, “My precious”, then puts it on and disappears.  Gandalf captures the cock-pit and warns everyone we’re taking off.  

It didn’t stop with a comfortable twelve hour flight.  We landed, disembarked and meandered our way through Middle Earth to baggage claim. 

We checked into an Auckland Hotel, slept and went out to explore the Maritime Museum where we saw the Blue Water Black Magic, Sir Peter Blakes’s yacht that won the America’s Cup, as well as several “wakas” – Maori canoes, and a painting of the sinking of the Orpheus – New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster in which 189 (out of 259) lost their lives within sight of land, most victims twenty-two years old and unable to swim.  Imagine watching “Titanic” just before you board a cruise ship. 

We watched ferries and catamarans coming and going until the Diamond Princess docked right outside our window and we kept our draperies closed.  Packed, we lined up to board – which was managed quickly and with practiced precision.  We made it to our abode in under half an hour, unpacked and sat in our deck chairs. 

Every cruise offers excursions and we had already made our reservations.

Of course, we had to go see some of “The Lord of the Rings” sites.   Tauranga was our first stop.  No, we did not go to Hobbiton.  We opted to see Rotorua, Wai-O-Tapa Valley with the sputtering and boiling yellow, lime-green, orange and gray thermal pools and Rainbow Springs to see live kiwis.  Not the fruit.   Not the people.  Kiwi, the endangered bird. 

Rainbow Springs has a set up so visitors can view this nocturnal flightless bird with fur like feathers, a long beak, small head, round body and fast feet.  They peck for bugs and grubs.  The female can lay up to six eggs in a season (she has two ovaries and can have one egg developing as she lays another), and those eggs are each 35% of her body weight!  Owww!!!  The male incubates the eggs, but deserts the chicks after 5 or 6 days which leave them vulnerable to predators introduced by well-meaning people who thought they had a better plan than God.

Wellington was next, home of Peter Jackson, New Zealand’s favorite son, the imaginative mind behind the making of The Lord of the Rings movies.

To be continued…