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Showing posts from May, 2009

leaving auckland, heading for a time machine...

had a great day touring auckland, looking at the north beaches and volcanoes. (josh you would love this!) they built forts into the volcanoes that sit on the edge of the water and there are tunnels and guns and ammo rooms, just very cool. one of the beaches you'll see us on lava rocks that came from the pretty lake right after those pics. it used to be a volcano and is now just a crater lake. then we ate at murder burger, which was pretty neat, cute kitten logo and funny sayings all over inside, and very yummy! now we're saying goodbye to new zealand and heading to the airport where we'll fly to the cook islands tonight, but get there this morning! time space continuum thing. so we'll have another tuesday to experience in the cooks. we're hoping the weather doesn't follow us and it's warm and sunny. fingers crossed, thumbs held! not sure on internet access, so we'll see you on the flip side somewhere!

last full day in auckland, penguins, stingrays, sharks, memorial day, and roast lamb

today was another day of rain, so we headed for the indoor activities we'd yet to do, kelly tarlton's antarctic adventure which was SO cool (pun intended, they have penguins!) and the auckland museum which was a great look at new zealand history. at kelly tarlton's, we got to see the stingray and penguin feedings. the stingrays were huge! and check out the pics, one was splashing me from the edge while smiling at me (at least it looked like it to me)! and we saw nemo and dory (yeah, the kids will like that one). and we walked beside, under, around sharks, turtles, stingray, and tons of fish in their very neat walk through aquarium. we rode a little snow trac through the penguin area, which is kept very close to the conditions of antarctica. a very fun place! then we went to the museum and saw lots, from maori history, to wartime, to volcanoes, and much in between. a neat exhibit was sitting in a living room of a typical auckland home, looking out the window and watc

where we've been so far...

in case you're following along, here's where we are on our trip. we've covered a lot of ground (and air)! we're back in auckland, new zealand today and tomorrow, then off to the cook islands, to repeat tomorrow and spend 5 days. then back home to the kids (who we really miss)!

white water rafting the kaituna river in nz, pics!

pics from lauren of our rafting trip. going over okere falls, i'm in the yellow helmet, and still smiling at this point! i smiled a lot bigger when we didn't flip at the bottom!!! :)

bungy pics

these are from lauren of allen's bungy jump!

more pics, geysers, mud pools, glow worms

pics from today. we saw kiwi birds! unfortunately we couldn't photograph them though in the nocturnal house. but they were very cool. big birds that were playful like puppies! :) we also saw the lady knox geyser erupt, mud pools boiling, more rolling hills, a hobbit house, then we took a walk and a boat ride though caves to see glow worms. which look like fireflies that don't blink. they're really maggots, but worms sound better! :) it looked like thousands of stars in the night sky, except we were inside a cave.

back from rotorua and waitomo

we're back! yesterday we went to rotorua to raft the kaituna river, and the okere falls (world's tallest commercially rafted falls at 23 FEET!!!) and we had a blast. it was freezing, and very, very wet, but very, very fun! there were SO many drops back to back, 9 feet, 3 feet, i can't remember it all. it was a beautiful, and very steep gorge. we went with steve and cam (and our guide), and lauren and hannah opted to take photos. (which i'll share when i steal them) i tried to take a few from the raft but only got two as i was focusing on staying IN the raft. :) we also went to hamurana spring, which was a hot spring that fed a river, so it was SO clear. it was hard to take photos because you couldn't even see the water. this drive reminded us more of southern ohio with the rolling hills instead of mountains everywhere. we still haven't seen anything as flat as troy (apparently that doesn't exist in new zealand!) pics from yesterday...

mount cook back to christchurch, nz

we finished our 1700 mile drive today back to christchurch! we saw as much of the south island as humanly possible in 5 days. more mountains of course, rainbows, lakes, gorges, hills, valleys, the usual. we had sushi for lunch (a first for me - though i was only as brave as chicken and rice!). :) tomorrow we're off to rotorua for rafting and waitomo for glow worm caves the next day. it's sure fast-paced trying to see an entire country in a few weeks! we're having so much fun and enjoying every bit, though we're missing the kids quite a bit. (see you soon kids!)

mount cook, middle earth, and more mountains

two more beautiful (if cloudy and painfully cold) days in the south island of new zealand. we saw more of middle earth, more gorgeous mountains, glaciers, lakes, wildlife - though it's not very wild here! ducks, birds, a weasely thing called a stote, and rabbits, well hares, they're giant! but no bears or antelope or deer - btw, they raise deer on farms! it's so weird to drive down the road seeing all these deer grazing fenced in like cows. on our drives and hikes, we both keep expecting to see some wild animal because it's so rugged and quiet and far from anything. although it's nice not to worry about the snakes and spiders. :) no internet last night (which is just a killer when you live online!) but we're back to a reliable connection to the world for at least tonight. we're back at home base (the bavins) in auckland, nz but we're heading out in the morning for another trip! just 2 days this time, for white water rafting, geothermal somethingorot

milford sound!

after months of looking at milford sound on allen's computer desktop, we finally got to see it for ourselves. AND the weather cleared just long enough for our wonderful day! allen and i both prayed hard the weather would clear (it hasn't for weeks), and it did. isn't God cool like that? it started pretty miserably, the road was closed, lots of snow, dark and dreary, but then the sun came out and made it a beautiful day! we've all decided mountain pics are just boring and show nothing of what we saw. sorry, you just have to be here to take it all in. they were amazing today with snow on the peaks (and clear down to the road in places), but the pics just don't do it justice, sorry! we took a cruise around the sound (they say it's really a fiord and seem to think that's important, i just think it's pretty) and to the tasman sea and back. we stood near a freezing waterfall and saw some dolphins and seals too! just a gorgeous (if bitter cold) day and we&

dreary queenstown, middle earth

the weather has been pretty horrible (so my pics are too!) but we're still having a ball. we visited middle earth (first 2 pics - will post the info later) and we plan to hit another location near here where they filmed many other scenes in the lord of the rings movies, so i'm looking forward to that! we sure can see why they chose this area, it's gorgeous, even in the rain, snow, sleet, and hail! now we're just praying for good enough weather tomorrow to get to milford sound, so we can 1. get through the mountains and 2. see the scenery and not just the clouds. :)

jet boating the shotover river canyon

allen and i both took a jet boat ride through the shotover river canyon. (and i still managed to video and take pics, while holding on for dear life!) the canyon was beautiful, the ride was just crazy! straight towards the rocks, 360 degree turns, over rapids, flying out of the water, it was a blast! the rain stung our faces and we were frozen numb, but we loved every minute of it! here are a video (held by a completely frozen hand!) of a spin (enjoy kids!) and pics below.

bungy jumping at the original aj hackett bridge!

he did it! allen jumped off the bridge at the site of the original bungy jump opened by aj hackett. i opted to take the video (you could call that being chicken, i call it taking the video!) he loved it, but said it was way too short. the freezing rain and hail just added to the adventure i think. here's the video and a few (bad) pics...

the mountains, soooooo pretty!

the weather cleared up for us, just enough to make great views all along the drive. we were above clouds, beside them, just under them, it was beautiful. we couldn't always see the tops of the mountains, but what we did see was awesome! and the rain even made a rainbow just for us!

road block on the ONLY road

there was a landslide on the only road through the mountains here (the alternative was like 20 hours around!) so we were stuck! we killed 4 hours at a cafe playing cards though and had a ball. :)