While we were on our whizz round the world, Nigel published a daily picture on Instagram. For those of you who are not Instagrammers, we’ve reproduced the photos in 4 blog posts. This one covers New Zealand and Tonga.
Day 13 and a fabulous first day in New Zealand. This pic is from #muriwaibeach on the west coast of the north island. The #gannets were very amorous … even in the rain!
Day 14 saw us fly down to #Queenstown, an incredibly beautiful spot on the South Island. For dinner, we took the #skylinequeenstown gondola to an amazing panoramic restaurant. The views, as you can see, were breathtaking.
Day 15 saw us drive from #queenstown to #haast. This pic was my favourite of the multitude I took en route. The scenery is truly breathtaking and this was the hardest day to choose just one pic for you. Hope you like my choice! 🙂
Day 16 and we started before sunrise to head to the #foxglacier. I screeched to a halt crossing a bridge as I caught this view to my right. We backed up 10m or so (no traffic at all here at 7.30am) and I caught this out of the window. I chose this pic because it shows the amazing temperate rainforest flora, which has been a huge surprise to us on the drive so far.
Day 17 and a stop off at the #Punakaiki ‘Pancake Rocks’. It’s not entirely clear how these limestone cliffs were formed into these strata, but they are certainly very impressive. The weather today was beautiful as we drove from #Greymouth up the cost and then inland, ending to #Murchison.
Day 18 and we leave #Picton on the #interislander ferry. This pic is from the ferry looking back as the cars are loading up. Bit rainy as we left, but became sunny as we approached #Wellington. We’ve loved the south island. Now’s the time to get more acquainted with the north.
Day 19 started in #Wellington and ended with some #Maori culture in #rotorua. We really loved Wellington. Vibrant, compact and a beautiful setting. Rotorua is very touristy (we knew that), but we enjoyed hearing more about the Maori way of life and eating a meal cooked underground.
Day 20 and a full day of sightseeing. #Hobbiton was particularly fabulous. This is Sam’s house. Nigel has a big affinity with the films, Jane not at all, but we both loved it. The rest of the day was sheep, geysers and kiwis.
Day 21 had us up early to do the coach journey to #Auckland via the #waitomo caves. After seeing the magical glowworms, we had dinner with an old colleague of Nigel’s. Pavan and his family made us extremely welcome and it was fab to get a home-cooked meal. Tonga tomorrow. 🙂
Day 22 and we’ve arrived in #Tonga. We watched these people pulling up logs that they had buried under the seashore 3 weeks ago. This softens the bark which they were peeling off. The fibres are then used for making the traditional grass skirts. So far … sunny, warm and had a lovely welcome from everybody.
Day 23 and it’s big exam day in #Tonga. Everyone is keen to say hi and chat here and these twin 11yr olds were celebrating finishing their tests with a lollipop. They were keen to tell us that English is their favourite subject. It’s lovely to see the emphasis on education here and how smartly these kids, who have very little, are turned out.
At the end of Day 24, #Tonga gave us this. Shortly afterwards we had a fantastic evening of local food and entertainment at #vakaloabeachresort . The Tongans certainly know how to party!
We didn’t want to tempt fate about what we had planned for Day 25 in #Tonga. Today was about #whales. Humpback whales, to be precise. We were treated to quite a show by mama whales and their newborns. And Nigel went snorkelling with them. You can see him in the water with a 40 ton female. An experience of a lifetime. Incredible.
Day 26 was a dull day photo wise as we’ve spent the whole day travelling from Tonga with a long layover in Auckland. But I got the chance to upload this short video of a large female #humpbackwhale doing a fin slap from yesterday. Enjoy!
Normal service tomorrow when we hit Hong Kong. 🙂
To see the photos from North America, click here.
To see the photos from Hong Kong and Japan, click here.
To see the photos from China, Vietnam and Cambodia, click here.
We did our New Zealand adventure independently as part of a round the world trip. If escorted tours are more your thing, this trip with Titan Tours covers a similar itinerary: