Whenever we can, we like to travel overland. One of our first ventures on this retirement trip involved traveling Zurich, Lugano, Trieste, Ljubljana, Zagreb and the rest of the Balkans all the way to Istanbul. Then after a short flight to Izmir, overland through the center of Turkey including Konya, Cappadocia, and Trabzon on to Batumi and Tbilisi in Georgia. Finally, taking a Marshrutka (shared van) to Yerevan, Armenia to catch a flight to Dubai and India. These two sculptures by Botero provide nice bookends for our trip of the last four years.
Yerevan Armenia 3 March 2015
Santiago, Chile 3 March 2019
In New Zealand, we flew from Auckland to Christchurch and then worked our way back up to Auckland. In Christchurch, we rented a car for four days to simplify seeing some of the East Coast and the Southern Alps. Then by train and ferry from Christchurch to Wellington. After three days exploring Wellington especially around Victoria University, we sat in the front seats of a double decker to Rotorua. Rotorua is a hotbed of volcanic activity as evidenced by the sulfur smell around the city and bubbling mud springs. After another three days, we continued on by bus to Auckland for a night before flying off to Chile.
Canterbury Plains on the way to Oamaru
Oamaru Bay, our furthest south
Everything about Lyttleton near Christchurch
On the way to Rotorua
Exciting thermal activity in Rotorua parks
Hiking in the Redwood Forest of Rotorua
After a few days in Auckland, we spent a month starting mid January in Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand. As it lies in the heart of the Canterbury plane, our initial impressions of flat dullness contrasted with our expectations of rich scenic views associated with New Zealand travel. Christchurch was heavily damaged by two earthquakes, one in 2010, and the other a few months later on 22 February 2011. After nearly two years of sorting out the damage, recovery is now in full swing with new buildings and openings of renovated areas. We were happy that some of the original container restaurants and coffee shops still exist as thriving memories.
The location for day trips was ideal. The local buses took us to Lyttleton, New Brighton and South Beach, Sumner and Taylors Mistake. We booked a bus day trip for the three hour ride to explore Akaroa, . Renting a car for a few days took us down to Oamaru and up to Arthurs Pass and across the divide to Otira. Lots of interesting sights and experiences as we discovered neighborhoods of Merivale, Papanui, Riccarton, Hagley Park. Clearly, my photos don’t do justice but provide nice reminders.
So many interesting Art works in the street
Christchurch Art Gallery
Dahlia heaven in Hagley Park
New Brighton Surfers
Akaroa Light House
Steampunk Museum at Oamaru
Devils Punchbowl at Arthurs Pass
On the way to Arthurs Pass
We left Christchurch on the Northern Coast Railway taking us to Picton for the ferry crossing to Wellington. We purchased our tickets in advance through TripAdvisor. A new experience but it all ran smoothly. We stopped by the station a few days before which insured we had seats that faced forward. This line was affected by the Kaikoura earthquake of 2016 and had only returned to service a few weeks before. Photos of sea lions on the beach taken from a moving train did not turn out.
One of the few cloudy days
Our train up the coast
3 hour crossing from Picton to Wellington
From the Christchurch Canterbury Museum I learned there were many tremors everyday around New Zealand, none strong enough for me to feel. Happy about that.