Our favorite pictures

The best of our New Zealand pictures

Just before we left, some wacko tried to set off a bomb carried in his shoe. So at the airport, they checked our shoes very carefully, because we fit their profile - one way ticket, bought the ticket within three days, and it was an international flight. The inspector was super friendly, though.This is the Whakapapanui Stream, in Tongariro National Park. Very beautiful little stream, running through what looked like a volcanic basin.

We stopped for tea at this DC 3 airplane, turned into a cafe. It's advertising a cookie company.Really neat clouds on the way south.

Wellington is a very scenic city, on the water and with lots of hills.The famous tree ferns of New Zealand.

The view from our dinner table. We really loved having the back doors open.We actually got to walk up the organists tower in the Nelson Cathedral and watch her play. Looked like a lot of fun - definately a whole body experience, with all the foot pedal usage.

These kids were playing for money on the street. They were pretty good at it, too, and had a few pieces well worked out.We stopped and took a walk at the Kawatiri junction that has an old railway tunnel and bridge, no longer in service. One thing that's different here - many, many people (especially kids) walk around with bare feet!

We saw lots of converted Japanese buses used as campers. Also some homemade campers, very interesting looking.This horse galloped up to us when we stopped, kicking dirt over our heads.

Even though we'd only been here a few days, this is probably the thousandth sheep we saw. They're quite timid, and run away when you stop to take a picture.Headed over Lewis Pass - the St. James Track tarn area. It was incredibly beautiful, with delicate little trees festooned with moss. The pictures don't do it justice.

The landscape on the way to the east coast. Beautiful.We took a long walk around the coastline.

On the rocks everywhere was this type of seaweed, like strings of tan pearls.Fascinating how the rocks layers folded like this.

On the hilltop part of the walk. Lots of electric fencing in New Zealand.Eric found a cat to pet at the top. I wonder if it sat there just to enjoy the view?

Some large boulders on the beach also had tons of embedded fossil shellsNew Zealand has many huge and beautiful hedges to separate fields.

This is Castle Hill - an awesome set of limestone outcroppings on the way to Arthurs Pass.I had to climb into this little hole.

We spent the night at a pull-off at Lake Pearson. Having the doors open makes me feel like I'm outdoors.

At the village of Arthurs Pass, we relaxed in the campervan a while before braving it out to the visitor center in the pouring rain.At the old townsite of Goldsborough (old gold-mining town), we found this weka, or wood hen, at the parking lot. It's a common flightless bird.

Mmmmm, fish and chips for lunch. It actually wasn't too appealing. They give massive portions of greasy chips (thick cut frech fries) and very heavily breaded fish.Further south, in Ross, we did some gold panning at the visitor center. It was a blast, and we actually found a good amount of gold!

The river leading from the glacier was wild and flooded. I don't think anyone could have survived a fall into it.Lunch at a place called Bruce Bay.

There was a great beach on the bay. No sandflies (or maybe it was too windy for them), wild-looking. No swimming, though.Lots of rocks that were great for skipping!

Going over Haast Pass - this shy bird is the New Zealand Pigeon

We stopped for the night at a little peninsula on Lake Wanaka.We did the Diamond Lake Track, close to Wanaka. Very scenic, right on the lake, and great views.

He leans, but doesn't fall! This is a room that was built on a 15 degree angle. Walking through it, I stumbled all the time because my mind was telling me that the floors were level, when they actually weren't.

We finally got through the maze. After lots of walking around, I was getting tired and restarted, turning left only. That worked really well.We started up the Roaring Meg track. It was a distinct second to yesterday's hikes, because it turns out the old gold-mining relics (old huts, equipment, etc) that we were supposed to see were many, many hours into the hike. This is the valley we walked up.

Tuohys saddle, at the top.The road over the pass to Arrowtown (another old gold-mining town) was really beautiful.

On the way to Queenstown we stopped around this area to do some goldpanning on the Shotover River (where they do the jet boating).

Riding the gondola up the hill next to Queenstown - to go bungy jumping!Eric's jumping!

Now it's my turn. Never again, though. It was pretty terrifying.Driving south we picked up some German hitchhikers.

Grocery stores in New Zealand sell huge tubes of refrigerated dog and cat food!We drove along the Catlin Scenic Route out of Invercargill. At Waipapa Point there was a shipwreck in the late 1800's that killed about 130 people. Getting friendly with some sea lions here.

The Curio Bay fossilized forest. It was preserved by volcanic activy and mudflows, and is now being exposed by the pounding of the ocean. The short lumps are what remains of tree stumps.Some snorkelers had found some paua, like abalone. They're edible, plus the inside of the shells are beautifully iridescent.

Cathedral Caves. These were a set of about 6 or 7 awesome massive caves, carved out by the ocean. We weren't able to explore as long as we would have liked, because the tide was coming in. A few days after we were here, 4 people drowned in New Zealand because they stayed out on a reef, collecting seashells, while the tide came in.There were yellow-eyed penguin nesting in the back of the cave! I guess that means that the tide doesn't come all he way in.

Nugget Point is an isolated spot off a bad road. It's a wild and windy peninsula, with a lighthouse and lots of resident wildlife. We spent some time here watching seabirds trying to take off. A lot of them were thrown back into the sea by the wind.Eric got a childish kick out of Kaka Point.

The Moeraki Boulders, north of Dunedin, were well worth a detour. They're formed by calcite crystalizing around organic nuclei. It's amazing to see almost perfectly round boulders laying in the sand.This one is still emerging from the mud cliff.

These poor cows are huddled in the far corner of the field, heads away from the wind.The old gold mining town of Bendigo/Welshtown has very deep mining shafts. It's not an area that you'd want to let your kids wander around unsupervised - lots of them are uncovered, unlike this one.

Some of the former occupants must have enjoyed some really nice views.The summit of Mt. Cook. At least we saw it from here, because once we got closer in, we never saw the mountain again.

Lots and lots of speargrass on our hike up the Hooker Valley. Unfortunately, not many views of the mountain.Mountain Daisy

You'll have to use your imagination here - Mt. Cook would be looming over us in the background if it were clear.An ostrich farm. They were very curious and trotted right up to us.

We had some bad timing with the weather in Christchurch!In downtown Christchurch, a Japanese couple is getting married along the scenic Avon river.

At the Canterbury Museum, there's a great display on the Antarctic. These are some of the goggles that were used to prevent snow blindness. Notice the tiny slits to allow light in.This is the "Wizard of Christchurch". He's an eccentric guy that gives very strange speeches in the square, weekdays regularly at 1 o'clock.

The wizard's car - looks like the front of 2 Volkswagen Bugs welded together.New Brighton and Sumner from Godley Head, a windy, treeless peninsula with great views.

We took a walk in the suburbs around the motor camp. This little boy showed us his kitten.

Our last day in New Zealand, we took a drive to Akaroa, a town that was originally a French settlement. They had just had serious flooding in town, and were cleaning up.Eric and a street sculpture.

Our last lunch in New Zealand!Great views of braided riverbeds and hedges on our flight out of Christchurch.

Coming back, we had superb views of Mt. Rainier.