We had another full day in Melbourne. Started with some laundry and then "running the tan" again - route around the Botancial Garden. The tram driver told us the "tan" either related to the color of the pathway soil or the tan in Botanical Garden. We had some breakfast and and we were off to the Zoo to have lunch with Jenny Gray. She met us at the "golden elephant' in the center of the Zoo. After a nice pasta lunch she showed us the new Children's area and then the walk-
On Sunday, January 29th, in Melbourne, Australia we used our ground passes to visit the Tennis Complex for the Men's Finals between Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal. While we did not have seats in the Rod Laver Arena, we could watch the match with thousands of fans on many big screens around the complex. We chose to watch from the Margaret Court Arena. After the incredible match, which lasted until almost midnight, Roger Federer walked into the arena with the championship t
Took a 6 AM Air New Zealand flight on Saturday from Wellington to Melbourne. It's the final weekend of the Australian Open and while we do not have tickets for the Men's Final in Rod Laver Arena on Sunday, we do have grounds passes. Inside the huge complex there are large screens everywhere to watch the matches, There are even large screens outside the event area so the public can watch free-of-charge. We watched part of the Women's Final in one of those areas. Walked 7 m
On Friday, we played golf at Karori Golf Club, a wonderful hilly course that was lots of fun. Having not picked up a club since September, both Sarah and I had good shots and some lousy shots. Talked to a couple of local members who were very happy that we enjoyed our round. Sarah and I have now played golf in seven different countries - bad golf, but great memories! Got to go - time to pack for our 6 AM flight to Melbourne, Australia.
On Thursday we headed up "the hill" by cable car to Zealandia. This 250-hectare natural area is completely surrounded by a predator proof fence. Native birds are free to fly in and out. There are some "zoo" exhibits, including a huge area for tuatara. Feeding stations for birds make in easy to see native birds, such as the kaka (parrot). There is large indoor interpretive area with displays and a depressing video that explains how man has destroyed New Zealand's wildlife
An American's perspective of traveling in New Zealand: 1. Nice people that go out of their way to help you. 2. All accommodations have towel warmers, bottles of milk in the refrigerator and plenty of tea and coffee (and they drink lots of both) and they have wonderful electric pots that instantly heat water. 3. There is no tipping or taxes in restaurants - the price you see is what you pay (you can tip a little for excellent service). Also, you usually pay at the regist
In very windy and rainy weather we visited the Wellington Zoo on Wednesday. We had coffee with Karen Fifield then went out in the rain. We watched a procedure on a cotton-top tamarin (public viewing) at the veterinary hospital. They do a procedure for the public twice a day, everyday! We walked the entire 20-acre Zoo. Due to the weather some animals were not outside. The Farm area was excellent with lots of unique interactive displays. The kiwi exhibit was the best we ha
On Monday, January 23, we had a private guided tour of Ulva Island. This 250 hectare island is free of predators and rats so it's a bird sanctuary Our guide, Ange, was able to find about a dozen birds species native to this areas, including the South Island Saddleback, Kaka (a parrot), Morepork (an owl named for its call) and Fiordland Crested Penguin. We returned to Stewart Island, had lunch and did our final walk before catching the 5 PM Ferry back to the mainland. For a
Left our motel in Invercargill by bus at 8:20 AM and got to Bluff for our 9:30 ferry to Stewart Island, an island off the southern tip of New Zealand. Was nice to get off the ferry after a very rough one hour ride. Checked into the Stewart Island Lodge (above is our view). Oban Township (the only "town") has a couple or restaurants and one small grocery. There are 350 permanent residents on the island. After lunch at the South Seas Hotel, we went for a beautiful 8 Km walk
Left Christchurch today on an all day bus ride to Invercargill on the southern most part of New Zealand. Spending the next two days on Stewart Island. This photos shows the contrast of buildings, six years after the huge earthquake (second one came a few month ago - not much damage this time to the City). Photo shows a new building, historic building and one they don't know what to do with so they put cargo containers in front of it!