Thursday, July 16, 2009

From northland on down..

New Photos from the desk of Tenny!! Get em while they're hot:

Windy Welly

It is with great sadness that I must announce that I have nothing really insightful to say at the moment. Not to say we haven't been up to much, because we've actually been doing a lot (Tenny is working on a new batch of pictures as I type), it's just that we've succumbed to the banality of city life for a couple of weeks while we figure out the master plan. Tens and I are chillin' in chilly Wellington, enjoying the incredible hospitality of her cousins Georgette and Emily, and getting caught up on all the boring stuff like getting our resumes ready for job hunting.

Actually the most interesting thing to happen in the last few days has been what didn't happen, to us at least. We had talked about going for a hike in the mountains to the north of Wellington, but changed our minds when we found out that the head of the national museum in Wellington died of hypothermia along the track.

I think the two of them were far higher and further than we had planned to go, but it's a healthy reminder that it's still winter and we're probably better off sitting by the heater watching Harry Potter. The strange thing is that I think they probably died the day we were vising the national museum, which is quite an impressive museum. Looks like we'll have to live vicariously through others, like our friend Jed, who just scaled Mt. Adams outside of Portland. It looks like he's excited, but he could also be trying to scare off a yeti.

So for the time being we'll stick to the lowlands, which is what we were doing in Napier/Hastings before we ventured down to Wellington. And I hate to admit it lest I be branded a yuppy, but we had a really good time at the wineries swishing the free samples of the reserve collections and pretending like we could taste apricots and oak (well, I was pretending at least, Tenny has a much more refined palate and can actually distinguish these things). Ahhh, who am I kidding.. anybody who uses the word 'lest' in a sentence deserves to be ridiculed. I'm not afraid to admit that I could get really used to having expensive glasses of wine poured for free, in fact Tens and I are already plotting a trip to the Okanagan to check out the local wineries back home. And if anyone is planning on buying New Zealand wine in the near future I can certainly attest to the fact that 2007 was a good year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Well after the rains finally ceased we got some really beautiful camping in on the northern most part of New Zealand at Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach before heading down the west coast for a truly EXTREME New Zealand experience. We camped at a small national park called the Trounson Kauri Park, which apparently due to the fact that it is entirely surrounded by pasture land has helped to keep pests out and increase the population of north island brown kiwi. So we set up our tents, cooked a hearty meal, covered our headlamps with red foil to dull our lights, and headed out into the bush an hour after sunset to see if we could find a wild kiwi.

We knew there must be some in the forest because we could hear a couple calling to each other as we were cooking, and sure enough after only 13 minutes of wandering the trails we found our superstar..

Amazingly this little guy wasn't even afraid of us, and walked right through our path about 5 feet away. At that point we figured it was easy peasy to track them down, but after another 2 hours in the bush the only other sighting we had was a beak poking out from around a tree. It's a shame that the picture doesn't show his beak actually, because it is definitely the most impressive part of the kiwi. It really is quite a miracle that any of these birds survive at all, considering that they seem pretty oblivious of anything that could kill them, and apparently they don't really rear their young at all, just turn them loose shortly after birth. But hey.. it leads to good times and after a really fun kiwi hunt we're not complaining.

football is football is football

After finishing up our two week stint on our second farm, puriri flat, we headed north in search of good views and warm enough weather for a little bit of camping. The first stop was a little town on the Bay of Islands named Russell, where we very unceremoniously got completely rained out..

So we took the opportunity to brush up on some of the finer aspects of New Zealand culture, by going to the bar and watching rugby for hours and hours. I don't think either of us really knows the rules of the game quite yet, but we do know that this guy stole Tenny's hair:

As we watched the southern hemisphere's version of the beautiful game we were also soothed to the easy listening sounds of 'Plan B' - (their musical skills are thankfully better than their web design skills) who played a variety of cover songs to a faithful fanbase of us and one other lady at the bar. They were really nice though, and didn't get too jealous when we payed more attention to the rugby than them.

After careful analysis I've also discovered the secret of the game, and contrary to popular theories involving 'skill' or 'fitness', I've determined that the class of a rugby team is entirely dependent on the name of its captain. Strange that England won the Rugby World Cup back in 2003? Not if you consider that their captain's name was 'Jonny Wilkinson', or that the 2007 winners South Africa had a captain named 'Paul Roos'. You'd think this would give New Zealand a good chance of winning in 2011 with a captain named 'Mils Miliaina', but I'm afraid my pick has to go to the Aussies, behind... Stirling Mortlock Anyone care to place a wager?