Testing...testing. Are you still out there? I'm here and sorry for the disappearance. It's been one thing after another, as they say. During our final two weeks in New Zealand we were not able to find free internet access that would allow me to upload photos to the blog. And what's a blog post without photos?
Anyway, we got home a couple of weeks ago and it took several days to get re-adjusted to normal life again, then life got so busy I couldn't manage to get the photos organized. Then there was the trip to Portland to see Chloe's doctor and then a whole week of the flu. I'm just now feeling human again, though still coughing way too much. I finally got some time to organize the some 1500 photos from our trip and get them transferred to my computer. So I will carry on with travel posts for a while and you can pretend we're still there in NZ (I can say that I wouldn't mind that a bit!)
In our last installment, we were heading to the north of the south island to Picton to take the ferry over to Wellington. We did stop in Nelson where I got a wealth of NZ quilt fabrics that I'm still comtemplating how to use in a liberated quilt. The ferry ride was such that the less said about that the better. It was pretty rough (though the info board said seas were "moderate"- ha!). We heard plenty of upchucking and I just had to block it all out and focus on my book. Our family managed to make it through with only mildly uncomfortable tummies.
Wellington was so fascinating we did a rare two day stay in one place so we could see the amazing Te Papa museum and the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. Te Papa is the country's premier museum combining arts, culture and natural history. Chloe was disappointed to find that we missed by a week their display of the world's only colossal squid. Apparently, it had started to decompose the week before and been taken off exhibit while they tried to figure out what to do about it. Luckily, the museum has so much to offer (all for free!) that we could spend two days there. We walked around the city a bit and had a fantastic dinner at a tapas restaurant called Hummingbird. And yes, they do have bungy towers around every corner!
The highlight of Wellington had to be the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. This amazing place has a 500 year vision to: "restore a corner of mainland New Zealand as closely as possible to the way it was ‘the day before humans arrived.'" When we got our tickets we were asked if we'd like a guided tour for the same price as regular admission, well, yes of course, we said. Our Maori guide was so much fun. He was so enthusiastic about the mission of Karori and the birds we were lucky to see there. We saw Tui, Saddleback, Kaka, North Island Robins as well as Tuatara. It's a remarkable achievement that they've been able to exclude all predators with special 8.6 km long fence. There are also kiwi there, but we didn't stay late enough to see them. I will definitely go back if I ever get to Wellington again.
Our guide's delight at seeing the family of Saddlebacks was catching. This pair had just bred for the first time this summer and he hadn't seen the young ones out yet. It made the tour very memorable.
Next time: We head up to the Art Deco city of Napier!