There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Today was our last full day in New Zealand. We woke up at 6, slightly earlier than our normal 6:30, just so we could get on the road to Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula that much earlier. We didn’t stick around for anything in Te Aroha but getting gas.
Continue reading Coromandel
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Monday, September 14, 2015
It was only an hour’s drive from Taupō to Rotorua, the next morning. We spent most of the morning walking around Rotorua, mainly on the grounds of the Rotorua Museum, which features typical Maori architecture and design, and the surrounding Government Gardens.
Continue reading Rotorua and Hobbiton
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
William Wordsworth, “The Tables Turned”
Saturday, September 12, 2015
We bid adieu to Wellington around our usual time of 8 AM. The driving on this day was—at least for the first part—unlike most of our driving experience so far in all of New Zealand. You can tell immediately that the North Island is definitely the more populated and urbanized of the two islands. The roads were definitely easier to drive, but that meant going through a lot of towns, meaning going 100 kilometers per hour all the time was not possible; although 4 hours’ worth of driving time on the North Island got us further than 4 hours’ worth on the South Island, and before we knew it, we got close to Tongariro National Park. Continue reading Tongariro
Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.
Sunday, September 13, 2015 (continued)
We left Tongariro National Park around 12:30 PM, first stopping one last time in Turangi to fuel up on gas, and headed up to Taupō. State Highway 1 continues along the eastern edge of Lake Taupō. The great lake, which is situated close to smack-dab in the center of the North Island, lies in the ancient volcanic caldera of the Taupō Volcano. This volcano is responsible for some of the most violent eruptions in earth’s history (and may just be overdue for a big one). When turned off at a scenic lookout in the city once we arrived, and discovered that we could see all three peaks of Tongariro National Park in one panoramic view from the north side of the lake—a nice surprise! We had no idea that they would be visible from that far away, much less all three visible at the same time.
Continue reading Taupō
It’s true you can’t live here by chance,
you have to do and be, not simply watch
or even describe. This is the city of action,
the world headquarters of the verb—
Friday, September 11, 2015 (continued)
Crazy capital city streets
It was not long from the time they made the announcement that passengers could go back to their vehicles, to when the ship was docked, and we were turning out of the ship and into busy Wellington traffic. We had decided to try to head immediately toward the Wellington funicular, even though it was much later in the day than we had originally planned on. We had many tense and frustrating moments trying the follow the GPS’s instructions through the winding and climbing roads of Wellington. In other words, we had many “Rusty!” moments. But we needed to find decent parking. After being in mostly country and smaller cities, Wellington seemed absolutely huge and crazy busy in comparison, even if in reality it was a medium-sized city. Really, the landscape was no different than everywhere else, which of course is challenging, but just add lots of people, buildings, streets, traffic lights, and a multi-lane highway.
Continue reading Wellington
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Friday, September 11, 2015
Our last morning on the South Island started with pleasant weather, there was nothing that lead us to believe that our ferry to the North Island would be any trouble. We had one of our most leisurely mornings getting ready, since the Interislander ferry terminal was literally less than a mile down the road from us in Picton.
Continue reading Picton
Thirty-one days from now, we’ll be heading off the the real Middle-earth: New Zealand!
We’ve been planning this trip for a long time. As siblings, we always wanted to do at least one grand trip together after college graduation. Now that we are all settled with steady jobs and blessed with the time to do it, we finally booked our flights this past February.
Continue reading One month till the Real Middle-earth