Our Visit to Kiwi Land

Our visit to New Zealand was especially memorable in what we did not see, which was, of course, Christchurch.  A severe aftershock, as a result of their earlier earthquake in September 2010, had its epicenter just off the coast of Christchurch, near Lyttleton, which was to be our docking facility for the Queen Mary 2.  We missed the disaster by 4 days.  The quake was on Tuesday; we were to dock on Saturday.

Cunard scrambled to change our port of call to Wellington.  We were sorry to miss our trip to Christchurch as we had scheduled a special event of the International Antarctica Center, getting a “back stage tour” so Carolyn and Mary Jane could feed and play with the little blue penguins.  We were sorry to miss the chance, but we shall definitely schedule it for another time when we return to Australia and New Zealand in the future.

But on to Wellington.  It is a very cold and windy city, but with lots of natural beauty.  The BB’s did the gardens of Wellington, and took pictures of the flowers that were in bloom at this time of year.

Cable car in Wellington, going to the gardens



Carolyn and Mary Jane went to see the seals on the beach.  Because it was high tide, part of the road to the colony was underwater, so we could only see a few seals, but the BB’s took an afternoon tour to see the seals and were able to see more because the road had opened further.

Wellington coastline where the seals live

Female seal

Male seal

The people of New Zealand take full advantage of their rocky, rough terrain, and have many wind farms on the high hills.  The guide told us that just one wind turbine provides enough electricity each day to service the needs of 200 to 400 homes.  Very effective way to harness the resources they have readily at hand.

Terrain outside of Wellington


Wind turbine overlooking Wellington


We also met a new style of Street People.

Wellington street people (definitely green)


We left Wellington and headed north to Auckland.  Once in Auckland, we all split up and went on our separate shore excursions:  Barb Cook went to the thermal valley, Barbara Dempsey went to see the glow worm caves, and Carolyn and Mary Jane went to see the gannet colony.

Thermal Valley geyser with sulphur run off



The gannet colony is on a rocky promontory outside of Auckland.  By the time we arrived, it was pouring rain, but when the rain slowed down a bit, Carolyn and Mary Jane made a 10-minute dash to the top of the cliff to see the rookery.  The gannets are very organized when placing their nests. It almost looks like they measured the space with yardsticks and rulers.  They cling to the rocky outcrops and then swoop through the air so gracefully.  The rainy conditions prevented our cameras from capturing their aerial shots clearly, but we certainly did enjoy seeing them glide effortlessly in the drafts between the cliffs.

Gannet colony





We then headed over to a local farm for lunch where they raised sheep and deer.  We had another display of the sheep herding and shearing, but Carolyn fell in love with the deer, which loved her too, as long as she fed them kernels of corn.





Mary Jane feeding the deer



New Zealand sheep herding

Rounding up the stray

Keeping the herd together



It was a fun day, but we had to hurry back for our much anticipated 2011 Full World Cruise Dinner in the Auckland Sky Tower overlooking the city.  It is a special dinner reserved for the passengers (about 550) who are sailing the entire world voyage on the Queen Mary 2.


3 Responses to “Our Visit to Kiwi Land”

  1. So thankful you are all okay! The pictures are beautiful. I saw Pepe and Ubu (sp.) and they are doing fine. It was fun to see them. Sally joined us at church last Sunday and attended bunco on Tuesday. Stay safe!

  2. So glad you are safe! Love your pictures … the gannets are incredible.

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