Tim & Anja's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

The adventure begins

Tim, Katie and Carl the seal

Anja and Katie and the view in Kaikoura

Our new friend

Katie introduces Tim and Anja to the world of music :)

Nice vinyards in the Blenheim area

Lots of the vinyards had pretty roses

"Toxic" looking plants that are perfectly harmless

Getting ready to take the water taxi to the beginning of the...

The water taxi's taxi - yes a tractor!!!

Getting dropped off at the beginning of our walk

Common views along the trail

Eating lunch at low tide on a beautiful sandy beach

What can you say??

Cool scenery

Hanging out in Cleopatra's pool

A shag - we think. Just sitting on the fence as we...

Enjoying the beach

Beginning a short walk thru Nelson Lakes National Park

An insect lives in this beech tree, digests its sap, and excretes...

Hmmm, should I eat this sap?

Sure, go for it!

It's sweet, but it IS bug excrement!

Soaking wet Katie at the Pancake Rocks

Trying to dry things, but it really didn't work with wind and...

Hello everyone!! It's Katie here (Tim's sister) and I am filling in for this little section of narration. I secretly think it's Tim an Anja's version of a pop quiz to see how much I can remember about where we've been for the last week, but I'll have a go at story telling and see if I can work around my questionable spelling and slightly confused mental map of New Zealand....

So I arrived last week, spent the night here in the lovely abode in Christchurch, and then we packed up Mystery Machine, and headed north up the east coast. We stopped at a nice area called, um, wait, I know this one....Kaikura? Yes, that's it. We were lucky enough to fend off the weather, make a new friend out of Carl the seal, and even get the mountains to come out and say hello. I was convinced early on that this entire country looks like a post card and that I might just need more than two weeks to explore it all (don't worry parents, I'm not skipping the country just yet)!!

And speaking of exploring, after a full 48 hours with no soundtrack to speed our journey, I introduced these two musically challenged kids to this crazy new thing called an iPod. Let's just say I don't think they will be investing in one any time too soon! After humouring my obsession, we continued down the road to the heart of wine country sans the musical backdrop, and indulged in the region's finest. Our 'day of indulgence' netted some fancy wines, olive oil, a new spice experience called 'dukkah' and some fresh made cherry jam! Oh, and some chocolate. How could I have forgoten the chocolate?

Next we were off to the Abel Tasman trail, which i have to say was a highlight of my trip so far. We hired a water taxi to take us up the coast and then hiked about 17 miles back to Mystery Machine through white sandy beaches, tidal plains, inland mountains, and what we think might have been a bird preserve. We were prepared for wind and rain and were pleasantly surprised that the sun stayed shining! We haven't seen it since, but hey, that just feels like home sweet home in Seattle, although I think we all wish I would have left my weather at home.....

But we're toughing it out and trying to stay dry, which we managed with some success at the Nelson Lakes National Park. Are you all ready to have a moment where you are proud to be our friends and relatives? I thought so. So we read up at our little visitor boards about a very interesting insect that burrows into the trees in this region and lives off of the tree sap. The evidence of these little critters is a filament like 'anal tube' visible from the outside of the tree bark. Basically, the whole shebang yields 'honeydew,' a substance that sounded a whole lot like honey suckles to us. So being the adventurous folks that we are....well, I'll let the pictures tell you this story!

And then that was really the end of that dry and warm thing we'd been enjoying. Never one to let the rain slow me down, these silly kids accompanied me out to the very intriguing Pancake Rocks, where we were the only people not only not running for cover, but walking confidently out into the squall. But it was worth it! What a crazy geological phenominon!

So we are momentarily back in Christchurch, warm, dry, and happy again for the first time in days, but Tim and I are planning to break that habit and head back to the countryside tomorrow. Anja is back to work at Science Alive! and we're going to miss her on the second half of our journey, but we have to cram as much as we can into this whirlwind vacation. I'm sure we'll have more absurdity to update you on in the near future, but for now, it's way past our bedtime! Goodnight all, we'll see you soon!

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