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jamespaul’s Travel Diary

Friday, 12 Jan 2007

Location: Taupo, New Zealand

Map5/1 Easy drive from Te Anau to Queenstown. Light lunch preceeded rafting on the Kawara River - grade 4 rapids. Fantastic past Lord of the Rings sites and bungy jumping. Tina went rock jumping intom the river and survived. Took early evening trip up the Gondola for wonderful panaramic views, end of a good hot sunny day
6/1 scenic drive to Glenorchy stopping off for a walk at Bob's Bay. Discovered it was Glenorchy Race Day to raise money for the community. It appeared anyone with a horse turned up at the golf course, painted a number on its side and raced!. pm Dart river safari trip. BBQ was followed by off road trip, Forest trek and a 49K jet boat ride at 70km an hour. Breathtaking passed many more LOTR sites. Rain set in but this made waterfalls fantastic- river rose 3ft in 30 mins. Hot chocolate with brandy needed on return.
7/1 Drive to Geraldene hot sunny day picturesque trip ex. views of Mount Cooke range - still snow on pistes. Lake Tekapo was an azure blue green - hope the photos do it justice. BB wasa period 1900 board house. Geraldine a quaint slow town.

8/1 Drive to Kiakoura via Christchurch - lovely sunny day again. City tour- tram trip and Botanical Grds - very pleasant. Continued drive over twisty mountain road with exceptional views - wonderful.

9/1 am explored local area and winery - only one in NZ by the sea, good local wines and lunch. pm Whale watching trip - saw 3 sperm whales, 3 blue sharks, giant albatros, northern giant petrel and penguins- a fantastic experience with amazing photos.

10/1 Drove to Picton along Pacific coast line, along side railway track- possible future option. Visited 2 Marlborough Vineyards on the way. Good ferry crossing to North Island with exceptional views, intersting drive to Palmerston North for our BB homestay- exceptional. Evening meal, breakfast and House all superb.

11/1 Drive to Lake Taupo driving through gorges and following river.S1 highway thro Tanarino National Park and the three volcanoes - all part of Maori Legend and LOTR. Beautiful drive. Lake Taupo beautiful in sunshine. Visited Huka Falls and then went up stream for the opening of the dam waters to flood the gorge - an amazing site. Very pleasant BB.