New Zealand

In January 2011, Rick and Wendy toured New Zealand and a bit of Australia. For most of this trip, they traveled with one couple, driving for approximately one week on the south island of New Zealand, one week on the north island and a couple of days in Sydney. Despite January supposedly being the equivalent of July in the U.S., summer on New Zealand’s south island and the southern half of the north island was frequently rainy and cool. However, the rain provided what was needed for the country’s lush landscape (waterfalls!), hydro-electricity, crops and livestock. Most of the countryside on both islands was dotted with villages and small towns. In some ways, New Zealand’s widely varied terrain reminded the Walleighs of California, including glacial streams and waterfalls; huge mountain lakes and spectacular coasts; volcanic mountains, granite cliffs, and fuzzy, forest-covered mountains; and thermal activities and deserts.

New Zealand & Australia’s Isolation Engendered Unique Land & Sea Creatures

Australia

With isolation from connected continents over millennia, the region’s animals and plants adapted uniquely to their geography and climate and thus evolved distinctly differently from those on other continents.  The Silver Fern is not only New Zealand’s national symbol but also endemic to its forests and jungles. Australia has 600 different reptile species.  New Zealand […]

See the full story →

New Zealand Overview–from Countryside to Cities

New Zealand

Wendy’s personal goal to travel to six of the seven continents (skipping Antarctica) was met when she and Rick touched down in Australia in January 2011.  For most of this trip, they traveled with one couple, driving for approximately one week on the south island of New Zealand, one week on the north island and […]

See the full story →

New Zealand’s North Island–Maori Culture, Thermal Features & More

New Zealand

Known best for being the Maori cultural center and its active thermal fields, New Zealand’s north island is also warmer in temperature than the south island.  So the Walleighs could enjoy part of this island in shorts and t-shirts.  Their route was from Wellington to Auckland with many fascinating stops, including time in each city. […]

See the full story →

New Zealand’S South Island—Rugged Coasts to Glaciers in Lord of the Rings’ Country

New Zealand

Despite the cool and sometimes rainy weather on New Zealand’s south island, it was Wendy’s favorite of the two islands.  The variety of dramatic scenery in such a relatively small area was quite impressive. Southern Alps’ impressive glaciers: Just inland from the south island’s entire west coast are the Southern Alps, which are covered with […]

See the full story →

2011 Walleigh Travel Journal: New Zealand and Australia

Australia

JANUARY 1 – 29, 2011 . On Mon., Feb.21, 2011 a shallow quake of 6.3  (in Sept. 2010 there was a 7.1) occurred right under downtown Christchurch, collapsing buildings, killing—as of Feb. 24–nearly 100 and trapping up to 200 in many buildings’ rubble.  7 weeks ago we stayed in the city center in the Grand […]

See the full story →