A Travellerspoint blog

Island Highlights

overcast 24 °C

A highlight of any trip to the South Pacific is the star studded view of the Southern Cross against a cloudless black sky…
Impressive eh! But hold onto your moas for a minute. Let’s have a closer look at those twinklers…
Yup – those aren’t stars at all. They are a smattering of the fascinating glow worms that live in the caves of Waitomo near Hamilton. According to Kyle, our knowledgeable guide in the Footwhistle caves, glow worms aren’t worms at all: they are devious little critters that live on the roof of the caverns and know that when fly larvae hatch in the subterranean rivers the young flies are genetically programmed to fly high into the night sky. So, the glow worms put on a celestial light show overhead and lure their victims into a deadly curtain loaded with sticky droplets of venom…
Glow worms aren’t the only ones putting on the lights in New Zealand. Thousands of Chinese lanterns will be lighting up the trees in the Domain in Auckland this weekend. Unfortunately we won’t be there for the event but we were lucky enough to witness the preparations. This Morton Bay fig tree was a masterpiece without the lanterns…
Auckland is big in New Zealand terms. It only has one and half million people but that’s a third of the entire population. Like Vancouver, Auckland is a new city with few buildings a hundred or more years old. This is the old Custom’s House on the quay...
Auckland is the hub of New Zealand. All roads, ferries, flights and cruises land here.
But, as one New Zealand taxi driver put it: the best thing about Auckland is the road south to Wellington – if you can get through the traffic jams.
We didn’t drive to Wellington, we flew. But we could see what he meant as we drove to Auckland airport.
Wellington, (a.k.a Windy Wellington), is the capital of New Zealand and an altogether more laid back city of just 200,000. The slow ride to the botanical gardens in the cable car is a treat…
….and the gardens themselves are a treasure of native and imported flora and fauna.

The islands making up New Zealand are very new in geological terms – less than 500 million years – and because it is so far from the nearest land it evolved a unique ecosystem. Only one mammal… a small bat; and one tree…the kauri, were here before European settlers came in 1839. New Zealand has the perfect conditions for all manner of temperate plants and trees and today its primary export is timber. Here in Wellington we’ve had time to smell the roses…
Now we are heading south across the Cook Strait to the South Island of New Zealand. See you soon.

Posted by Hawkson 18:18 Archived in New Zealand

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Glad to see that you're enjoying your trip. Love all the pics as it brings back so ma y memories. Safe travels and give a big wave to my nephew Patrick.

by Samchow58

Now that fig tree is a wonder, even without lanterns and Sheila, although the later does enhance.. keep up the the great info flow and fabulous pictures.

by gottfried

The colour of those roses look so rich and beautiful. And could you bring that tree home please? Thank you.

by Janet

I love the stars in the sky. We are lucky to see any these days of rain. Love the photos and dialogue.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Handsome building that. Thanks for the memories of the glow worms and the southern cross. Bon voyage to the South Island.

by Tom

Hope Cyclone Winston has abated otherwise you might have a bouncy trip across Cook Strait. Just heard from Jennifer. Hope you bring your good weather across with you. They are determined to kayak Tasman Bay.

by R and B

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