(filtered by month 'May 2010')
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Karekare is picturesque area near Auckland. There are nice hills, wonderful beach and small waterfall. Enough reasons to go there. Maybe we will manage to visit also Piha and certainly we should spend some time in Auckland.

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Wormy caves at Waitomo

Added: May 31, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW cave photos

Inside Aranui Cave at Waitomo

New Zealand can offer an interesting attraction to tourists - glow worm caves. Imagine sitting in a boat inside dark cave with zillions of bright turquoise dots above you, reflecting in peaceful water around you. You don't need to imagine that. You can see that in Glowworm Cave at Waitomo and to have more "hands-on experience" also in Ruakuri Cave nearby.

I've been to many caves before, but these still could offer me something new. We bought triple cave combo tickets online to see all caves opened to public in Waitomo. (The third one was Aranui Cave without worms). It is also possible to do black water rafting in Ruakuri Cave, but we opted not to.

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After leaving Rotorua we headed to Waitomo. I will write about Waitomo Caves in next post. I wanted to write something shorter this time and following 2 waterfalls provide a good opportunity for me. They are both in the same region - Waikato, but the distance between them is about 140km.

The whole region is nice green with rolling hills. They are either covered with dense foliage or with grass. We passed only a few kilometres away from place where Hobiton from the Lord of Rings movie is located. I have learned about exact location only couple of days ago. If we knew about it we would possibly do something differently. Not because we are Lord of Rings fanatics, but just because we could.

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On 23rd and 24th of January 2010 we explored area of Rotorua, but also 2 places belonging to Taupo area. They are famous geothermal areas with many colourful pools, bubbling mud pots, smelly vapours and everything you need to see :-)

We visited Craters of the Moon, Orakei Korako, Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Te-Puia (and Whakarewarewa). Most of these places are bigger and more amazing than similar places in Iceland. It takes long time to see them all and lot of walking to see them complete.

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Emerald Lakes

Friday 22nd of January is our 25th day of travelling around the world. Once again we have great hike ahead of us. We arrived to Erua from Wellington yesterday. We could see Mt Ruapehu in the heavy clouds shortly before our arrival. It seems the weather for our Tongariro Crossing hike is not going to be better. It is one of the most beautiful hikes when weather allows and volcanoes from this area starred in Lord of Rings movies.

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Wellington

Added: May 18, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW city museum photos

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We arrived to Wellington later than we planned, but we were happy swimming with dolphins in Marlborough Sound was successful. Besides, we did not plan to stay there for long time. Just to visit Te Papa Museum and then move on.

Due to our late arrival in the evening we had some time to look around the centre. Museum was postponed till next morning.

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Hector dolphin in Marlborough Sound

We arrived to Picton in Marlborough Sound quite late. After leaving Shambhala in the morning we found we got flat tire. I don't think it was caused by terrible dirt roads in Abel Tasman. More probable cause was the accident when we lost axle cap, but the roads here certainly did not help.

Then we found we don't have a lifting jack in the car, so we borrowed one in Mussel Inn, we were lucky the staff was there in the morning and they helped us. Finally we could not go very fast with emergency tire and the car rental company wanted to see the car before we could replace the tire so we needed to go slowly to Nelson. It was on our route, but we wasted lot of time.

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Archway Islands, Wharariki beach, Abel Tasman

Our stay at Abel Tasman was nicely enhanced by wonderful place we stayed at - Shambhala in Onekaka. It was completely different to all other places we have been to till now. Beautiful surroundings enhanced by peaceful atmosphere, about 4km from "civilization" by private (terrible) road.

After our arrival I was a bit suspicious of many long haired people around and the presence of meditation room, but it turned out it was not lair of some sect as a paranoid me suspected :-)

Whole New Zealand tries to be ecological, but this place uses solar energy, collects rain water and has composting lavatory and trees for men :-)

Missing TV only added to its charm. And the night sky was even more beautiful than we could see at Mt. John Observatory. All in all, if I returned to Abel Tasman I would like to stay at this place again.

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Totaranui Beach

During our round the world trip we looked forward to 3 places with fantastic beaches. We slept over Bondi Beach in Sydney more than 2 weeks ago and Copacabana or Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro will have to wait for another month. But beaches at Abel Tasman are here and today!

It was not only about fantastic beaches here, but also weather is usually sunny and hot here. After 2 weeks of rain, clouds and occasional fair weather we really hoped this place will show us what a good weather looks like.

But it did not look very promising as we were getting close. Since morning there were many clouds in the sky. And they did not scatter. Contrary, when we were climbing winding road to Takaka Hill we could see thick clouds everywhere around. My hope was over.

But then, when we got on to the other side of hill, we could see thin band of blue in distance. We could see also some sandy beach ahead. Are they close enough? Will clouds pass before we get there? A slight taste of hope returned.

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Nelson Lakes NP

Added: May 02, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW lake mountains photos

Sunrise at Lake Rotoiti

We visited Nelson Lakes only because we liked the photos done by my former colleague Ben Smith. He was huge inspiration for our trip year ago and his photos played huge role in our decision for going to South America during our trip.

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