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Auckland to Queenstown  
Our Trip to New Zealand

Waitamo caves

Putting on Chains before heading to the mountain.

View from Coronet Peak towards Queenstown

Geyser close to Roterua. Erupts every day at 10AM (with some help from 200gr of soap)


Giant KIWI-Bird

Pengiuin Crossing, Wellington

Coronet Peak, Queenstown, South Island

The van we had on North Island

More View Frome Coronet Peak

Whiteout !!!!

  Camping and Skiing down under

July 2004

Greetings again friends,

Here we are a week into our second vacation this summer, and as we have too much summer in Singapore we decided to go “down under” to get a taste of winter.

We flew down from Singapore to Auckland Friday last week with arrival 10:30 in the morning on Saturday. There is only 4 hours time difference between Singapore and New Zealand, so jet-lag was not so bad. 9 hours flight overnight, so we got some sleep.

We picked up our rental van and headed to Ian and Cheryl’s place. I was working with Ian in Saudi for 7 years. He is the one who designed the machine-gun mount and shield for the 101st Airborne Division’s “HUMVI” and entertained more troops than Bob Hope during the first Gulf War. We had a good time catching up with old friends and Cheryl moved her schedule around a bit so she could come with us for a few days.

On Monday we drove to Waitomo Caves. There are some glowing worms in the roof of these caves. Pretty impressive, but it was too dark for pictures unfortunately. From there we headed to Rotorua where Ian’s family lives. We parked in Ian’s father’s front yard and hang around with Ian’s 2 brothers and parents. Unbelievable hospitality was extended to us. I hope I will get the chance some day to give the same back to these wonderful people. Rotorua is a major tourist town with lots of things to do. We went to a Sheep-show, Thermal activity park (smell of H2S would get most oil men to abandon rig), the lake, Kiwi/Trout park and a Mauri cultural show at night. Interesting stuff. We drove in a bus that became the WAKA (Mauri for canoe). Anyone not behaving would be WAKAing home.

Wednesday morning we headed south to a 10:15 geyser eruption (trick it to add 300g of soap to get the geyser going) and more thermal activity and even more H2S (rotten egg smell). The gas heater gave up the dust Wednesday morning, and with outside temperature of -4 deg C it got kind of chilly in the van. It took us 2 days to get the new control board, so we now had to buy electric heaters and stay in Camping grounds. The girls liked it as there are pools and playground in these parks. From the geyser we drove to Napier to spend the night. We went visiting a winery and bought some excellent Shiraz to bring back with us to Singapore.

We then decided to drive straight to Wellington and spend today (Friday) here. There is a really good national museum in Wellington that we spent most of the . A short drive down to the Southern tip of the North Island to see if we could see some penguins, but there were none at this time of the year.

Tomorrow we hand the campervan (also known in Norway as Kraut-mobile or Sausage-truck with all the Germans driving around in them) back and get on a flight to Queenstown. From all reports I hear the skiing is excellent right now, so we are all looking forward to a week in the snow.

Hope all is going well with all of you around the world.

Greetings from 41 deg south, 174 deg East. Timezone GMT -12 hours. We are the first to see the light of a new day.

Good buy and take care y’all.

Atle, Lynne, Sophi and Bianca

Part 2

We arrived Queenstown on Saturday and got all our ski-gear and tickets sorted out. Started skiing on Sunday. Slight foggy weather and snow. Monday was the best day with -2 to -6 in the hill. We skied on Coronet Peak all week. We tried to go to Cadrona one day, but it was closed due to weather. Still Coronet Peak is a good mountain with the base at 1160m and the top of the quad lift at 1623m (yes, I did bring my GPS). Sophi and Bianca was in ski-school in the morning 4 days and got quite good at skiing, so we have to keep this up. Plenty of snow up in the mountain, but only a bit down in Queenstown (425m elevation) one morning. They do not have studded tires like in proper countries, so I got pretty good putting on snow chains as they were required most days going to the ski-lifts even if we had a Rav4 with 4 wheel-drive. Nice car (Knut).

We had a 2 bedroom apartment in Queenstown only 2 minutes walk down the hill to town centre. There are lots of nice restaurants and all in all a cosy little town.

Not a very eventful week. Just enjoyed the snow and skiing. Now it is back to reality and Singapore.