A Travellerspoint blog

Christchurch

Quake City!

semi-overcast 22 °C

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Well.... First off it appears that I have failed at blogging for this trip! It has been non- stop the last 10 days! After Wellington I took a ferry to the south island where I continued from the ferry to the city of Christchurch. Christchurch is unlike any city I have ever been too. They had a destructive earthquake in 2011 (one year ago today) that just devastated the city. Imagine downtown Edmonton being complete destroyed but having the skyscrapers intact, however because of the damage to the foundations you have to demolish each one- that's Christchurch's downtown core. In fact there are really no hotels as they have been destroyed in the quake. I stayed at a hostel that was across the street from a destroyed church and strip mall. My first night I experienced my first aftershock- a 4.2 that rattled me in my bunk bed! This is now a regular occurrence for residents. Prior to 2010 they had never had an earthquake before and now 10,000 buildings have to be destroyed and they get 3-7 aftershocks a day. So sad but the city continues to go on. They have a really cool strip mall completly made from cargo containers and they bars made from these as well. I partied at one such bar where the entire block behind us was rubble- life has to go on. 130 + people lost their lives and watching the one year memorial service was very touching this morning. I'm happy I was ably to visit and give the city some much needed tourism dollars.

Posted by anthonyfalls 17:46 Archived in New Zealand Tagged christchurch earthquake Comments (1)

Frolicking in the Sun

sunny 23 °C

Sorry about the lull in blog updates. It is amazing how the days just fly by when you are on vacation! It has been a very busy few days! On Wednesay (Tuesday in Canada) I took another adventure to one of the islands just outside Auckland. A 35 minute ferry took me to Waiheke Island. It is the largest island around Auckland and features winery's, small costal communties and the most amazing beach I have ever seen; Onetangi Beach.

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The beach was pretty much deserted, at most maybe 8 people! Got some reading done and actually went swimming in the warm water. Was lucky to meet a group of ladies from the US and had a very delicious dinner and a memorable ferry trip back to Auckland that included a very large full moon!

The following day I packed up and headed North to the Bay of Islands for two days in the costal town of Paihia. Paihia is where a lot of people go from Auckland to escape the city, it is about 4 hrs away. There are lots of beaches, tourist sites and boat trips. I took a full day boat trip that involved swimming with wild dolphins (was not able to participate as they are only allowed so many people per day by law, and I got my ticket the day before) it was really cool to see the dolphins on their own accord (they are wild and do not have to swim with the participants) and how they interact with humans. The boat trip took us to a few private islands and the famous hole in the rock.

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After two nights, I headed back to Auckland for the Roxette Concert! Unfortunately, the concert got cancelled about 26 hrs before and I ended up going to bed early on a Saturday night to get some well deserved sleep before I depart to Wellington to continue my sightseeing of NZ.

6861629025_6e8bf84a4e.jpg I think a much more somber picture is needed for this horrible news!

Having a blast! Can not believe that it has already been over a week since I have arrived. The tan is coming along nicely.

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-Anthony

Posted by anthonyfalls 01:56 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beach paihia roxette waiheke_island onetangi_beach hole_in_the_rock Comments (1)

Keeping BUSY!!

Auckland Zoo, Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Rotorua

overcast 24 °C

The days are just flying by! Yesterday, I took a day trip to the Zoo in Auckland. The Zoo was HUGE and had a lot more animals than I expected, and featured different regions of New Zealand. Getting used to the tranpsoration system here in Auckland. Everything seems so new and so forward. All bus stops tell you how many minutes to the next bus, read out the the next bus stop while you are in the bus and you can use the free WIFI downtown to plan bus routes online. For dinner last night, I took another bus and went to Mission Bay. Had dinner on the beach watching the sunset, something about watching the sun set, eating a burger and fries while listening to the waves that really makes me feel so relaxed!

Today I had to get up at the crack of dawn (OK 6:30 AM- but for me that is early!) and took a bus tour down to the Waitomo Caves. I did not know what to expect, although tripadvisor ranks it as one of the top tourist attraction in NZ. It was FANTASTIC! I tried to take some photos of the caves, but photography is forbidden in the caves and an elderly couple tattled on me. However, picture a pitch black boat ride and as you look up seeing hundreds of little green specks above you. Words don't do justice! Such a great trip! I continued on to Rotorua, which has extreme geothermic activity. There are parts of the town where steam and mud just bubble up from the surface. Overall a great couple days.

-A

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Hot bubbly mud at a park in Rotorua

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60 Year Old Tortoise at the Auckland Zoo

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Cave where the glow warms are located

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Thermal steam coming from the ground in Rotorua

Posted by anthonyfalls 00:30 Archived in New Zealand Tagged auckland rotorua waitomo_cave auckland_zoo Comments (0)

First 48 hrs in Auckland

An AMAZING City

overcast 23 °C

6821183553_11f796fefc.jpgThe awsome public seating found around Auckland and me laying in the sand before I turned the feet bright red- the beach looks across the skyline of Auckland

The awsome public seating found around Auckland and me laying in the sand before I turned the feet bright red- the beach looks across the skyline of Auckland

I have only been in Auckland for less than 48 hours but I am completely in awe over it. The city is gorgeous! It reminds me a lot of Vancouver, just not as large and no large skyscrapers. I landed an hour earlier than scheduled thanks to some strong tail winds, which got me in just after 4 AM. By the time I passed customs and there intense bio-security screening (they do not allow fruit and vegetables and several other foods into the country due to possiblity of bringing in plant diseases) it was not quite 5 AM. I was able to get a SIM card for my phone and a NZ phone number from the airport and took the shuttle to the apartment. I was able to check in my luggage at the apartment that I have rented for the next 5 days while I am in Auckland, however, check in was not till 2 PM. So I had some to kill as it was only 6:45 AM Saturday morning. I ate some breakfast (several cups of coffee) walked around the downtown core, and booked a boat tour of the city. The tour was great and I got to see the city from their gorgeous harbor, the tour also made a quick stop on Rangitoto Island, which has a dormant volcano! 2 PM could not come soon enough and when I finally did get to go to the apartment I had been up for about 24 hours! (Sleeping on planes does not happen with me!) After a fantastic nap I checked out the Chinese Lantern Festival that is taking place this weekend for the Chinese New Year. Auckland has free WIFI in the downtown core which is has been great and they also have some really intersting public spaces. In the photo you will see large bean bags at a park for people to sit on! Last night I went out with some new friends and got to see how Auckland parties! They can serve liquor until 5 AM! I of course was in bed well before that :)

Today I fried my neck, arms, face and feet. It was a very cloudy day and I had been tanning for weeks before the trip, however, that did not prevent me from turning into a lobster after falling asleep on the beach at Devonsport (15 minute ferry across Auckland). Got my Aloe Vera, and I will be fine. I used a few groupons today at restaurants and had some fantastic curry and paninis. Groupon has been great for me when travelling as I tend to save at least 50% off on food, also gets me to try restaurants I probally would not have gone too.

Tomorrow is a national Holiday here in Auckland so I imagine it is going to be another crazy night out. Time to apply another layer of Aloe and get ready for the night!

Posted by anthonyfalls 22:03 Archived in New Zealand Tagged auckland sunburn rangitoto_island Comments (1)

San Fran!

747-400 Airplane

sunny 20 °C

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Ok! Just landed at SFO airport and suprise suprise it is about plus 20 degrees and SUNNY! Too bad the sun did not make an appearance when I was here last year in June. Also about 5 degrees warmer than it was then! Had a great flight from Edmonton. Sat with this really interesting lady and we chatted the entire 3 hour flight! She works for Air Canada and had some great stories.

Have about 4 hours to kill before I depart on this massive 747-400. I was able to get upgraded to economy plus on the way to SFO, sounds more excting than it is- just 3 extra inches of room, but still a very nice gesture. Don't think I will have any luck on this flight! Sitting in the third last row of this massive plane!

Off to go shop and grab a bite to eat at the Mexican Restauarant in the airport before the 14 hour flight!

Posted by anthonyfalls 16:44 Archived in USA Tagged air new_zealand sfo 747-400 Comments (0)

Why New Zealand?!

snow -1 °C

I have to be honest I had NO intentions to go to New Zealand. In fact, for several months before I booked my flight to NZ I was planning to go to Australia. I even purchased the 2011 Guide to Australia and applied for my tourist Visa. However, one day surfing YouTube I happened to see this short video created by the NZ Tourist Board. After watching it I knew I had to go to New Zealand!

Posted by anthonyfalls 19:52 Archived in Canada Tagged new zealand pure Comments (1)

Welcome to my Blog!

sunny 1 °C

Welcome to my blog about my upcoming trip to New Zealand. I am not sure if anyone is actually going to read my blog but a quick disclaimer- my grammer and punctuation skills leave much to be desired and as I will using my iPad to update this blog, be prepared for some horrific spelling!

I decided I would do a blog as I am travelling alone on this trip and if you know me you know how I love to talk! As I will not have access on my phone to text or instant message (Thank you Rogers for locking the iPhone to your network only) I thought a blog would be a great way to keep my sanity and share New Zealand with you guys!

I am off to New Zealand for 3 weeks, I depart Edmonton on Thursday February 2, 2012 and arrive back in Edmonton on Wednesday February 22, 2012. Besides a layover on the way in San Francisco and Vancouver on the way back home, I am going to visit several villages, towns and cities on both the North and South Islands of New Zealand these include- Auckland, Paihi, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin. I will be using trains, planes, ferry and busses to get around. I also imagine I will be breaking in my new runners! I planned a few day trips that will take me to the 2008 Travelers' Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor-Milford Sound, the spectacular Waitomo Glowworm Caves, a once in a life time opportunity to see Roxette perform and of course a few gorgeous beaches!

I hope you enjoy!

-Anthony

Posted by anthonyfalls 22:04 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

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