Today we are traveling ‘Down Under’ to explore a country starting with the letter N.
I have had the opportunity to visit New Zealand on two different occasions.
The first was with my Mom and Dad when we went to visit my sister, Ruth, who was posted in Australia in 1986.
The second visit was 20 years later when I stopped in New Zealand to visit my friend, Judy, who was a teacher I worked with in Kuwait. I was on my way to attend an International Hand bell Symposium being held in Brisbane, Australia in August of 2006.
With Mom and Dad, we joined a bus tour and explored a bit of both the north and south Islands.
One of the highlights on the north Island was a stop in Rotorua.
We visited the Gardens and the Thermo pools at the Center in Rotorua.
My Mom loves birds and was delighted to see a Kiwi bird.
Kiwi birds are nocturnal flightless birds so this was a special treat to actually be able to see one. The kiwi is New Zealand’s national icon.
Māori have always regarded the kiwi as a special bird. They believed it to the ‘hidden bird’ of Tānemahuta – the god of the forest. Kiwi feathers were woven into beautiful cloaks, which were worn only by chiefs.
We also enjoyed eating the Kiwi fruit grown right here in New Zealand.
A visit to the Maori Center is a special treat too.
This picture taken in Jan 2016 shows Moari men crafting a Maori Wood carving. Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. Originally from Polynesia, Maori migrated to New Zealand over 1000 years ago.
In the South Island we traveled to the mountains. This is Cook Mountain. We had a free day while touring the area so I booked a day to go skiing. Unfortunately, the bus turned around and returned to the hotel. The ski hill was closed that day because it was a very wet and rainy day! I did go skiing in Australia that summer but I cannot say I have been skiing in New Zealand. I tried. Boohoo.
Another special place on the South Island is Christchurch. Here is a picture of the Christchurch Cathedral which I saw when I was there.
Here is a picture taken after the Earthquake on Feb. 24, 2011.
I found an article titled New Zealand to rebuild Christchurch Cathedral more than six years after deadly earthquake.
You can click on the link and read about the plans to rebuild this famous landmark.
I have many more stories I could share about New Zealand but I need to post this Traveling Tuesdays blog for this week now. This country has a special place in my heart. I have many friends who live there and I hope you will enjoy a taste of what awaits you should you ever have the chance to visit.