Monday, May 20, 2013

As Promised...

I told you I would share with you about our trip to New Zealand. I just didn't think it would take me this long.

So, back in the middle of January, we found out that John was on the short list of the guys selected to do the Deep Freeze mission (flying supplies and people in and out of Antarctica for 3 weeks, from NZ). Obviously, he should take his family with!! Right!! The only hang up was getting us there. We would have to fly commercial and pay for 2 tickets since Sydney is now required to be in her own seat (bummer). Well, anyway, we figured it out. On February 9th, Sydney and I boarded a plane, several planes, and flew from Seattle to LA to Brisbane, AU and finally to Christchurch, NZ, arriving Feb. 11th (Not sure what happened to the 10th).

 The Antarctica Center: Christchurch, NZ
This is as close as Sydney and I were going to get to this continent!

Our good friends Mike and Katie were also on the trip!

Visited Antarctica in flip flops and shorts.
 Akaroa, NZ
A little french town about 45 mins. from Christchurch, we drove down here for the afternoon. It was a quaint little town, but mostly it had amazing views!

Of course there were lots of sheep

Above Akaroa on a scenic drive

went for a short little hike

we thought about making this our home, but thought we might out grow it too soon
 Willowbank Wildlife Reserve: Christchurch, NZ
On one of the days that John had to fly, Sydney and I walked to this great zoo. As you can see, they have a little bit different rules than we do at our zoos.
Not too sure about this deer being out of it's pen

This wallaby is not too sure about having us in his pen

This is by far the ugliest pig I've ever seen, not sure I want to eat ham ever again!

little baby chicks

We did get to see the elusive Kiwi bird, but they are nocturnal and the habitat they were in was completely dark so I couldn't get a good picture. Very interesting creatures. Here is a picture of some Kiwi eggs.
 Queenstown, NZ
This was definitely the highlight of our trip. We drove about 6 hours to the other side of the south island to visit New Zealands premiere extreme adventure city! Not that we did any of the bungee jumping, para gliding, or sky diving, but we still had a great time. This was our main outing and we stayed here for 3 nights

The Church of the Good Shepard: historic church along the way

The church was nestled on this beautiful lake

We had to take the picture under the Air Force motto

Look what we found
Dinner with our fellow travel mates

The TSS Earnslaw: we took a cruise of the lake on this old steam boat

The Earnslaw took us to Walter Peak for a farm tour where we saw some animals and  a sheep being sheered

All that wool, from one sheep

Beautiful view of Lake Wakatipu

On our last night, we took the gondola up to the op for the mountain behind Queenstown. This is were they do a lot of bungee jumping and para gliding from.

Para glider

View from the top

We stayed through the sunset.

Hanmer Hot Springs: Hanmer, NZ
This was a day for Sydney, we went up to these hot springs, which was more of a water park.

Daddy looking studly!

She had this little slide to herself!
 Adrenaline Forest: Christchurch, NZ
This was a series of 6 ropes courses, the highest one goes to 20 meters (John did that one), I went to the second highest which was 17 meters, yikes!

Climbing up to get to the next zip line

Sydney enjoyed herself on the ground
Here's John crossing one of the challenges

Kaikoura, NZ
One of our last days we drove north to the beautiful beach town of Kaikoura. There we saw some beautiful views and the local fair!

Horse showing

Sheep sheering contest

And the tractor parade!

Christchurch, NZ
We did spend a day downtown, but much of it is still closed off from the 2011 earthquake
Downtown Cathedral

Canterbury Museum, still in good shape

Driving on the left side was definitely an adventure! 

we thought it was a bit ironic that these Kiwi's were from the US
Brisbane, Australia:
Sydney and I got to extend our little trip and visit an old college friend of mine who lives in Brisbane with her husband (and Aussie). We stayed for four days, caught up on old times, and saw a little of Australia
We took a City Cat (public trans) tour, as you can see we were fighting the weather a bit

Lindsay, Sydney, and Kristen

A true Aussie experience: vegemite
David was so proud of her for trying the vegemite and Milo, two Australian staples
We went to a Koala Sanctuary and Zoo. So excited that we actually got to see the mama koala carrying her baby on her back!


Getting up close and personal with the Kangaroos!

He wanted some food

Look who got to hold a koala bear!
Sydney wasn't too sure about mom holding that thing!

On our last day we drove through the pouring rain to Byron Bay were Australia's most easterly point is.