The Opera House is an incredible building. Like two shells rising from the bay, or at least from behind a set of stairs and gobs of tourists.
THE FORTIFICATIONS ON WHITIANGA ROCK
The Māori built huge trenches along the only way up the hill, and you can see the boring holes where beams were placed in the rock. They left shells in huge piles, or middens, now partially covered by earth.
FOREST TO BEACH ON THE COROMANDEL
We drove through beach towns and then entered the heart of the Coromandel: the Forest Park. We took a small hike through a Kauri tree grove.
WALK ALONG THE WHITE LAKE
Sulpher Lake is a large lake made of a thick, white color with choppy waves and little islands on which seabirds nested.
WE WOKE UP IN A VINEYARD
As the sun rose over the low green Marlborough hills, we marveled for a moment about how beautiful this place was.
SUNNY DAY IN THE TASMAN INLETS
We slowly paddled through Shag Harbour, a quiet maze of rocks and small islands that empties at low tide. It was perfect.
WEKA ACROSS THE TIDE FLATS
The tide flats were in our way - along with a small group of wekas, a few dozen crabs and millions of shells.
HIKING ALONG THE COAST TRACK
The Abel Tasman Coast Track was beautiful -- though every time we had to scale a head's steep switchbacks, we groaned.
DISCOVERING THE EDWIN FOX
For twenty years, Edwin Fox sat in Shakespeare Bay, partially submerged as the tide came in and out. The ship mystified me.
FERRY RIDE THROUGH THE COOK STRAIT
The sun was setting at the opposite angle as we approached Picton, the small town where we would rest for the night.
A DRIVE ON THE RIVER ROAD
We spent a few hours winding along the sunny road, stopping at overlooks and historic sites.
STEAM RISING OVER THE EMERALD LAKES
Across the wide plain near Blue Lake, looking back, we realized that the entire area was one massive lava flow: a stream of volcanic black rock.
ASCENDING THE SLOPE OF MOUNT DOOM
After a stroll by a mountain stream through alpine meadows, we took a steep ascent to the central crater: a vast plain between the two mountains. It was stark and beautiful.
A PRISTINE MORNING IN THE SHIRE
Our morning in Hobbiton was magical. We were the first ones in, so got to experience the environment without hordes of people.
GREEN ENVIRONS OF AUCKLAND
As the sun rose, we stopped through One Tree Hill, a park with a herd of sheep grazing alongside early morning runners and an old Māori pa.
GARDENS IN THE CITY OF BOATS
Our adventure in New Zealand was starting! A day in Auckland ended at the Wintergarden, a palatial-on-a-small-scale conservatory with some beautiful flowers.