|2002 New Zealand
|What we've been doing - last updated February 09, 2002
We are back in Auckland where we started on Dec 11, 2001. From snowfields to surf beaches, it has been an adventure.
In the Southern Alps of the South Island, we visited the Franz Joseph Glacier. Unlike most glaciers, it is rapidly advancing despite global warming and has advanced one mile down the valley in the last decade. As well, it is the only glacier in the world that descends so far into the rainforest.
One of New Zealand's most popular one day hikes is the spectacular but exhausting "Tongariro Crossing". Over 40,000 hikers from around the world do this track every year. It is a ten mile trail over the saddle between Mt. Ngauruhoe and Mt. Tongariro. A tough 2400 foot climb over volcanic craters and lava flows reminded us of space movies with the steam rising out of the barren rock. The trail is marked with poles to find your way in the fog since there are no trees. The last eruption was in 1996 but the steam vents around red crater are still active. Bill thought it was fog until he bent down and found that it is hot and that it stinks. The track to the top of Red Crater is a scary knife edge but from there we had marvelous views of the Emerald Lakes that are water filled explosion craters. They are bright green colored due to minerals in the steam. What a scene! For some unknown reason, Bill once again picked the toughest trail n the National Park and it took us eight and one half hours to complete the crossing. It was worth it and anyone visiting New Zealand should not miss this walk.
We nursed our aching feet in the surf at Papamoa Beach near Tauranga. Bill worked on the web page from the back of the camper while Theresa ogled the hard bodies on surf boards.
We are preparing to turn in the camper and move into a hotel in Auckland where we will see an outdoor performance of Shakespeare's comedy, "Measure for Measure". Summer in Alaska and then summer in New Zealand has been phenomenal. We are not worthy but we are grateful.