December 24, 2005

Ho Ho Ho

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everybody! I wish I could be with you all right now, it would make this day so much better. I promise never to be on the opposite side of the world from everyone I know on Christmas Day ever, EVER again! Love you lots, be merry and cheery, and take care over the season :) Love Pam

December 20, 2005


Windy Welly is definitely living up to it's name. On the South coast of the North Island, the city sits in between a narrow funnel that is created between the two islands. Also well known for having more cafes per person than New York, there are lots of smells to smell. Have spent a bit of time at the Film Archive, a basement full of NZ videos and dvds. Since it's free, it also attracts people with their own smells :( Watched "Heavenly Creatures" and "Rain", both great movies but end a little upsetting. Te Papa is the museum that I must go back to with a couple interesting terrace sculptures. Recovering from the puncture wounds of a badly behaved cat at the last woofers. P

December 13, 2005


And so I did get to go on the Whanganui River! Today I joined Fred in his little metal boat and we motored across the wide expanse of gray water. At the shore on the other side of the river, which is actually an island, the wet clay was exposed from the recent tide going down. It was slippery as I skated across or tried to pull my suctioned sandle if I stood a moment too long. Getting in was fun as the shore fell quickly and water was waist high before I climbed in the boat. While Fred chainsawed his wood, I amused myself by trying to throw mud into the entrances of holes the crabs had dug and then built towers out of rocks. Sometimes I must ask, is this really my life?! Wished I had brought my camera, but didn't, concerned the boat might tip and we'd be swimming. Instead, it rained, and then the water ran out and ended up dragging the boat to the other side and I tried to steer around the logs and repeating "right is left and left is right" all the way home.

Apparently there was an earthquake this morning. But not to be alarmed, it happens every few months! P

December 11, 2005

Blog Post Number 100!

And it continues to rain...

The Whanganui area is best known for it's canoe trips up the Whanganui River, which I have decided not to do since it will probably be very wet (in and out of the water). Instead, I can admire the wide water flow as it gets higher and lower with the tide, just outside Fred and Deb's window. Their home is comfortable with many ceramic mugs, large modern windows, lots of wood trim and delicious home made bread. Went to the community Christmas luncheon yesterday and ate some fresh salads and BBQ'd mutton. The chocolate brown dog ran around rubbing it's wet fur against our legs and the heavy rain fell. P

December 07, 2005

Tongariro National Park

Walked 17 kms across Tongariro Crossing, possibly NZ's best 1 day trek. Started off in a tshirt and sunshine with some threatening clouds. Passed piles of black pumice rock in interesting formations. Some covered with flourescent orange mosses which made me believe that colour is my main influence. It's so basic yet stands out and best describes everything I see. Climbed up the steep, rocky slope between Mt. Tongariro and Mt. Ngauruhoe. That's when the clouds turned to rain and the path turned to mud.

The fog looked very mystical, fading with each layer of rock and disappearing slightly to give us quick glimpses of what lay beyond. The second large accent gave me shivers from the harder winds and cold rain. Waited a few minutes and had a part in the clouds to see the enormous volcano that was looming above without us knowing. This is Mt. Ngauruhoe, also known as Mt. Doom! A very huge, dark volcano, perfect shape, snow capped and just BIG. The peak where we stood looked down into bright depths of red crator. Although, we could only see about 10 meters ahead and then total whiteness. A bit dissappointing but too cold to linger, slid rollerblade-style down the deep, black, sandy slope toward the Emerald Lakes.

The passing clouds gave way to magnificently green-blue pools below, unbelievable, especially under a gray sky. Walking forward but continually looking back, the sky began to clear and we could see the people still up top admiring a great view of Red Crater. Too bad for us, but already falling behind, had a quick stop sliding down a patch of snow, got a couple shots of a bit of red from afar and zig-zaged down through the tussock grasses towards the alpine forest. The grass is the only native grass of NZ, (the green stuff only came with the cattle) and it waves in soft clumps of green-gold-orange-yellow strands. I should have rolled in it, probably would have made the decent faster! To a great relief and achy joints, finally finished the walk after 7 hours, 20 minutes. P

December 06, 2005


Today I walked up to the Whangari River and was glad not to be one of the screaming freaks on the bungi. The blue was so brilliant way up on the cliff looking down, I really didn't need to see it inches infront of my face. The water is so clean and clear that you can vividly see the rocks many meters down from the surface. Walking along, there was a hot river, more views and thunder crashing in the distance.

Passed by the falls again to get on the path to Craters in the Moon. Even though it started to downpour, and I cursed every car that passed and didn't even try to slow down and offer a ride (not that I'd accept anyway!) it was worth it. Up on the hill was a field of wet flourescent mosses and colourful shrubs that contrasted awesomely from the white smoke and gray sky. Up close and far away, hundreds of lines of steam rose from the horizon. It was amazing to see so much live growth in an area so acidic with burning hot steam. The air was filled with sounds of hissing from the built up pressure in the ground. Quite a weird sensation of cold wind and rain in between the warm waves of white air. The boardwalk winded around the restricted, keep off, danger zones of hot holes and deep craters. One had erupted only 4 years ago and another noisily spurted mud and pumice that I could not see from the smoky interior. And a very sweet, New Yorker, honeymoon couple offered a drive to anyone heading back to town, yay!

Oops, sorry, a couple mistakes in my last post, but don't feel like dwelling on that right now :) P

December 05, 2005


Sadly left my new friends from the past few weeks to get on another bus and move into the unknown with unfamiliar people. I soaked myself until I could stand it no more, in the volcanic thermal healing waters at the Polynesian Spa. Walked around Kuirau Park Hot Pools that has holes of steaming water and bubbling mud. The slopping sounds were like a huge cauldron of boiling porridge. One lake now too hot to swim in called Lobster Pool, was named after the white people who turn red!

This is a city based solely off of tourism, ever since 1886, the largest eruption in world history. Mt. Tarawera spouted red lava 9.5 km straight up into the sky! About 120 people died, almost everyone living in the area. 2 beautiful formations called the White and Pink Terraces were completely destroyed and no longer exist. 5 plates go straight through the length of NZ and make it an entire country made up of volcanoes and continuously shifting land. The hot liquid still moves below and another eruption is bound to happen in the near future. Just passed an area that is known to have at least 4 earthquakes a day!

Saw the Art and History Museum which used to be a world reknowned Bath House which people would travel to from far and wide. The waters would cure aches and pains, attracting many men injured in World War 1. Found out boot polish was the first product to use Kiwi as an identity and it flourished from there. There is a shop full of books I wanted to buy on Maori tattoing, Rodney Fumpston prints, landscape photos...

The white haired men in white clothes played Bowls on the lawn. Steam rose in various places. I cooked lamb for the very first time, much better than I remember! P

December 04, 2005

Australia to New Zealand Photos

Originally uploaded by Art Journey.

Recent photos just uploaded on the rest of Australia and New Zealand! P