Most of the posts to this blog focus on the fun and exciting adventures we have experienced while on our trip. But, for this post, I thought it might be nice to describe the path of destruction we seem to have inadvertently brought to New Zealand.
As you have read in previous posts, we started our trip by visiting the wonderful little town of Mount Manganui. After we left that town we traveled to the Coromandel Peninsula and spent two nights there. Luckily I have gotten into the habit of turning on the news every morning, because on the morning of September 30th we found a tsunami warning had been issued. On the news they said a tsunami had struck Samoa and was heading our way. Our plan was to drive further up the coast, but armed with this new information we decided to change our plans and head inland to Rotorua.
We spent three adventure filled days in Rotorua and then headed to Napier. The route we took, went through Taupo and then on to Napier. The weather along the way was very rainy, even mixed with snow at times. We arrived in Napier in the early afternoon. That night we were watching television and saw that the same road we had just traveled was now closed due to heavy snow. The news commentator said that a freak snowstorm had hit the area and had dumped over a meter of snow on the road. Apparently over 700 drivers were stranded by this storm and the road remained closed for two days. Other than our Gannet Safari we spent most of our time in Napier doing inside activities. This was because it was so cold and rainy. The local people were telling us that this weather was very unusual for this time of year and added that we most certainly did not see Napier at her best.
After leaving Napier we drove to New Zealand's capital city of Wellington. We had a great time in Wellington. We visited the zoo, went to the Te Papa Museum, walked around the city, ate great food, evacuated our building due to a fire alarm, and experienced an earthquake. Yes, you did just read the words fire and earthquake. Let me explain. On our third morning in Wellington we were getting ready to start the day. I was cleaning up after breakfast, the kids were getting dressed, and Tami was in the shower. All of the sudden the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the building. So we walked down the stairs with dozens of other people and went outside. There were fire engines everywhere, but other than that the scene was pretty calm. After standing around for about 15 minutes it started to rain again, and as it was bitterly cold and windy as well we decided to go and get some coffee and wait it out inside where it was warm and dry. We never did find out what had happened. That afternoon after returning from the museum (where coincidentally we learned all about earthquakes) we were all relaxing when I heard Maya say, “What was that?” I was just about to ask her what she meant when I felt the whole building shake. We all knew right away that we had just experienced an earthquake.
Tsunamis, freak snow storms, unseasonably cold and rainy weather, and earthquakes. What else could happen? Well, I for one was hoping nothing because the next morning we were taking the ferry from the North to the South Island. Scenes from Titanic haunted my sleep that night, but we got up the next morning and got on the ferry anyway. I am very relieved to say that the crossing was uneventful and the South Island has been just beautiful, so far anyway.
Added Note (Oct 14, 09) : We were awoken last night at 11:30 pm by the fire alarm - again!