A Travellerspoint blog

Our First Week in New Zealand

by: Tami

We left Seattle Wednesday night at 7:00 pm and arrived in Auckland Friday morning at 7:00 am. Although undeniably long, the flights really were not that bad. The Alaska Airlines flight had decent legroom and the Qantas flight had great amenities.

Upon arrival we rented a car and headed south. Jet lag hit in about two hours and we stopped in a lovely resort area - Mt. Maunganui. We really lucked out. The tourist information center set us up with a great apartment one block from the beach. Everything was within easy walking distance. We hiked to the top of Mt. Maunganui, saw heaps of animals, spent one whole day on the beach, and visited many of the nearby restaurants and parks.

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Next we headed up to Hot Water Beach on the Cormandel Peninsula. Geothermal activity here creates hot water which bubbles up out of the sand. Tourists flock from far and wide to dig their own personally designed hot pools. It was quite fascinating.

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This morning we awoke to news reports of a Tsunami Warning. We were originally planning to visit Cathedral Cove, a really cool beach where the second Narnia movie was filmed, but due to the possibility of a one meter tsunami wave we changed our plans and headed inland to Rotorua. Rotorua is one of the main adventure activity centers in New Zealand, so we're anticipating much fun and excitement.

Posted by RTMM 21:55 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Off Again

by Tami

Dorothy was right; there really is no place like home. We've all truly enjoyed our month back in Seattle. It was wonderful to reconnect with family and friends. And the girls have had great fun becoming familiar with their new schools. In fact, Madeline has enjoyed middle school so much that she would probably stay home if given the choice. But the wide wide world is calling. We're off again tomorrow to continue our adventure - destination New Zealand.

Posted by RTMM 05:13 Archived in USA Comments (3)

Coming Home

by: Ryan

It is hard for me to believe that the first part of our trip has come to an end and we are heading home tomorrow. At times it seems like we have been traveling forever and at other times it seems like we just left yesterday. There have been good times, bad times, and times that have been completely wonderful.

Before the trip began I had some concerns about the problems that would arise when a family of four is forced to spend every moment together for two whole months. As expected some issues did come up but even the bad times taught us something. I, for one, learned that I cannot control everything and at times the best course of action is to just sit back and let things happen. When traveling with 10 and 12 year old children, who are trying to become more independent, it can be difficult when they are forced to do absolutely everything with their family for an extended period of time. I will say that under the circumstances we all did a fair job of trying to respect each other's space and I believe that we will do even better on the next part of our journey.

We are not 100% positive where the next leg of our trip will take us, but New Zealand and Australia are on the top of the list. We visited Queensland, Australia in 2006. There are a couple places that we would like to see again but if any of you have suggestions we would appreciate you sending them to us.

Thank you to everyone who has visited our travel blog. For those of you who posted comments, I really enjoyed receiving them. It is nice to hear from the people back home when you are away for such a long period of time.

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Posted by RTMM 07:19 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

Double Digits

MAYA TURNS 10

by: Tami

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Maya entered the new world of double digits today! Yes, that's right, the big one-oh. This birthday was a little different, not only because of the leap to 10, but also because we were so far from home. To make Maya's day special: we had to stealthly make some purchases (which is rather difficult when you are together 24/7 - but Madeline managed to obtain a colorful poncho and some small condor, sheep, and llama toys), we improvised with decorations (a roll of toilet paper for streamers and a blown up plastic bag for a balloon), we went to cruise the artisan market for a special toy of Maya's choice (bear peeking out of her purse), and finally the birthday girl was able to choose the locations for breakfast (Cusco McDonalds), lunch (Inka Grill), dinner (Cuate Mexican Restaurant - for garlic bread), and a late night snack (back to McDonalds).

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Posted by RTMM 17:25 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Our Time in Machu Picchu

by: Madeline

Yesterday we got back to Cusco from Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu also know as the lost city of the Incas lays high in the Andes in Peru.
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Even when the Spaniards conquered Peru they never found Machu Picchu. After being abandoned for many years Machu Picchu was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham a historian and archeologist. Hiram hired a local farmer to guide him to he lost city.

But now to get to Machu Picchu you would have to take a two hour train ride from
Ollantaytambo or a slightly longer one from Cusco and then a 20 minute bus ride up a windy rode up the mountain. You could also take a 4 day hike on the Inca trail or a 2 day hike starting out on the train and then getting off to hike. My family decided that the 2 hour rain ride from Ollantaytambo was the best for us.
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We stayed at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge which is the only hotel up on the mountain with Machu Picchu. The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge and the las Casitas del Colca (Maya's best hotel ever) are run buy the same hotel chain- Orient Express.

On the first visit to Machu Picchu I found a swallow nest in one of the crevasses in the ancient walls.
The nest had least two chicks in it. When ever I took a picture of them they started cheeping and bobbing their heads up and down. I also found some viscachas.
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Viscachas look like rabbits with long tails. On the next visit my dad said that the first person to find a viscachas would get five soles. So Maya and I went on a quest to find the viscachas after of course making a deal that the first of us to find one would say that we both saw it at the same time. And so we set off for the spot where we had seen three viscachas the day before. After finding our way there and seeing that there were no viscachas we headed back to where our dad was. The only problem was that the path to get back to where he was had a lot more paths going off in all directions and we took one wrong turn and we were toughly lost. Now previously our family had made a deal that if we got lost all that we had to do was to go back to our hotel. Now that sounded great until we actually got lost and had no map and not a clue where we were. After about 10 minutes we found a sign pointing to a place that I knew about so we followed the signs and finally got to a place where we knew our way to the hotel from. On our way to the exit gate I heard my mom shouting my name. Machupicch..009_173.jpg
And as it turned our my dad had already found a viscacha so we got lost for nothing.

So aside from getting lost we really did have an amazing time a Machu Picchu. Plus I would recommend going there to anyone who finds themselves in Peru for any reason.

Posted by RTMM 12:47 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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