New Zealand Travelogue

It’s been a busy week preparing for the release of Bad Behavior on 3-8-11 (check back around then for giveaways and interviews on Jessica Subject’s blog) and I’m finally getting a chance to share my trip with you.
My college roommate / swimming teammate Maggie now lives in Dunedin, and it was great catching up with her to celebrate our birthdays. Since I only had one week, we stayed on the south island.
First we started in Dunedin, on the southeast coast. It was the end of their summer and temps were in the 60’s for the most part. Maggie is a champion racewalker/mountain biker and I knew I was in trouble when I saw the pace she set for our first hike around town.
Dunedin boasts the steepest street in the world: Baldwin Street. And just about every other street we walked on felt about as steep!
We went to a farmer’s market where I snapped sexy veggies pics. We also visited the historic Dunedin Railway Station. There’s Maggie!
The Dunedin Botanical Garden was another stop along the way. I kept seeing these funky orange flowers everywhere so I had to get a shot of them.
Next we roadtripped to Wanaka, a small town founded in the Gold Rush of the 19th century that sits on the gorgeous Lake Wanaka. There, we hiked up Mt. Iron and were rewarded with some beautiful views:
It seemed like mountains cover most of the south island! Moutains and lakes.

We then traveled to Queenstown: the Adventure Capital of the wold, home of bungy jumping. Naturally we had to watch.

I tried to upload a bungy jumping video here but it took too long so you can see the video on Facebook.

In the video the guy’s practically naked. What you can’t see is that he has an eyeball tattooed to each butt cheek. Definitely an attention-seeker.

Maggie has gone skydiving before but I’m content to sit back and watch the crazies.

Sadly, we were watching skydiving when the devastating earthquake occurred in Christchurch, which claimed over 200 lives. We were very fortunate not to be in Christchurch at the time, and I pray for the residents (“Canterburians”) to heal from the tragedy. When I went through Customs on my return to L.A., the agent said that some travelers came through carrying only their wallets because their hotel had collapsed in the quake.
Here I am with Maggie in Queenstown. We also visited a winery, had an indulgent sushi birthday dinner, went for a swim at the Queenstown Aquatic Center (seemed like old times), and got massages. My legs were quite sore by then but Maggie wants me to tell you she wasn’t the Whip-Crackin’ Slave-Driver I’m making her out to be. 😉
You may notice that it’s cloudy for the most part. That changed when we traveled to the fjordlands for the most beautiful part of the trip.

It got very nice and sunny as we made our way to an overnight cruise on Milford Sound. First we stopped at Te Anau. Lake Te Anau is the second biggest lake in New Zealand.
Wow! I was drooling, wanting to go for a swim, but I’d need a wetsuit in those crisp waters. The drive to Milford Sound and the cruise were simply stunning.

This mountain was known as “Lion’s Head”. The only thing I didn’t like was the presence of “sandflies”–an evil, smaller version of mosquitos. The plentiful bites are still itching me ten days later–too bad we forgot the bugspray.

Fortunately the little creeps were drowned out when we awoke the next morning to teeming rain, springing many waterfalls to life:

After the cruise Maggie drove us 5 hours back to Dunedin, where we spent my last two days walking on the beach and hiking down to “Tunnel Beach”.

Overall it was such an incredible trip! I think the best part was the opportunity to catch up with Maggie and see what her life’s like now. What a perfect location for my adventurous, spirited friend.

I hope you enjoyed my recounting of the trip. Well worth it!

17 thoughts on “New Zealand Travelogue”

  1. Gorgeous pictures! My husband has always said this needs to be on our list of travels. Crazy you were there during the earthquake. Horrible about the people losing everything!Thanks for sharing.


  2. I'm not sure what else is on your list, but I think your husband's right that NZ needs to be on it! It was pretty crazy being there during the quake. I guess that NZ sits on many fault lines, like California.


  3. I plotted the beginning of a YA fantasy in the prehistoric fjordlands of South Island New Zealand. It has always been a dream of mine to travel to New Zealand. Thanks to these beautiful photographs, I have made a cyber-visit! Have a lovely weekend, Roland


  4. Wow, that setting would be amazing for a YA fantasy. I neglected to mention the Maori influence in the country and it's particularly strong there. Thanks for stopping by, Roland.


  5. Fabulous pictures! I'm like green with envy! *writes down 'visit New Zealand' on wish list* It's so beautiful! I'm glad you had so much fun and thanks for sharing your wonderful experience!


  6. YAY!! So glad you enjoyed your trip 🙂 and very, very glad you weren't in Chch – did you feel the quake much? Next time you have to come visit me in Wellington so I can show you more fabulous scenery *grin*The Arrival, on Amazon nowwww.damselinadirtydress.com


  7. Nicole, does Wellington get much sun? I was a little sun-deprived but it was bright and warm in Auckland during my layovers, so I was wondering about the rest of the north island. We didn't feel the quake in Queenstown but apparently Maggie's boyfriend did in Dunedin. I'm guessing you didn't feel anything in Wellington? (Do they call it Wellie?) 😉


  8. Wow, Jen! Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us! Now I TOTALLY want to visit New Zealand ……….to photograph vegetables, of course! 😉 Such a stunning environment.“…but Maggie wants me to tell you she wasn't the Whip-Crackin' Slave-Driver I'm making her out to be. ;-)” *can see the Whip-Cracka hovering menacingly over Jen’s shoulder as she typed that*Marilyn tipped me off…. to listen to your voice! 😮 *speechless* You sound so… I don’t know what I thought you sounded like… *struggles to find words that don’t sound insulting / as though I thought your voice would be awful* …you sound so lovely! 🙂


  9. Of course the highlight of a New Zealand trip is photographing sexy veggies! Stunning is a great word for the countryside. My biggest disappointment is I forgot to watch the toilet flush in the opposite direction. *stomps foot* I was so fascinated by the two flush buttons which we don't have in Ohio.Maggie wasn't too pleased by my characterization of her as the fastest walker ever, but if the shoe fits . . . ;)Aw, thank you. My voice might have been slightly lower than normal in that video due to the cold that never leaves. I'd love to hear your voice one day too.


  10. You've never seen a dual flush toilet?? *Well, of course: American = Destroyer of Environment* 😉 (it saves water)Perhaps I should make a video of my (dual flush) toilet flushing… and talk you through it! 😛


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