23 September 2009

All Blacks V Wallabies

Sept 19th I went into Wellington with a group of International Students to see the All Blacks play the Australian Wallabies! It was held at Westpac Stadium, which holds about 30,000 people and was nearly sold out! It was a great night for a game! We split up into 2 groups of 5. My group was situated behind one of the goals and 5 rows from the field. It was a great view! The first half was a close game, but in the second half the All Blacks beat the Wallabies 33-6.

walking on the field

Performing the Haka

Here is the full version via youtube. be sure to turn up your speakers! The volume is pretty soft.

The haka is a Maori dance generally used to intimidate the opposition in warfare. Today the All Blacks use it to intimidate their and rile up their opponents.

Here is a shot of the stadium

getting ready for the kick

yes, he scored!


calling it...

guess they didn't like the call!

but with a win over the wallabies, the all blacks secured the bledisloe cup.

Good Game!

Kaitoke Regional Park

On the drive down from Palmerston North to Wellington, a group of us girls ( Laura, Kirby, Stephanie and I) stopped at Kaitoke Regional Park which covers 2860 hectares in the foothills of the Tararua Ranges. Nearly half of Wellington's water is drawn from the Hutt River within Kaitoke Regional Park. The park contains nearly 2500 hectares of mature native forest, including beech, rimu, northern rata, hinau and kamahi. (80% of the plants and trees here are only found in New Zealand)

We opted for the 1hr Swing bridge walk. It is a loop trek over the Hutt River, through the rainforest and past the site where Rivendell, the home of the elves, from Lord of the Rings was filmed!

The weather didnt really co-operate with us but it was a great time nonetheless!

Upon entering the forest, we came across this massive tree! I thought it looked like Treebeard. These large trees were scattered throughout the rainforest! It was easy to imagine them coming to life since they all had such knarled roots springing up from the ground. A few were bent and twisted in odd shapes, and a few had holes big enough for a person to sleep in!

The trek itself was pretty mild, with a few jaunts up and down the hills.

Once we came out of the woods we were greeted with a lovely view of seemingly dead trees amongst the living.

Next we came into a clearing, only a few steps away from where the sign for Rivendell was located.

this is where a publicity photo of orlando bloom, as Legolas was shot...here is the actual poster shot:

Here is a shot of the Hutt River, where the Elves, Sam and Frodo sailed down in canoes. ( at least I think so...) It was pretty easy to see the resemblance of the area in person, more so than in the photos.


Wellington is the Capitol of New Zealand and has a population of 179,463 in the city and 448,956 including the city and surrounding suburbs. Wellington has been my favourite city to visit so far because you get the feeling of being in a large city without the hassle of crowds!

a good chunk of my day was waiting with a friend, Laura for the bus to take us up to Victoria Peak, which is seen in the top right corner of the photo. However, a lunch break and 2hrs later, we realized that the bus doesn't run up to the peak on Saturdays! so instead we parted ways and i walked the city for a few hours.

after getting lost for an hour trying to find the cable car, i eventually made my way to the botanical gardens for this great view of the Wellington Harbor.

On the way through the gardens i took a wrong turn again and ended up off the beaten track. Luckily i found my way down the hill and into the Lambton Quay-the shopping district.

The Spinning Top

I liked this cargo carrier because it looks like a robot.

After my jaunt around town, I met up with 8 other international students for dinner at a The Flying Burrito Brothers. The food was wonderful but the portions small. This was the first time the American's had Mexican food since coming to New Zealand. We were stoked to find it!

Taupo- Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park

The other day spent in Taupo, We went to Orakei Korako ("The Place of Adorning") Cave and Thermal Park. The 20 minute drive outside the city to the park left us feeling like we were alone on our very own volcanic island. Scenes from the BBC's "Walking with Dinosaurs" was filmed here.

This canoe ferried visitors to the park until the 1970s.

We were ferried across Lake Ohakuri to Orakei Korako and was greeted by the Emerald Terrace. It is the largest silca terrace in New Zealand and varies in thickness from 20mm-20meters and 35 meters under the lake.

This is the beginning of the trail.

This is the Rainbow and Cascade Terrace which was formed by an earthquake in 131 A.D. The hot water algae grows in the temperatures which reach up to 60C.

Danger signs were posted every step of the way! The crust is very thin in some areas and the water is usually boiling. Best to stick to the path!

The following are of the Artist's Palette

The Artist's Palette "Kei Runga Ite Mania" is the most unpredictable and dangerous spots in the park. the silca is as thin as 20mm, and hot water can be discharged from the springs at any time.

The Ruatapu Cave was the next place we visited. It was nearly impossible to take a photo from above looking into the cave due to all the vegetation surrounding the mouth of the cave. Once I was inside I was able to take a shot looking out.

Due to the low light and lack of tripod, i was only able to take these 2 photos while inside the cave. At the bottom was "Waiwhakaata" (pool of mirrors). The acidity and chemical composition gives it the ability to clean jewellery!

The Ruatapu Cave "Hiwa Nga Ana" (Hill of Caves) is one of two geothermally situated caves in the world. The other known cave is in Southern Italy.

"Kohua Pohuaru" (mud pools) form in places where the thermal fluids have chemically decomposed surface rocks to form clay. The clay is heated by the underground energy source and boiling mud pools are created.

This was my favourite part of the bush walk we encountered. In the middle of the photo you can see a fern-like tree, known as the Ponga. We tried to find a silver fern, but were unsuccessful.

steam rising in the valley of ponga trees.

The walk took about an hour, and was well worth the trip!

(information taken from Orekei Korako guide map)

Taupo- Hike from Spa Thermal Park to Huka Falls

During one of our days in Taupo, Kayla and I hiked to Huka Falls. We began at the Spa Thermal Park, which was only a 20 minute walk from our accommodation. The day started out promising with plenty of sun, however the clouds rolled in every hour or so. Luckily it didn't rain very hard or for very long. But it was a bit chilly, only in the upper 50s.

After walking through the park we made it to the beginning of the trail and were excited to be greeted with such beauty.

This is the The Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river. The path winds up and down the hills but stays close to the river bank. The walk is supposed to take 1hr one way, but we took our time and kept stopping to enjoy the views and do some exploring

The Waikato River

The Waikato River

Walking through the forest, we came across this magnificent tree! It was just to tempting, so i tried to climb it.

I didnt get very far, but it was fun to try!

We eventually made it to Huka Falls.

About 220,000 litres of water blasts by every second.

On our walk back to Spa park, we stopped at the hot pools!

At this point, the water was freezing! The hot pools are located under the bridge. It didn't take long to find!

Enjoying the natural hot tub was a great way to end the hike!

On the walk out of spa park, we stoped to gaze at a magnificent rainbow!

At some points we could see both ends of the rainbow! But we never found our pot of gold. too bad.