A Tour of New Zealand
Travelling from Australia to New Zealand is called going over the ditch. Queenstown airport is surrounded by snow capped mountains and Queenstown is on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.
The stunning scenery - the lake and the Southern Alps makes the area a popular tourist destination.
Today we went to Lake Te Ana-au, then on to a place called Milford Sound - a huge fiord surrounded by enormous mountains. We took a two-hour boat trip along the Sound. The weather was cold but sunny.
We saw four Fiordland crested penguins, fur seals and a kea - a pine coloured alpine parrot with red under wings. We also saw thousands of sheep and lambs.
We have been to Fox Glacier for a glacier walk. We went through the rainforest, crossing streams and gaps by means of a plank.
It is one of the few places in world where you can see a glacier through rainforest leaves. We climbed very high steps and sometimes had to hold on to a rope to protect us from the 150m drop on the other side!
Yesterday we went to Kaikoura on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. We went whale watching and saw three sperm whales. They only come up for 5-10 minutes of every hour, spurt water and dive back under again.
Dolphins were the highlight of the trip; they were very playful and swam under and around the boat - one did a huge acrobatic leap for us!
Rotorua on North Island is famous for thermal springs, geysers and mud pools. It is where the earth's crust is at its thinnest and so there are lots of thermal pools. We saw the largest mud pool in New Zealand which heats up to three hundred degrees centigrade.
There is a lot of seismic activity too and sometimes you can feel the ground shaking under your feet.
Later we went to a Maori village where we saw a Maori dance, known as a haka, and had a traditional Maori meal, a hangi. The Maoris are very proud of their hospitality and made sure we felt welcome.
We have come to the end of our tour of New Zealand and are returning to Australia. (2004)
WIZ information on New Zealand
Visit North Island (Te Ika a Maui) and South Island (Te Wai Pounamu).
Photographs: World InfoZone