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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'New Zealand'

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From Hamner Springs to Kaikoura, New Zealand‏

February 25th, 2010 · No Comments

Yesterday Graeme and I proceeded further north from the small resort at Hamner Springs to the slightly larger resort of Kaikoura. We drove through pastoral valleys and then down to the South Pacific Ocean at Kaikoura, a center of the country’s fishery and seafood industry.

Before we left Hamner Springs we took the obligatory soaks in the hot pools that are the reason for the town’s existence. The facility includes 15 pools of various sizes and types — everything from quite hot sulfurous water to cool swimming pools. Graeme and I went in four of the hot pools.

One of the Hamner Springs Pools

One of the Hamner Springs Pools

A Family that Bathes Together Stays Together

A Family that Bathes Together Stays Together

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Posted in: New Zealand

New Zealand’s Hamner Springs‏

February 24th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Graeme and I took the camper van north yesterday from Christchurch to the delightful little resort town of Hamner Springs. They call this “New Zealand’s Alpine Ski Village.”

En route we drove through the Canterbury Plains where we saw thousands of New Zealand’s famous sheep. This country has about 40 million of these wooly creatures and only about 4 million people. About 10 percent of New Zealanders are Maori.

A Few of New Zealand's Sheep on the Canterbury Plains

A Few of New Zealand's Sheep on the Canterbury Plains

We saw another domesticated animal when we stopped to get diesel for the camper van:

Dog

Dog

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Posted in: New Zealand

Camping and Tramping in New Zealand

February 23rd, 2010 · 2 Comments

After nearly 24 hours in flight and wait time I arrived yesterday morning in Christchurch, New Zealand. It’s summer here in the Southern Hemisphere, and I got a warm welcome indeed.

I left Ontario, California, on Sunday morning and got here on Tuesday morning after three flights that took me across the International Date Line.

In Ontario I visited my sister, her husband, and large family of her daughters and their families. I stayed with Curt and Julie, my niece I am closest to, particularly after she began to slow down and smell the flowers after a brain tumor scare a few years ago. Physically and emotionally she is better than ever, and we took a five-mile hike together in the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park. My niece Kathy hosted a get-together of the entire family, and 20 of us were able to meet (three family members had to work, one on a movie set and another who was on duty with the Los Angeles Fire Department). In fact, I met two brides and one fiancee of three of my grand-nephews for the first time.

After leaving Ontario I flew to San Francisco, where I caught the 13-hour Air New Zealand red-eye flight directly to the country’s biggest city, Auckland. The large Boeing 777 took almost 300 of us passengers across the Pacific Ocean.

Then I connected to a domestic flight to Christchurch, the only major city on the South Island, where I will vacation for more than a month. The South Island is New Zealand’s most scenic island, and Christchurch is where Graeme McIver lives.

Graeme is my host and new friend. And what a warm and welcoming host he is! Graeme is a very good friend of my best friend, John Dodson, who is currently the senior pastor of the United Methodist Church in Anchorage, Alaska. When I visited John there last summer we discussed my desire to visit New Zealand and he asked Graeme, a retired Methodist minister, to welcome me.

Graeme’s welcome was extraordinary. He is loaning me his Mercedes Sprinter camper van for the duration of my visit, providing me with both transportation and lodging.

Graeme and his Camper Van

Graeme and his Camper Van

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Yesterday Graeme met me at the airport with the camper van and drove me around beautiful Christchurch, a city of almost a million people. Then we had a delightful dinner and conversation with his frieyynd Robyn at her condo in town. Joining us were her teeen-age grandson Liam and two of the three exchange students from China, Japan, and Korea who are living with her now.

Last night I stayed in the camper van in a lovely campground. The summer, which had been wet here until a few days ago, is clear and warm. Now for a day or two Graeme and I will be traveling together in his camper van. While I am here I plan of taking several of New Zealand’s “great walks” or “tramps” as they call hiking in this country. What a delightful way to spend the winter, er summer.

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Posted in: New Zealand