The South Island of New Zealand -winter 2015/16 travel blog

We left Wellington on the 8th with 140km/h winds and flights canceled causing stranded air travelers. Since we were driving it was not an issue for us (except the car blowing around on the road:). We stayed that night at Wanganui - also spelled in the traditional Maori way of Whanganui. Except in Maori language a Wha makes the "F" sound so the two names are not the same pronunciation and you think you are going to two different places!! Wanganui has the mouth of the Wanganui River - goes 90 km north - and the key to settlements thriving in the central North Island in the 1800's and 1900's. Now it is a used for boat activities and paddle boats like the Riverboat Discovery (only much smaller and less well kept). We traveled 5 hours the next day (9th) to get to Hamilton, NZ - the fourth largest city in New Zealand. They have a very large Botanical Garden with nice roses still in bloom and lots of lawn/tree areas and a lake. It was very crowded when we went because it was a Saturday and a lovely day. We stayed in a one room "lodge" that overlooked the river and had a very nicely created board walk along the river banks - nice day all around but no pictures - I forgot my camera when we went to the gardens.

We arrived at Auckland yesterday afternoon. We are staying across the bay - literally - from the Auckland Central Business District (CBD) and a 10 minute ferry ride from our location to the heart of the city. We parked our car at the hotel and then boarded the ferry to head over and get Seth his 'hop on/hop off' card for using the ferry, bus, train systems of Auckland. It is an easy to use public transportation system - although not nearly as cheap as the OPAL system of Sydney - that one is amazing value for your money! We turn the car in this morning and wil be just using our feet or the transportation system until we fly out on the 14th. When we got to Auckland I started the reality check that we leave Seth here in 3 days and he will be in a country where he knows not a soul. He is looking forward to several more months, his mamma is tearing up when she thinks of it. He will do fine and have lots of adventures and I sure like the idea of him exploring here rather than South America! We are off to explore today and I'll take my camera!

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