To the West Coast of the Mainland (south island), New Zealand

Now we have been to a town fit for a QUEEN! Can you guess it’s name?

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Queenstown!

From Philip and Diana’s home in Oamaru (more on that later), we drove the 3 hours to Queenstown.

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It looks like a dream

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On the way we looked at the elephant rocks. It is hard to believe that it used to be under the sea.

IMG_0889They were sculptures of rocks piled high in the air. You stop and wonder, “are they really there?”

We got back in the car and went on our way. Next stop had a river with people on boogie boards gliding down the rapids in the currents. It is called river surfing. They had wetsuits on because the water was freezing- it was snowing in the mountains in the distance!

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After that we traveled through countryside with grapevines and orchards, after all, this is a big part of New Zealand. Am I right?

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An old gold mining town on the river and vineyards all around

Finally, we reached our destination, Queenstown. Awaiting us in the morning at our home stay was a very nice Australian couple from Canberra. Aeron braided my hair and I braided hers.

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Nice to meet you Aeron and Troy!

Down to the town we went. There was a line of creative mailboxes down the street and beautiful views of the lake, shiny and sleek.

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The mail must go through

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Queensland is a ski town with several ski areas – Yay!

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That wasn’t all, because on our way back we saw an activity that might give you a heart attack. A bungee jump that is way high up, on a bridge.

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This is where bungee jumping was invented back in the 1970’s.

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I wanted to go jump off that bridge, but I am too young to do it — you have to be 10-years old.

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This now brings an end to my unabridged story!

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Okay – abridged story!

Look for more from your world trek reporter.

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I get my doggie-fix whenever I can! I miss my dog, Powder; and friends, classmates, neighbors and grandma — talk to you soon!

Keep Calm and Travel Around the World!

Antartica — Very Cool!

Get your ski jackets on, cause we went to the Antartica Centre, in Christchurch, New Zealand. There are 12 countries who signed the original Antartica Treaty in 1959, which means that these countries will not build or hurt the wildlife in Antartica. They will only do research. There are now  52 countries who have signed the treaty.  There are 50 antarctic research stations set up now.

OMG - I am freezing!  The temp went down to 4C

OMG – I am freezing! The temp went down to 4C

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We did it!

You can view penguins that were rescued from the deep waters of Antartica. Some are partially paralyzed, some have been hurt by ships, and others were sick and they were given a home in the Antarctic Centre (notice the spelling of “centre”).

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Marty’s was found by a family on a beach in Dunedin – her left flipper is paralyzed.

IMG_0688 You can experience a typical Antarctic storm in the “storm room,” which is way below freezing! My leggings were not enough to protect my legs! So we put on antarctic jackets, and rubber boots that could grip the ice. IMG_0722 IMG_0706 IMG_0713 We rode in the “catmobile,” or rather, the Hagglund. This two car vehicle can climb steep, almost vertical mountains, go over 3 meter (over 3 yards) crevices, and float in water. It can travel through water like a boat and travel like a snow cat across the snow and ice. If it gets stuck in water, it can float for 3 hours, until someone comes to help. It was like a roller coaster! We rode up and down steep hills and on the side up to a 45 degree angle, and went in water, too. IMG_0681 IMG_0685 We also saw 4D movies – the fourth dimension is sensory, so there is water and wind that blows right at you during the movie. We saw highlights of Happyfeet and the Antarctic Excursion. It was a cool and freezing experience. IMG_0698 I got to stick my hand in antarctic salt water and see how long I could keep my hand in the freezing cold water. I made it over —— 45 seconds. IMG_0695

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Whew-Polar Bear Ice Dip for 45 seconds!

I stood on the north and the south pole melted ice, too. IMG_0707 We saw the U.S. headquarters the plane that travels to Antartica for research. The planes land in Antartica with skis instead of wheels! New Zealand is the closest country to Antartica and the flight takes four hours. IMG_0708 IMG_0709 While in Christchurch, we learned about the 2011 earthquakes. There was one where the epicenter was very shallow and right in the center of the city. It was the deadliest peace time disaster in New Zealand’s history and 185 people died. It damaged thousands of homes and businesses across the city. We learned that there were over 5,000 homes and 1,500 businesses ruined. We still saw many of the damaged and demolished buildings. It will take 20 years to finish rebuilding. Only 20-25% of the city is rebuilt after 4 years. We passed a memorial with many different chairs which represented each person who died in the earthquake which made me sad. IMG_0745 Stay tuned for more from your Jr. World Trek Reporter! IMG_0732 Stay cool & Keep Calm and Travel Around the World! P.S. A note to our my readers and followers…..the internet is slow right now because we are on the Great Ocean Road in Australia–more posts to come soon!

JAILHOUSE Rock, in Christchurch

Guess what? We went to jail today in Christchurch, New Zealand!  I didn’t do anything wrong and was put in a jail?! Ha-ha. It was a jail built in 1874 and was used up until 1999 as a jail for men. It is now a hostel where travelers can stay from all over the world. Last summer I toured Alcatraz and was nervous about staying in a prison, but it was nothing like Alcatraz.

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A hostel is like a hotel, except you only have a room to sleep in (or a bunk). You share a bathroom and a large kitchen with all the guests in the building.

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Warden Julia checked us in and we took mug shots.

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“Don’t mess with this prisoner!”

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Hedwig is in jail too.

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A family in jail together, stays together.

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In the kitchen, you get to see how people from all over the world cook their food. It’s a great way to get to know people.

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Prisoners have to clean too.

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I also learned the history of the jailhouse. The jail was still being used 16 years ago to keep the prisoners of Christchurch. At one point it was used as a women’s jail too.

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Some rooms were kept the same as it was when the prison was used, so you can see what they drew on the walls.  They also left some of the objects used by people who worked there, like a police cap or a doctor’s journal.

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Ollie was in jail too.

When you go to New Zealand, you really should go to this jail.

I guess I wasn’t that bad, because they let me out the next day to go to Antartica, so ——-

Stay tuned for more from your Jr. World Trek Reporter!

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Keep Calm and Travel Around the World!

Wow – Weta Productions, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

The second day in Wellington was all good with Nicki and Susan again. We had a full day touring the beaches, and saw funny penguin signs.

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Penguins are in the wild all over NZ!

Have you ever seen one of these in your country?

Have you ever seen one of these in your country?

Wellington is the place that Peter Jackson calls home, both for his house and his big film studio, WETA. If you are Lord of the Ring and The Hobbit fans, New Zealand is the place for you!

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King Kong

We drove through Hobbitown on our way to Rotarua, where they did some filming for the movies. And in Wellington, we visited a studio with actual props, costumes, and models.

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There was a scary documentary that described WETA’s history that will give you nightmares for the rest of your lives – I would say that nobody should watch who is under 12 years old. I had my eyes closed most of the time. Check out some of the cool photos.

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Lurtz

That evening, we went to a great Japanese restaurant with Nicki and Susan. I had yummy udon noodles with chicken.

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Like I said before, just like San Francisico, Wellington is a very diverse, international city, and is the capital of New Zealand. Special thanks to Nicki and Susan for hosting my family there! We had a great time!

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Stay tuned for more from your Jr. World Trek Reporter!

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Keep Calm and Travel Around the World!

All is Well in Wellington!

Hello again, from New Zealand!

On the road again, Lake Taupo to Wellington, NZ

On the road again, Lake Taupo to Wellington, NZ

Now we have visited our friends, Nicki and Susan from Wellington. If you are reading this, Nicki and Susan, we would like to thank you again for that delicious New Zealand Welcome Meal.

The meal included juicy lamb with roasted vegetables and a yummy dessert called Pavlova.

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Nicki and Susan told us that it is a dessert that is often served at Christmas. I did a little research and found that Pavlova was named after a Russian ballerina named Anna Pavlova. The hotel where she stayed while she was on tour created the dessert in her honor while she was on tour to New Zealand and Australia.

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If you have been to San Francisco, you can imagine what it is like in Wellington. Houses on lush green hillsides with a fog rolling in over the water into the city.

'Lovely' even with rain!

‘Lovely’ even with rain!

We went to the National Museum of New Zealand called Te Papa Tongarewa or Te Papa for short. It was an amazing museum!

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On the top floor there was all of the art work. There were amazing quits, sculptures and paintings made by the Maori.

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They also had a self-portrait area where you could sit down at a mirror and draw a picture of yourself.

Can you guess which one is my self portrait, hanging in the National Museum of NZ?

Can you guess which one is my self portrait, hanging in the National Museum of NZ?

The next two floors were the animal exhibits. It showed the world’s largest bird called the moa and its predator, the haast eagle. The moa is similar to an ostrich and is the world’s largest bird ever! It is endemic to New Zealand.

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Endemic is another new word I have learned which means only in New Zealand., or only in that particular country.

The museum also had the world’s largest squid called the Colossal Squid which weighed over 1000 pounds. The squid was in a case and it looked gross because it seemed like it was decomposing. I loved the whale skeleton. It was humongous!

From there we went on to another floor with an earthquake house, where you could experience an earthquake by standing in a house during an earthquake.  Speaking of earthquakes, there was a huge earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2011, where 185 people died and thousands of buildings were destroyed. That is where we are going next and I will learn more about what happened.

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Air New Zealand was celebrating their 75th Anniversary, too.

The final floor we looked at was about the Maori people of New Zealand and an immigration exhibit showing why and how people went to New Zealand. NZ was originally a British colony and they made advertisements to try and get people to move there to start a new life, just like homesteading in America. The trips by boat were many weeks long and brutal — some people didn’t survive, but they were looking for a new life in a new land!

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Stay tuned for more from your Jr. World Trek Reporter!

Fun with Kiwi Friends

Fun with Kiwi Friends

Keep Calm and Travel Around the World!

Cool Days, Hot Springs

A note to our readers and followers:

If you would like to enjoy videos on the last two posts as well as future posts, please be sure to click on hdworldtrek.com and not just open content from your email.

Kia Ore (hello, welcome, goodbye, have a safe journey in Maori) everybody!  While we were getting ready to go from Rotarua to Lake Taupo, we had another time change — we did the fall behind for Easter, instead of the spring ahead!  Really weird!

The geo-thermal system of the NZ island(s) is amazing!

The geo-thermal system of the NZ island(s) is amazing!

We have had a wonderful time in Rotarua, New Zealand!  Guess what? We got to see a waterfall and swim in a hot spring in a river! On our way to Huka Falls, in Lake Taupo, we stopped for a lunch right next to a river with a moon-like rock on the other side. It was awesome! I never thought ducks could swim in hot water, but they can. It was tempting to go in. I wanted to swim in it, but I remembered we would swim in a hot spring later.

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After a long time of driving, we reached Huka Falls. They are amazing! Since the current is so strong and the space to go through is so narrow, it creates so many bubbles in the water that it turns light turquoise.

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The waterfall crashed down on the water below making endless splash waves.

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Walking the hike was great, too.  There were many cool looking trees everywhere and interesting bird calls echoing through the forest. After the hike came the awesome hot spring.

Hot meets cold, and we meet friends!

Hot meets cold, and we meet friends!

When you look at the water, you think, “This is going to be freezing,” but once your toe skims across the water, you realize, “This is a hot tub!” I didn’t want to get out, but I knew we had to go. These natural spot springs come from a hot steam that flows into the Waikato River.  The hot steam is created by the geothermal activity bubbling away underground.  I didn’t know what geothermal activity was until this trip, did you?  Geothermal activity is the transfer of heat from deep in the earth to the surface of the earth. Hot pools happen because of hot water or steam heating the groundwater.  There are not many places on earth where this happens, so we were lucky to experience it.  Does anyone know another location on earth where there is geothermal activity?

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Beautiful! And the Hot Springs, too!

EZ 2B NZ!

EZ 2B in NZ!

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The house that we would be staying at was owned by an Indian and German couple. It is sort of interesting to think that two people from different countries found each other in New Zealand! They had a beautiful sheepdog who would catch any ball or stick you threw to it. They were also taking care of a black lab who always wanted you to pet him.

That was what we did in Lake Taupo. Look soon for more posts from your Junior World Trek Reporter

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Keep Calm and Travel Around the World

Native New Zealand

Now we have experienced the true New Zealand! We went on a Maori tour.  These are the native people of New Zealand. The village is owned by two brothers who had a dream to portray their culture to people from all over the world.

Entrance to the Maori Village

Entrance to the Maori Village

IMG_0419 Once we got to the village, there was a funny challenge of people with warriors spitting on the ground, sticking their tongues out, and making hideous grunting sounds. It’s a welcome ceremony called Pohiri.  The tribe wants the first impression to be scary, just in case the other tribe does not come in peace. The Chief of the Village The Chief of the Village It was very funny, but we could not laugh or smile during the ceremony because it would have been disrespectful of their culture. Once the peace offering was made by the chief, we (the accepted visitors) were escorted into the village. Each hut had carved symbols of people made of wood and paua shells.

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Beautiful hand-carved huts

IMG_0451 IMG_0458 They all represented something, such as warrior training. At one of the huts a warrior taught us about their tattoos. It is a very painful process back in the day. One side of their face is dedicated to their mother and the other to his father. We played some of the native family games and practiced some warrior training activities, too. IMG_0434 IMG_0441 IMG_0454 Before we ate, the Maori performed dances and sang songs in their language. IMG_0483 IMG_0476 https://youtu.be/ZpR2WRBCCmA Our dinner was wonderful. All the food was steamed underground in a oven.  It was delicious, though I think I ate too much.

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You can see the steam coming from the underground oven

We enjoyed NZ Lamb, chicken, mussels and tons of veggies

We enjoyed NZ Lamb, chicken, mussels and tons of veggies

I met a friend from Munich, Germany. Her name is Malu. She and her family were traveling around NZ in a camper (‘they say “campa” here) for four weeks! IMG_0487 This was the end of the tour. I wish it was longer! IMG_0463 Look for more on New Zealand from your WorldTrek reporter soon! IMG_0460 Keep Calm and Travel Around the World