Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mom has arrived safe and sound. She was pretty tired as she was unable to sleep on the 12 hour flight. We didn't do much the day she arrived but have been touring around ever since. The day after she arrived we went to Russel and visited the oldest chuch in New Zealand as well as an old Caltheolic tannerty and printing shop. That was pretty interesting, they had a guide that demonstrated how to set type and print a page in very old printing press.

Yesterday we took a bus tour up to the very northern tip of New Zealand. We drove along 90 mile beach, the bus zooming along the beach as the tide was coming in. There were spots where fresh water streams emptied into the water and the bus would slow down and then plow across the water. I am glad we did not decide to take the car up there as I do not think Barry would have attempted some of the spots the bus went carooming by. At one point there were a couple of car skeletons that had gotten stuck in the sand on the beach and they were still there.

At the end of the beach we drove up one of the rivers and then we stopped and went sand tobaganning. The sand dune was really steep and I was a bit worried about flying down the hill. If it had been snow you would have been out of control going down the hill but the sand had enough friction that the sled did not go too fast and I had so much fun I climbed the hill twice.
We headed up to the northern tip of the country from there. There was a path down to the lighthouse there and you could see where the waters from the Tasman Sea collided with the Pacific Ocean. There was alot of upheaval and current in the water and I would not want to get my boat anywhere near there!!
We stopped off at several beaches and view points after that and ended the day at a shop where they made furniture and carvings from Kauri wood. These trees were logged extensively at the beginning of the centure so the wood they are using now has been found in swamp land that has been drained. The wood is as old as 45,000 years old. It is lovely strong wood that was used in ship building and making spars for masts, there are few knots in it due to the way it grows. There was a table and 6 chairs for $20,000 NZD!!!!!!! I would have to buy quite the house to put that in.
Today we are planning to go and look at the one of the oldest building in New Zealand as well as a waterfall and the mission buildings.