Thursday, February 11, 2010

Whanau in Rotorua

Upon our departure out of LAX we met a friendly basketball coach from New Zealand who recommended that we stay at his sister's house as she was a couch surfing host. Sot thats how we met and stayed with the Courtney- Strachen family for a week while Corissa and I worked and studied. Throughout the week we had some amazing food and great experiences being accepted into the whanau. The most popular adventure was probably a visit to the local heritage farm aka a petting zoo and ufo simulator where I fed an ostrich pellets and grabbed a bull by the horns. The experience at the petting zoo makes it to our top ten man wagon adventures so far along with a visit to Whakarewarewa Village on Waitangi Day where we ate raw sea urchin (kina) and saw several maori cultural performances. The family was also kind enough to loan us their mountain bikes so we could rip it up in the Redwood Forest Park mountain biking mecca. We tried to repay our gratitude with an all american dinner of sloppy joes and corn on the cob. Its been a great week with an amazing family.

Afterward, we also managed to find our way to the beach in the wine country of Hawkes Bay - NO FREEDOM CAMPING ALLOWED! This means since the man wagon doesn't have a septic system in place (yet?) we had to get outta town. So we did some wine tasting, and left for the surf beach for a rainy days end.

will and corissa

Rotorua and Hawkes Bay photos

just another leisurely ride through a llama paddock
(photo by Dean Strachan)

some billy goat gruffs eaten out the hand
grab a bull by its horns

more cute little animals

ride carefully - there is pressured magma just underneath this boardwalk.

the sulphar flats of lake rotorua

this shwank place was once a hospital turned nightclub
and is now a museum royale

this is how you really roll at a bowling green

rippin it up at the redwood forests

redwoods mixed with jungles mixed with monster tall grasses
makes for one sweet riding environment.

the penny divers
will dive for spare change = the best wishing fountain ever

whakarewarewa village
after a volcanic eruption in rotorua, surviving maori sought refuge in this town where they continue to demonstrate their culture for visitors.

big redwoods : whakarewarewa forest

ck sporting a moko in the woods

looking up

wb on the run in the woods

where's steve with an rv when you need him?

freedom camping at its finest

101 barrels of wine on the floor...

mission estate winery

a real live carbeurator!
we still don't know why the engine is smoking...

having a look at ocean beach

ocean beach: surfs up bro gotta go

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Our first two weeks in photos!

our first sunrise

the man wagon in action

will's first adventure in auckland

piha beach held the world junior surf championships
maori once lived, fought, and died around the base of the rock in front
piha beach at sunset

the west coast of nz

east coast : cathedral cove

will's first tea and crumpets at the bee farm

picking red pears for room and board

the hives after use

getting around on the left side of the road

dinner at whangamata
our tent and our car could fit in theirs
(will sporting a fresh hairdo)

forest approach to opoutere beach

swell and storm coming in...
corissa has panic attack in water and is hit in head with wills board
debate ensues
beer and breathtaking views

...more to come...