Here are the pictures and videos I took from the New Zealand portion of my 2013 Pacific Rim trip. Pictures are below; click on any of them to start a full-screen slideshow of all of them. Below them are the videos; click a video to start it.
The picture I took as soon as the use of portable electronic devices was allowed on takeoff from Cleveland. New Zealand here I come!
LAX was the stopover airport enroute from Cleveland to Auckland, my New Zealand destination. Los Angeles is neat to visit, but speaking as a former resident, it’s nice not to have to live there. :)
The aforementioned window control knob. I loved the idea of a motorized hotel window. :)
New Zealand currency. Like the currency of most other countries, its paper money is differently sized based on value, to help the blind. I wish the US did that.
Welcome to downtown Auckland! As the home of the first commercial bungee jumps, New Zealand has a lot of jumping opportunities. This is a two-bungee, multi-passenger catapult (so you start from ground and are launched up) ride right next to my hotel.
This is downtown Auckland, from the waterfront. A triathlon was just finishing up when I got there; the cones marked the bike path.
The Queen’s Wharf. This is basically downtown Auckland’s border with Freemans Bay, just north of it. The wavy structure is The Cloud, originally built to house sports fans.
This is the working portion of Auckland’s harbor. Busy!
My first cultural stop in New Zealand was the Auckland Art Gallery. This is its sculpture terrace; it’s art you can rest on. :)
This was a particularly photoworthy floor sculpture at the Auckland Art Gallery.
Another interesting sculpture at the Auckland Art Gallery. The word in each successive tile is formed by changing one letter of the word in the previous tile.
One of the hallways at the Auckland Art Gallery.
A cubical room in the Auckland Art Gallery whose interior walls, floor, and ceiling were reflective. One has to take off his/her shoes to enter.
A shot of the ceiling of the cubical mirror room at the Auckland Art Gallery. I had such fun in that room. :)
Auckland Art Gallery: sometimes a museum’s architecture is as interesting as its artifacts.
Auckland architectural juxtaposition: St. Paul’s Church, the oldest in Auckland, next to modern hi-rises.
The walking route between two attractions just happened to be through a very photogenic park, the Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest.
Auckland Domain. This was a very lovely park.
The forecourt of the Auckland (War Memorial) Museum, its New Zealand/natural/war history museum. The museum is behind the shot: this looks north toward downtown and Freemans Bay.
This is the view from the Auckland Museum’s forecourt looking NW, back toward the Auckland CBD. Poking above the horizon is the Sky Tower, the city’s observation/telecom tower.
This is the foyer of the Auckand Museum. On the left is Hotuni, a Maori meeting house.
Auckland Museum: an outrigger canoe of the type used by the Maori, New Zealand’s indigenous people.
Auckland Museum: one is requested to remove one’s shoes when entering the meeting house. I did so. :)
Auckland Museum: the interior of Hotuni, the Maori meeting house.
Auckland Museum: migration patterns of the indigenous Pacific islanders.
One of the Auckland Museum galleries devoted to the New Zealand Wars, between European settlers and the indigenous Maori people, fought 1845-1872.
Auckland Museum mummy exploded view: what a great way to visualize the various layers.
A very large, and very alive, eel at the Auckland Museum. I was glad that it appeared to have little desire to escape.
A ten-foot tall life-size replica of a moa at the Auckland Museum. These flightless birds were hunted to extinction by the Maori in the 15th century.
This huge crab was in a pool underneath a glass-bottomed walkway in the Auckland Museum.
Jars of preserved animal parts, colorful yet macabre, at the Auckland Museum.
The Sanctuary at the Auckland Museum, dedicated to the city’s WWI fallen soldiers.
The Hall of Memories at the Auckland Museum, dedicated to those of the city who were killed in WWII.
A plaque in the Auckland Museum’s WWII Hall of Memories.
A WWII British Spitfire fighter at the Auckland Museum.
Auckland Museum: a Japanese Zero WWII fighter.
A very pretty treelined street in Auckland.
The marker at the top of Mount Eden, Auckland’s highest point, at 643 ft above mean sea level.
Mount Eden is a dormant volcano; this is its cone.
The entrance to Auckland’s Stardome observatory and planetarium. WITNESS the GATEWAY to SCIENCE!
Stardome has a small museum portion; this is its rocketry section.
Walking back to my hotel from Stardome, I happened upon this scene. With a tripod and far more expensive camera, this might have been a great shot. :)
A closeup of Auckland’s Sky Tower at night.
The first stop on the hop-on/hop-off bus tour of Auckland I took was Bastion Point, a former military lookout.
This is Waitemata Harbour, just north of Auckland. I can see why someone would want to build a city here. :)
Auckland’s Okahu Bay. Those are some very expensive houses in the background. :)
Part of a recreation of Robert Falcon Scott’s hut during his Antarctic expedition, at Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE aquarium, Auckland’s main aquarium.
Feeding time at Kelly Tarlton’s aquarium. One human surrounded by waddling penguins was almost unconscionably cute. :)
Part of the underwater viewing tunnel at Kelly Tarlton’s aquarium.
Some sort of spiny/puffer fish, at Kelly Tarlton’s aquarium. Alas, I can’t find the species name.
An octopus (and its reflection) at Kelly Tarlton’s.
Spiny seadragons at Kelly Tarlton’s. Interestingly, it’s the male of this species that gives birth.
A WWII (anti-aircraft?) gun near the entrance of the Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland’s main museum of technology.
MOTAT: a cutaway of an automobile, with each of its major systems color-coded. What a great learning aid.
Vintage New Zealand automobiles at MOTAT.
Auckland will be getting new electric trains. MOTAT had a mockup of a car; this was its cab.
MOTAT: the interior mockup of Auckland’s new electric train. Newfangled!
The control area of Auckland’s Pumphouse, which supplied water to the city in its early years. The controller sat in the chair in the center and operated the machinery around him.
A closeup of the Pumphouse control area, managed by manipulating the valves around the chair. This is where the magic happened. :)
Coal-fired steam engines of MOTAT’s Pumphouse. Its donation became the seed of MOTAT itself. The machinery is still operational, and demonstrated weekly.
An early steam engine at MOTAT. The circle in the middle is an impressively large flywheel.
MOTAT: an early Auckland electric tram car.
MOTAT: planning a museum, and don’t have enough space in your hallway for both a race car and walkway? No problem, just turn the car on its side! :)
MOTAT: New Zealand passed a law in 2009 allowing the cars of repeat boy racer offenders to be confiscated and crushed. This was the law’s first victim. :)
The Meccano Differential Analyser No. 2 (1935), a mechanical computer designed to solve differential equations. This is the only working model in the world.
MOTAT: an early telephone switching unit, still operational.
The interior of the early/mid-20th century tram that transports people between the various parts of MOTAT.
The entrance to the Aviation Display Hall at MOTAT. Aircraft, baby!
The MOTAT’s Avro Lancaster MK VII, a British WWII heavy bomber.
MOTAT’s De Havilland DH 104 Devon. This one was used by the Royal New Zealand Air Force in various roles from 1953 to 1981.
MOTAT: a poster on Leo and Vivian Walsh, who in 1911 became the first to fly an airplane in New Zealand.
MOTAT: a poster on Jean Batten, a famous 1930’s NZ aviatrix. Among other accomplishments, she made the first solo flight from Britain to NZ in 1936.
MOTAT’s Short S.45 Solent Mark IV, a mid-20th century flying boat, used in NZ until 1954, undergoing restoration at the time of the photo.
After MOTAT, I went to the Auckland Zoo. This is one of their cafes, so appropriately named I had to get a shot of its facade. :)
A New Zealand dotterel at the Auckland Zoo. These birds are small and, well, flighty; I had to make multiple attempts to get this shot.
An Auckland Zoo spotted cormorant (shag), which dives for its food.
A Campbell Island teal at the Auckland Zoo. Until recently, these flightless birds could only be found in the Campbell Islands, hundreds of miles south of New Zealand.
A tuatara at the Auckland Zoo. These lizards don’t have ears, but do have *partially functional third eyes* in the middle of their foreheads.
A complete view of one of Auckland Zoo’s aviary airlocks. What an interesting idea!
A New Zealand brown teal, native only to NZ. Its population was significantly decreased when humans arrived on the islands; efforts are underway to increase it.
A cabbage tree at Auckland Zoo, so named because to the Sail Age sailors who ate it to prevent scurvy, it tasted like cabbage.
A puriri tree at the Auckland Zoo. The puriri moth, New Zealand’s largest, burrows inside these trees during its caterpillar stage, living there for up to five years.
Auckland Zoo New Zealand shovelers, so named because they drag their bills through water, then use their bills to strain out what isn’t food.
I believe these are New Zealand shovelers, New Zealand grey teals, and banded rails, but honestly, this shot is all about the scenery. :)
Auckland Zoo white faced heron. This was an easy shot to get; these birds will sometimes remain motionless, stabbing at food with their beaks when it approaches.
A closeup of one of the Auckland Zoo’s extinct species markers. I’m sure it’s no accident they resemble gravestones.
The Auckland Zoo had multiple markers with names of extinct species. Sad, but important to note, to my mind.
The Auckland Zoo had areas where you could walk among its highly photogenic scenery. :)
One of Auckland Zoo’s wekas, a fast-running flightless bird native only to New Zealand.
One of Auckland Zoo’s keas, known for their cleverness and playfulness. Unlike the other birds there, this one made no move to escape when I approached. This was as close as I dared get; that beak looked very sharp. :)
A life preserver near Auckland Zoo’s hippo pool. Safety gear is only installed if it has the potential to be used; I wonder how many have gone for inadvertent or intentional swims with such aggressive, gargantuan beasts?
Greater flamingos at the Auckland Zoo, engaged in activity as opposed to frozen, and plastic, in someone’s front yard. :)
Springboks at the Auckland Zoo, known for “stotting” when threatened: leaping into the air, where all 4 feet leave from and return to the ground simultaneously.
A giraffe at the Auckland Zoo, enjoying an ostrich-free evening meal. :)
This was the shot I got of Sky Tower just before I went up it. The wide circular ring near the top of the shot is open; you can pay extra to make a tethered walk on it, or bungee jump off it.
The glass-floored portion of Sky Tower’s main observation deck. Below my feet are 1.5″ of glass, then 610 ft of empty space. :)
The vegetarian smoothie I got with dinner after Sky Tower. It tasted as good as it looked. :)
Auckland has a very mild (but rainy) climate, so the storefronts are often open, but with large overhangs.
New Zealand has so much natural beauty far from cities that the tourism guides recommend just renting a car. This was mine.
This was my first time driving a car from the right side, so I had to get a shot of it. Ladies and gentlemen, there are no mirrors; this is not a trick! :)
I’ve missed driving a stick since I got the Prius, so I made sure to request one in NZ. It was a lot of fun, but along with driving on the right, I had to get used to reverse being in a different location on the gearshift.
My first stop outside Auckland was to Tutukaka, to scuba dive at the Poor Knights Islands, considered the best diving in New Zealand. This was our dive boat’s harbor.
On the way from Tutukaka to the Poor Knights Islands.
The bridge of the scuba dive boat.
The clouds and sea were being very photogenic for this portion of the trip. :)
We dropped anchor to begin diving very close to the islands; this was the view from the boat of the edge of one of them.
Another view of the Poor Knights island beside which we first dove. The name itself may have come from the Islands’ resemblance to Poor Knights Pudding, a popular dish when Europeans discovered the islands.
We did two dives; after the first, they moved the boat inside of this cave. It was certainly one of the more exotic locales at which I’ve eaten lunch. :)
The cove from which we started our second, afternoon dive. The nearby island had many underwater inlets and caves; we were able to enter some of them during the dive.
This was a view from the road on the way back from Tutukaka after the dive; it was so pretty I had to stop the car and grab this shot.
The chairlift transfer station at Mt. Ruapehu. The lift system is used for skiing in winter; Ruapehu is a popular winter sports destination, when it’s not, well, erupting. :)
The ski lodge at the top of the lift on Mt. Ruapehu. Really, though, it looks more like the view from a Mars colony base.
The markers of the trail I took were 2×2’s nailed to rocks using metal L-brackets; erosion and the lack of vegetation made normal trail paths and tree blazes useless.
Views like this are why Tongariro National Park is on the UN list of World Heritage Sites.
The word I kept coming back to standing here was “otherworldly”; as if I were somehow on a completely different planet.
My last shot of New Zealand, as my airliner departed the country. So long NZ; I shall return!
The Chateau Tongariro Hotel, a popular hotel at Tongariro National Park.
Part of the terminal at Auckland Airport. A *good* photographer could take that complex interplay between subjects, lines and curves, and light and shadow, and make the pic wothy of them. :)
This was the airliner I took from NZ to Australia. It was my first time flying Emirates; they won Airline of the Year in 2013, and at least based on my flight, deservedly so.
I just happened to get to my hotel near the end of a triathlon.
The Auckland Art Gallery’s Flower Chandelier. Made of fabric, plastic and metal, the flowers bloom and contract over time. The installation is large; at least 20′ in diameter.
Only the plate at the very bottom vibrates; the ring is large and thin enough that it moves simply through resonance. The plate switches on and off; when it was off (I didn’t know about the plate at the time) I put my head in the center and hummed a resonance frequency to see if I could make the ring move just by doing so. The plate started soon after, so when the ring really started moving I thought I had caused it, and was worried it would roll itself apart. I ran to get a staff member, but they just smiled and said it was supposed to do that. :)
My walking route took me past this field; it was such a lovely time and place I had to get some footage of it.
A 360° panorama at Mt. Eden, at 643 ft the tallest natural point in Auckland.
Penguins at Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE aquarium. Their underwater speed and maneuverability is quite impressive.
A shark glideover at the Aquarium’s under-tank tunnel. I took a lot of footage in hopes of getting something that adequately communicated the coolness of standing in a transparent tunnel and looking up at sea life; I think I succeeded. :)
This was from a smaller tank at the aquarium, designed to be seen from the side instead of below. Again, I waited a while to get a clip showing its coolness. :)
The Aviation Display Hall at the Museum of Transport and Technology.
A 360° panorama at Sky Tower, 1076 ft above mean sea level. The clip starts with the view looking northeast, and ends with the view looking north.
It was getting late when I finally made it to Tongariro National Park, so I took the lift instead of the much longer-duration trail. My two main thoughts on the way up were: “If I get a freak leg spasm that straightens them out, I’ll slide right between the seat and bar, and that’ll be the end of me”, and “Don’t drop your phone!”. :)
A 360° panorama most of the way up Mount Ruapehu, at 9176 ft the tallest natural point in New Zealand’s North Island. The clip starts and ends pointing north toward Mt. Ngauruhoe, the other major peak at Tongariro National Park.
I could still ascend above the trailhead where the previous video was taken, so I did so; this was as far as I could go without climbing gear. I was at the level of the clouds here; I watched them dissipate around me as they reached the mountain.
On my way down the trail at Tongariro, I stopped to film the sunset. Alas, the video didn’t do justice to the real thing.