Sunday, September 16, 2012


In 2011, The New Zealand national rugby team, called the All Blacks, won the Rugby World Cup.  This is a very big deal for Kiwis and for many other nations outside of the U.S.  Rugby is baseball, basketball and football all tied into one here in New Zealand.  The All Blacks have been playing test matches throughout the country and on Saturday it was Dunedin's turn to play host as the All Blacks played the South Africa Springboks.  Blair, Nathan and I had three of the hottest ticket in town!

Nathan is ready to support the home team

Tradition is a funny thing.  Dunedin has a tradition whenever the All Blacks come to town.  Its a fund raising tradition that raises quite a bit of money for a local need (this year a girl with leukaemia).  It has major sponsors, such as Air New Zealand.  The tradition is called Nude Blacks.  Nude Blacks is a public rugby games played outdoors by completely naked people.  

The Kiwis like this.  It is considered "a good laugh."  Its family entertainment. Personally, I found some of it funny and some of it quite disturbing, but in a funny way.  This is a family oriented site, so I am careful of the pictures I publish.  I have strategically placed red dots.

"Let's go see what all these people are looking at!"

Of course, rugby is not just for men.


And yet again, Air New Zealand tops the competition.

Eventually, it was game time.  Forsyth-Barr Stadium was packed to the rafters even with several thousand seats added to the east side of the stadium.  As with each and every All Blacks game, after the national anthems of both countries, the All Blacks preform a haka for the benefit of their opponents.  Piri Weepu led the haka last night:

Making a break.

Liam Meesam wins a lineout.

Touch . . . Pause . . . Engage!

Isreal Dagg scores a try (5 points)

Great game, great crowd.  The All Blacks won, as expected, 21-11. 

Friday, September 7, 2012


A blowhole is a sea cave the gets exposed inland.  This happens when the roof of the cave collapses.  When the mouth of the cave is submerged, the incoming water and air is pushed through the cave and "blows" out the other end, up though the collapsed roof, much like a geyser.

There is a fabulous trail in the northern part of the Catlins called "Jack's Blowhole Track."

Despite the unfortunate name, it is a place of raw natural beauty and has nothing to do with the lower intestines.

The Blowhole

The blowhole is located 200 meters inland and is about 55 metres deep (spelling on purpose because I am bilingual).  55 metres is about 180 feet.  The blowhole does not have a lot of fencing around it so you have to be cautious as its a big drop with no way out, assuming you survive the fall.

Another great feature of this walk is the beach that is not reachable, at least easily.  This is a haven for rare yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes).  These penguins are native to New Zealand but do not venture close to humans. They come ashore in the early evening and make their way up the steep hillsides to nest.  Think about that: penguins walking up steep hills.  This takes patience to observe.  I did not have a zoom lens, but here are the photos I took (penguins indicated):

Below is a nice shot of the beach.  Really spectacular.

If the opportunity presents, go for the blowhole.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


According to the official website, "The Catlins is a major highlight of the Southern Scenic Route. Situated off the beaten track, the Catlins encompasses the area between Kaka Point and Fortrose. You will journey through rural heartland and podocarp forests, past rugged coastlines, hidden lakes and stunning waterfalls."

The translation of "off the beaten track" is "take Dramamine!" 

One of the features of The Catlins Coast is the Waipapa Point Lighthouse.

In 1881, the passenger steamer Tararua struck a reef off of Waipapa Point. The ship sank and 131 of the 151 passengers and crew were drowned.  Less than three years later the lighthouse at Waipapa became active as a warning for ships.  A lighthouse keeper maintained the light until 1975, and now the lighthouse is automated.

Arrrr, there be a bit o' nautical history for ye.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012



Crunch all ewe want, they'll make more . . .

. . . and more . . . 

. . . and more.

Monday, September 3, 2012


"Invercargill, I-N-V-E-R-C-A-R-G-I-L-L. Sometimes I spell it with one 'L' to save ink."

Invercargill is the 10th--13th largest city in New Zealand based on population and depending on where you get your statistics.  It is one of the southern most cities in the world and the southern most city in New Zealand.  Invercargill was the home of Burt Munro, whose dream to race his motorcycle on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah was the basis of the Anthony Hopkins movie "The World's Fastest Indian."  Burt Munro, in 1967 and at age 68, broke the world's land speed record for a motorcycle under 1000cc at 190+ mph.  His Indian motorcycle was 47 years old at the time.

At the entrance to Invercargill's Queens Park is a bronze sculpture of Burt Munro and his Indian.

If you look closely in the air intake, you will see a mouse.  Its ears are pinned back because of the excessive speed.

Its a great movie and I recommend it.  Also, it turns out the Burt Munro was a distant cousin of Blair's.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Mullet Bay is the name of the village near Cozy Nook beach.  This little area now features a few holiday homes (also called cribs/batches/shacks) and was one a fishing village.  The inlet provided a safe haven for fishing boats.  The beach is named after Capt. George Thomson's Scotland home, Cozy Neuk.

This is a fishing village.  One of the huts is called the "Polyfilla Villa."  That's funny!

Mullet Bay has some interesting geological features. 

Blair and Nathan scampered over the rocks.  Nathan only fell in once.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Monkey Island is on the southern coast of New Zealand, west of Invercargill.  The island is known as Te Puka o Takitmu, the anchor stone of the Takitmu canoe that brought Pacific Islanders to the south island of New Zealand.

During low tide, the island is accessible but you don't want to be stuck there when the tide comes in.  There is a staircase to the top of the island with a small lookout platform at the top.

Technically speaking, the sign post above was not at Monkey Island, but it looks good here.