Posts under ‘Pacific’

Motat

Motat is a fascinating museum of transport and technology located in Western Springs a suburb of Auckland. It has an amazing collection of historic vehicles of all types and plenty of heritage and history which will entertain delight and fascinate visitors for hours. The large property is beautifully themed with many heritage style buildings and artefacts to give you a real feeling of what New Zealand was like years ago. There are some incredible vehicles on display from cars, trucks, planes, trains and trams, in-fact the tram is a working exhibit offering trips around the complex and to the nearby annex exhibition which houses many of the aircraft exhibitions. The site was once home to a huge pump which serviced Auckland’s water supply, today this incredible piece of Victorian machinery has been restored and is housed in an beautiful brick building looking more like artwork than a piece of machinery, it is really an incredible sight.  Motat also features a historic village with many small cottages all decked out with their heritage fittings and furnishings, they are very interesting and give you a real feel of how people lived years ago.

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Sheepworld – New Zealand where else!

Well New Zealand is known for its sheep and there’s no better way to get up close to these woolly critters than a visit to Sheepworld. Sheepworld is located about a 40 minute drive through the scenic country side to the north of Auckland and offers a truly New Zealand farm experience. Not only does sheepworld have plenty of sheep they give visitors a wonderful insight into the importance of the New Zealand wool industry, its production, and uses. There are sheep shearing demonstrations, sheep dog shows and plenty of farm animals including sheep, donkeys, goats, calves, pigs to see.  There’s even a few emu and pesky possums from Australia on show.  The expansive farmland is also a great place to explore and have a picnic making a real day of it.  Don’t forget to bring a few dollars for the great gift shop either, there are some really cool things to buy.

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Auckland’s Skytower

The Auckland Skytower is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere and stands high above what is a fairly low rise city in comparison to Asia and even Australia.  The concrete tower is a pretty impressive structure and can be seen miles before you see the skyline of the city. Standing at 328 metres or 1076 feet in the old scale the tower offers spectacular views of up to 80 kilometres from the observation decks on a good day.  There are several floors, the highest viewing floor is at 200 metres, there’s a restaurant at 194 metres, and another at 190 metres, while the second observation deck is at 186 metres with a sky lounge a floor below.  For thrill seekers the tower offers a heat stopping sky jump where you can leap off the tower and fall at 85 kilometres an hour to the ground. Also for the not so faint hearted, there is a exterior walk around the tower, this give visitors the chance to walk around a 1.2 metre walkway 192 metres up in the air… you would have to be mad, think I will stick with the tasty buffet!

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Bubbling mud in New Zealand

We are celebrating May as New Zealand month. Today we are kicking the festivities off with one of New Zealand’s more unique tourist attractions. It’s grey and bubbly and it sure does stink. These geo-thermal mud pools are found just outside of Rotorua which is in the centre of the North Island. The area is rich in volcanic activity and there are quite a few of these mud pools, hot springs and spectacular geysers.  The boiling mud bubbles away and puts on a pretty interesting show with slops of mud shooting into the sky giving off a very smelly sulphur like smell.  Believe it or not the mud is meant to have some pretty good properties for the skin, now don’t touch the mud in the open, as it is likely to be very hot, look out for mud packs and soaps in the tourist shops around Rotorua- you won’t miss it. There are quite a few tourist parks which feature the mud shows but we have found a free attraction within about half an hour’s drive of the Rotorua CBD. It’s a magnificent drive along the Thermal Explorer Highway to a small township called Waiotapa. There are some mud baths not far from the pub and service station, near Waikite Valley Road.   Read more to see map.

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A grand old lady of the sea

Longbeach California just to the south of Los Angeles is the resting place of one of what was one of the world’s grandest ocean liners. The RMS Queen Mary sailed the seven seas for just over 40 years until she was retired in 1967. Today the 1019 ft long liner is docked at Longbeach and has taken on a new role as a museum, restaurant and hotel. Many of the original splendor of the Queen Mary is intact including magnificent art deco hallways, ballrooms and function rooms.  The ship also boasts some stunning artwork including a huge transatlantic map which stands in the first class dining room which had lit up and showed the position of the ship as it cruised from London to New York. The cabins are not as luxurious as you would expect in a modern liner, but they are charming, a bit small but have good comfortable amenities. The Queen Mary is a unique accommodation experience and a very fun place to stay for anyone planning to spend a few days in Longbeach, San Diego or Los Angeles.   Interestingly the Queen Mary was owned by Disney for a period in the late 1980’s there was talk of the ship being the centrepiece of what would have become a ocean themed park. There is a striking resemblance to the Queen Mary in Tokyo’s Disneysea.. Maybe the Tokyo Park might have come out of concepts for what might have been in Longbeach.

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More snakes on a plane

Snakey

Snakey

First there was the movie then there was snakes loose on an Air India plane and now its Qantas turn to have a few snakes escape in their cargo hold. Apparently four non poisonous stimson’s pythons broke fee of their container on the way from Alice Springs to Melbourne, the mishap caused some delays as the plane had to be fumigated and sadly the snakes have now gone to a better place. Tripandom’s tip for transporting your snakes is to make sure the lid is secure on you snake container or just own a kitten instead. Read the full story over at The Age

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Sun, Surf and Penguins?

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When you think of the tropical islands of Hawaii you think of the sun and the surf but you wouldn’t even dream of penquins. Well there is a happy little colony of the cute black and white critters alive and well and main attraction at the beautiful Hilton Hawaiian Village right on Waikiki Beach. The hotel has magnificent gardens and quiet a range of wildlife living amongst its lush jungle of ferns and palms, including macaws, parakeets, flamingoes, kio carp and turtles. The penguins draw quiet a crowd expecially at meal times when they duck and dive for fish.

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Remembering Pearl Harbor

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December 7 marks the 66th anniversary of the attack of the US fleet at Pearl Harbor Hawaii by the Japanese. Today Pearl Harbor has been turned into a moving memorial for those who fought and those who lost their lives in this dark period of the world’s history.

The USS Arizona memorial is one of the most visited war sites on the island. Here a simple floating pavilion sits above the final resting place of the vessel and many of the 1177 crew members that perished. A shore based museum also has some moving wartime stories and memorabilia and visitors can also choose to visit the USS Missouri battleship which was the scene of the 1945 surrender.

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Icy icy wonderland…with penguins!

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For a wonderful and informative adventure in New Zealand’s Auckland visit Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World and Antartic Encounter. This attraction was built in a old storm water holding tank and now houses some of New Zealand’s and the Antartic’s finest collection of sea life. The complex features a huge acrylic tunnel with moving footpath where you can get an up close look at some amazing fish including huge stingrays and sharks. The largest stingray called Phoebe weighs in at over 200kg and has a massive wingspan of over 2m. The highlight of the visit for most people is the penguin encounter, here is one of the few places outside the Antartic where you will see the king and gentoo penguins. The centre has plenty of informative interactives and lots of fun for young and old.

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Bargains amongst the palm trees

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If you’ve spent the day in the sun on Waikiki Beach and need to find a bargain or that special kitsch gift for the friends back home give the International Marketplace a go. There are over 130 stores with everything you will ever need- authentic Hawaiian Shirts, jewelry, nick knacks and lots of other cool stuff. If shopping gets too hard there’s a few good cafes and bars to kick back in for a while before doing a bit more bargaining with the friendly store holders. Most nights there is free entertainment to make a great evening of it and the market is open seven days a week from 10 to 10:30 PM. days a week from 10 to 10:30 PM.

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