We went to go to buy tickets to a gondola. The ticket line was out the doors of the gondola building! The ticket we bought enabled us to a free box of jelly beans too! We got in the gondola and slowly we rose up. The views from the gondola we so beautiful. I was speechless. The views had the perfect combination of water, town, woods, and mountains. The gondola moved along the tracks to the top until it was at the top of the mountain.
We walked out of the gondola and along a path to the ski lift. The ski lift took us up even further up the mountain to the luge starting place. We got in our luges and we were off. It was some ride. We went up, down, through tunnels, and made wildturns. I was passed by a lot of people but I had fun. It was fast and fun at the same time. I recommend it to people who like things that are self-driven and like roller coaster things. I had a ton of fun.
We went to the Hilux Rural Games in Queenstown, New Zealand. I watched the wood-chopping competition and I think that it was the best part of the games for me. There were lots of activities in the Games. There was cherry stone spitting, cow milking, tree climbing, wood chopping, wine barrel pushing, gum boot throwing, coal shoveling, hay stack moving, cow pat tossing, farmers and their dogs racing, face painting, apple bobbing, sack racing, and the running of the wools. I think running of the wools was the most popular activity there.
The wood chopping was a competition between Kiwis and Australians. Kiwis are the New Zealanders. First in the competition was one-on-one sawing, where they had to saw a few circles out of a log. After a few one-on-one competitions finished, there was a relay. Three people were on each team. The first person took an electric saw and started to cut a circle. After they finished, the second person on each team took an axe and started to chop through a block of wood they were standing on. When the second person finished the first person would chop another circle, but this time, with a non-electric saw. When the first person finishes for the second time, the third person took an axe and began to chop through a log. The Kiwis won.
Next we went to the running of the wools. We waited alongside the track for along time. During that time the coal shoveling event happened. We waited and waited. Suddenly some people from a bar started to shout and let it all out. They sang “Who let the sheep out”, “Baa Baa”, and “SHEEP”. Finally the sheep came. But they were not running. In fact they were barely walking. Dogs had to get on top of them to make them move. I was disappointed.
I went on two hikes - the Ecology Trail at Tawharanui Regional Park and the Leigh Harbor Walk, in Leigh, north of Auckland, and I would do them again. It’s so peaceful in the woods and on the beaches here in New Zealand. It takes a lot of energy to finish the trails that we did because they are long and mostly steep. I would bring a water bottle and maybe a snack to the trails. Wear sneakers or climbing shoes and long hiking pants. There are spiky plants and rough rocks on the trails.
The Ecology Trail hike at Tawharanui was amazing. Most of the Ecology Trail had a spectacular ocean view. There were beautiful green forests, giant rocks to jump onto, small blue tidal pools, and a ocean view from the pastures on this trail that is just amazing! I saw the Pukeko bird, a native bird to New Zealand. It’s a black bird with a red beak.
One part of the Leigh Harbor Walk I’ve been on was covered in water when we traced our steps backwards, to the start. We also climbed up hills, waded through water, and walked carefully on jagged rocks.
The views of the ocean from the paths (and off the paths) are priceless. If I had a choice of one place to go to in New Zealand in the future, it would be Auckland. I had a lot of fun on the trails and I think other people will too.