Sennen House – New Zealand Gay Friendly Guesthouse

Author: , April 9th, 2018

Sennen House - New Zealand Gay Friendly Guesthouse

Indulge in the timeless elegance, luurious comforts & Victorian charm of this unique heritage-registered gem.

Set in 5 acres, yet only a stroll to Picton’s amenities, Sennen House offers unique and private accommodation.

Relax on sunny verandahs with views to grounds, hills or sea beyond.

See the Sennen House Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Picton Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Exploring Queer New Zealand

Author: , December 16th, 2017

Queer New Zealand - Queenstown

Blessed with unreal natural wonders in practically every direction you look, New Zealand really is the otherworldly wonderland presented to moviegoers in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

To fly into New Zealand’s South Island from Australia is to experience humankind at our most predictable. At the first sighting of the twisty, mountainous, and lambspeckled landscape, everyone looks out of the plane’s windows in a simultaneous craning and angling of necks, and a rapid fire snapping of smartphone photos. In short, calling New Zealand pretty is like calling Liberace a modest dresser. New Zealand is a jaw-dropper.

Even better, the country is tailor-made for hassle-free tourism. Its roadways are elegantly paved, its people attentive and well mannered, even its ubiquitous grazing sheep (which outnumber humans nearly 18 to one) bare the uniform appearance of having all been recently shorn. What it lacks in dazzling cities and gay life, it makes up for in scenery so sublime even America’s most divided citizenry can agree it’s just beautiful all over the place.

There are few “queens” in Queenstown, where my friend Ryan and I enjoy an early evening arrival in balmy March. A city that would disappoint gay travelers in search of finger-snapping drag queens, a randy leather bar, or the appearance of an occasional rainbow flag, it nevertheless fires up the imagination of even the most armchair adventure seeker.

Hardly a major city (pop. 14,300), Queenstown is more like a chic base camp. If you’ve ever idled in Cairns en route to the Great Barrier Reef, overnighted in Arusha before hiking Kilimanjaro, or shacked up in a chalet before skiing the slopes of Whistler Mountain, then Queenstown will be instantly familiar. It’s a razzle-dazzle lakeside city where nobody is a true local and everyone rises and shines at the crack of dawn in search of nearby adventure—and there are plenty of them.

By Jason A. Heidemann – Full Story at Passport

New Zealand Gay Travel Resources

New Zealand Awaits – Lesbian New Zealand Tour Operator

Author: , September 8th, 2017

New Zealand Awaits - New Zealand Lesbian Tour Operator

Periodically we’ll feature one of our tour operators here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay:

New Zealand Awaits is New Zealand’s LGBT travel specialist proudly taking care of LGBT travellers to New Zealand. As the only New Zealand company offering men’s, women’s, and LGBT small group tours, you know you’ll travel in great company. We also provide private guides for your own group (of 1+), and design itineraries for travellers who want local, expert advice for their self-drive trip.

New Zealand Awaits - New Zealand Lesbian Tour OperatorAs avid global travellers ourselves, we believe that travel can be transformative if it allows for exploration, excitement, awe, and shared connections with both nature and locals. We ensure these elements by connecting you to our trusted locals who are committed to providing authentic, “Kiwi” experiences and who are eager to welcome our LGBT clients. Most of our partners are small, local owner/operators with deep community roots and share our values of sustainability, social responsibility, and exceptional service.

New Zealand is rated one of the gay-friendliest countries by Lonely Planet. Combined with stunning scenery, world class food and wine, unique Maori culture, super-friendly people, and endless activities to choose from, it’s one of the best travel destinations in the world. Let us show you our home. Come home with us!

See the New Zealand Awaits Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in New Zealand

River City Cottage – Wanganui, North Island, New Zealand

Author: , May 11th, 2017

River City Cottage

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay:

Jan and Kate warmly welcome LGBTI travellers to our 100-year-old cottage in the heart of the historic river city of Whanganui. Here you will find a peaceful haven, friendly and informative lesbian hosts, and quiet, warm and comfortable rooms.

Guests must love animals, as we have two friendly old dogs and two cats, and 6 hens. Guests must also be ok with sharing a bathroom. We welcome children, and we are pet-friendly.

We have Ultra Fast Broadband Wi-Fi, which is free to our guests, and provide complimentary tea and coffee. You can opt for breakfast of fresh homemade bread and locally made jams and spreads and/or eggs from our chooks and free-range organic sausages. We serve real coffee! You are also welcome to use the washing machine, and share our kitchen if you wish to self-cater. We have a lovely deep bath for your use.

Our Bed and Breakfast is a great base from which to explore Whanganui, being one block from the river and cycleway, and an easy 10 minute walk to the centre of town. There you will find an array of great cafes and eateries, and the art galleries and boutique shopping for which the city is renowned. We love our city, and love to share it’s delights with our guests.

Stroll to the River Traders Market on a Saturday morning, paddle a waka or take a trip on the paddle steamer, visit the famous Sarjeant Gallery or the New Zealand Glassworks and enjoy the relaxed pace of life you will find here.

Whanganui is a great place for cyclists. The New Zealand Cycle Trail runs through the city, and we are a vital hub on the Mountains To Sea leg of the network. We can store your bikes safely while you stay.

If you are travelling by car, we are located 1.5 hours drive from Mt Ruapehu and the skifields, and the Tongariro Crossing. We are 2 hours drive from New Plymouth and Mt Taranaki, and 2.5 hours drive from Wellington.

We offer a free shuttle service to and from the airport or bus terminal.

See the PROPERTY Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in AREA

Marlborough is All About the Wine, Right?

Author: , January 7th, 2016

Marlborough

Wrong, wrong, WRONG!!

MarlboroughMarlborough is certainly famous for its sauvignon blanc. Yes we are by far the largest wine producing region in NZ and Marlborough sauvignon blanc in all its wonderful forms is lauded throughout the world. At Na Clachan we think Marlborough sauvignon blanc is so good we wrote a song and video extolling its virtues. It’s a tongue in cheek celebration of Marlborough’s best known export. (https://youtu.be/wur8yctcQKs)

But despite the dominance of vineyards in the Wairau and Awatere valleys let’s put the winemaking into perspective. We have about 25,000 hectares (62,500 acres) of grapes which is 250km2. Marlborough comes in at a whopping 12,484 km2 so only about 2% of Marlborough’s total land area is used for grapes. So we have plenty of space to fit in a range of activities and attractions.

Take a few days in Marlborough and enjoy the wide variety of activities and attractions it has to offer.

Let’s start with walking. With a land area that large there has to be some great walks around. True. Perhaps the best known local walk is the world famous Queen Charlotte Track (http://www.qctrack.co.nz) which runs 70km from Ship Cove to Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds. There is a huge range of options from walking one-day sections of the track, to completing the full length with camping, backpacker accommodation or luxury lodges. Perhaps one of the great attractions of the track is the option of having your pack transported between accommodations to save you some weight on the day’s walk. Out of the high season you can also use this as a mountain bike track.

MarlboroughIf you fancy something a little more remote head out into the Richmond Ranges with its network of tracks and DOC huts (http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/marlborough/places/mount-richmond-forest-park/). I have spent several days in the Richmond ranges and on some occasions have not seen any other walkers. If you’re feeling energetic you can climb to the top of Richmond, Fishtail or Mt Riley where you will be rewarded with views of the Sounds, Wairau Valley and to the North Island.

Another personal favourite is the Saw Cut gorge walk with its spectacular narrow gorge cut into the limestone. It’s a surreal experience walking through here, but don’t attempt it after heavy rain.

If a gentle stroll is more your kind of walk there are plenty of 1 – 2 hour walks to chose from in both Picton and Blenheim to choose from.

MarlboroughOr perhaps messing about in boats is your thing. The Marlborough Sounds have one tenth of NZ’s total coastline with a maze of sounds, inlets and bays. You can book a fishing charter, take a Mail Boat cruise, go dolphin watching or visit Motuara Island bird sanctuary to see little blue penguins and saddlebacks.

Marlborough kayakMore the independent type? Why not hire a kayak for a few hours and explore the Queen Charlotte or Pelorus Sound? If you can’t decide between the boat and the walk, you can combine the two by taking the water taxi to a drop off on the Queen Charlotte Track, having a walk and being picked up from another bay.

Arts and crafts more your line? Marlborough is home to many artists, potters, wood workers and multi media artists. Many welcome you to their studio if you give them a call ahead of time. On Saturdays in the summer you can catch up with some of the local crafts at the Artisan’s market.

Take a stroll through Pollard Park and the botanic gardens, or visit the Marlborough Museum. The Wairau Bar on the coast east of Blenheim is the site of the earliest known Maori settlement in the South Island. There are several golf courses, a new swimming complex, squash courts, mountain bike trails, ten pin bowling, tennis courts, croquet lawns, multi-screen cinema and a theatre.

Marlborough Omaka Heritage MuseumThe Omaka Heritage Museum (http://www.omaka.org.nz/index.htm) is a treasure trove of WW1 planes and artifacts in stunning settings. You don’t need to be a plane enthusiast to enjoy the stories of pilots, designers and engineers. The museum houses Sir Peter Jackson’s private collection and the tableaux are created by Weta Workshops. While we are on the subject of museums, take a visit to the Edwin Fox in Picton. She is the world’s second oldest surviving merchant sailing ship and is also the only surviving ship that transported convicts to Australia. (http://www.edwinfoxsociety.com)

Marlborough spaBut perhaps all you want to do is pamper yourself at one of the spas around Blenheim and then maybe head out for an alfresco vineyard lunch. There is plenty of choice, many with stunning vineyard settings, a focus on local produce and great wine to accompany your meal.

Marlborough wine tourOf course, if you are a wine drinker, no trip to Marlborough is complete without a wine tour.

Marlborough Na Clachan CottagesNa Clachan (http://www.naclachan.co.nz/marlborough-wine-tour/) offers a range of half and full day tours with the option of a at a vineyard restaurant lunch. Your guide (Chris or Helen) will tailor the tour around the tastes and requests of the group. Its not just about tasting wine – your guide will fill you in on the history, the stories and the people who pioneered wine making in Marlborough. We may be newcomers to the wine world with a short history, but there are plenty of stories to share along with the wines. Although sauvignon blanc is the main varietal here you can expect to be tempted with chardonnay, riesling, sparkling wine, gewurztraminer, pinot gris, pinot noir and more. Pace yourself though, it can be an exhausting experience!

Article By Helen Redshaw
Visit the Na Clachan Cottages Website

Marlborough Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Wellington, New Zealand’s Capital City

Author: , October 12th, 2015

Wellington - Dolly GoolsbyI have to apologize. We were so busy during our last few days in New Zealand, that I simply did not have time to write without feeling rushed; therefore, I am writing about Wellington after I am back on United States soil. Nevertheless, Wellington is still very much in my mind. What a lovely city.

We were fortunate that the weather continued to be in our favor. We had arrived in Wellington at night, so we were very happy to wake up to a beautiful sunny day for our tour of the city. Aaron had arranged a tiny little minibus with a driver, to take us on our tour. As Wellington is a very hilly town, we soon saw the wisdom in that choice.

First, we drove up to the top of a hill that can also be accessed by a cable car. From this vantage point, one can walk down through the lovely Botanical Gardens. We did not have time for that leisurely stroll, so our little bus took us down to the glass buildings of the gardens.

Next, our driver took us up another very winding road to an overlook, where we could see the city and the Harbour.

We visited Old St. Paul’s Church. This church was built in the 1860’s, by shipbuilders. It was the Diocese of the Anglican Church for over 100 years. When a new cathedral was built, this church was in danger of being torn down. Thank goodness the Historical Society prevailed, as this church is beautiful.

Looking down the aisle of the church. You can see the ceiling looks like an upside down ship’s hull. There is so much lovely wood in the church…engraved beams, the pews, the altars.

We drove past the Parliament houses. But my favorite place of all was the National Museum, Te Papa. It is situated on the waterfront and is a fabulous collection of Maori culture, memories and exhibits of both World Wars, science exhibits, showing, and letting one feel, earthquakes. Dioramas of how volcanoes erupt, how the mountains are pushed up by sliding tectonic plates. We entered the realm of the deepest seas, and saw a giant squid, who was under glass and dead, I am happy to say.

There was so much to see. Nearby our hotel, the waterfront area was so entertaining. Many shops, restaurants, outdoor art works, places to sit and relax. It is hard to believe this area was a thriving United States Marine Corps base during World War II. When the Marines left, they gave this land back to New Zealand, and this waterfront area was developed. What a great gift.

The day we left, I just had to go back to the museum. It had made such an impression on me, and there were areas I hadn’t seen, some I wanted to see again. One very nice feature of the museum is that is open to everyone, free of charge. There is a donation box so that contributions can be made to keep it free.

All in all, Wellington is a lovely city. There were so many little nooks and crannies…small parks with children playing, people sitting on the grass eating lunch, enjoying the sunshine. I could have spent more time there. However, all good things come to an end, so Wednesday afternoon we had to trek off to the airport, fly to Aukland and from Auckland fly back home to the United States.

This was a marvelous trip. Everyday was a new and exciting adventure. I enjoyed every minute of the trip.

There are still some stories and pictures I would like to share, in future posts. Particularly some of the foods that are considered ?delicacies? So, as I continue to re-live my fabulous New Zealand adventure, I will write more about the country.

Can you believe I have hardly mentioned the fantastic wines from this country? Oh, my. Definitely more posts coming your way.

But I must say, goodby for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Wellingson Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Our Last Day in the South Island

Author: , October 1st, 2015

Dolly - Canterbury ChurchKia Ora,

It is now late at night. I am in my very comfortable hotel room in the heart of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. We had such a long day, I was certain I would sleep well. But, no. That was not to be. I was jolted out of a deep sleep by the sound of an emergency vehicle siren going past on the street below. I realized then, that we had not been in a big city since we left Auckland, which was nine days ago. How quickly my mind and body had adjusted to the quieter atmosphere of the smaller towns and the peacefulness of the great outdoors.

Early this morning, right after breakfast, we boarded our bus and left the west coast town of Greymouth. We had been blessed all week with sunny, pleasant weather. This morning, though, there were some clouds in the sky, and the air was quite chilly. With our excellent driver, Paul, we started going inland traveling a bit south and east, traversing the Southern Alps. We went over Arthur’s Pass, one of the highest mountain passes, driving on a steep, winding highway. Paul stopped the bus at a turnout, so that we could take pictures. The temperature outside was 34 degrees Fahrenheit, and a sharp, cold breeze blowing.

We each took a couple photos, and we’re more than ready to hop back on the bus. We went just a bit further up the road, and stopped again at a cafe, so we could all get a cup of coffee. Then Aaron, our tour guide, led us on a short walk to a small chapel, then to the Visitor’s Center The little church was very pretty, as the window behind the pulpit looked out at a grand waterfall. Unfortunately, my picture did not turn out well, as the sun was shining brightly on the waterfall.

This area has many different kinds of outdoor activities: hiking, mountain biking, white water sports (don’t think that tiny river below the highway is the only river here). There is river fishing, lake fishing, just about any kind of outdoor activity is available. This is very rugged country, so one has to be knowledgable and prepared for dealing with the elements. One poster in the Visitors’ Center was entitled, “How to Kill Yourself in Arthur’s Pass”.

Back on the bus again, we started our descent into the valley, leaving the Alps behind us.

This is prime country for Merino sheep, as they thrive best when they can graze on the mountains. We were told, later, when we visited the sheep station, that Merino sheep need a very different diet from the sheep that are raised in the valleys.

We visited a working sheep station, where the owner and his dog, Pete, gave us a demonstration of the herding qualities of the Border Collie. The shepherd actually use another dog, called a Huntawey (I don’t know how to spell that). The Huntawey barks, causing the sheep to group together in a herd. Then the Border Collie keeps them in a herd, and directs them towards the shepherd. We also got to see sheep shearing.

When we left this place, we continued on to Christchurch, on the east coast. Christchurch had been devastated by two earthquakes: the first, in September, 2010, but the second one, in February, 2011, caused the greatest destruction. For me, it was very sad to see the city as it is now. Rebuilding has been very difficult. So many buildings have been torn down; others waiting to be restored or demolished. We had stayed in Christchurch in 2005, and the vision I saw today made me very sad – a ruined cathedral.

We left the city, went towards the airport, and visited the Antarctic Center, which is right near the airport. I loved seeing the little blue penguins. That cheered me up. They are the tiniest penguins in the world. The ones we saw today have been rescued, having suffered injuries to their tiny feet or flippers, rehabilitated, but they would not survive in the wild again, so their permanent home is at the Antarctic Center.

After our visit there, we were taken to the airport; there we had to say goodbye to Paul, who had been our driver and companion for the past several days. We flew from Christchurch to Wellington, arriving a little after 8:00 p.m. As I said earlier, it had been a very long day, but with so many interesting stops and sights.

We will be here for the next few days, and then our fantastic New Zealand adventure will come to a close. I will fly back to the United States late Wednesday afternoon.

I will try to get another blog post written, after we have had the chance to visit Wellington.

I do trust you have enjoyed visiting this amazing country with me, and that you are planning your own OAT trip to New Zealand.

There is so much that I haven’t written about. I haven’t told you about the food, the cultural differences between our countries…I will try to write about those things, and more, after I get home.

So I shall say goodnight for now, and try to get some sleep. I can only hope another siren doesn’t go by and wake me again. I shall try to adjust to city life again,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Canterbury Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Franz Josef Glacier, Reefton and Greymouth

Author: , September 28th, 2015

New Zealand - Dolly Goolsby

Kia Ora,

We had stayed overnight in the little town of Fox, very close to Franz Josef. Today, on a beautiful sunny day,me drove to Franz Josef. We were met at the beginning of the nature walk path by Paul, a local guide and expert on the geology and history of this glacier. Paul walked with us for about an hour, telling us about this fast-moving glacier. I had seen this ten years ago, and could not believe how far the glacier had retreated in that time.

Franz Josef Glacier, Dolly GoolsbyAfter visiting the glacier, we boarded our bus again and headed toward Greymouth, where we would stay for the next two nights. Being the pragmatic person that I am, I had thought I would compose my blog posts as we drove along the roads to each destination. Not going to happen! The scenery was so astounding, and so lovely, I just had to look out the window and see the cattle in the fields, the sheep on the hillsides, the deer farms, where they raise this very tasty venison as a market crop. In the background were the icy, snow topped Southern Alps. Wherever we went, the scenery was lovely, relaxing and I simply could not do anything but enjoy the view.

When we got closer to the sea, where the rivers meet the sea, fishermen were netting “whitebait”. This is such a cultural delicacy that I shall not go into it now..this merits its own post.

We arrived at Greymouth in the early evening, got settled into our rooms, then enjoyed a cocktail and dinner with our group at the hotel.

Today we headed further north, still following the Tasman seacoast, until we came to Pancake Rocks, a geological but unique and beautiful natural phenomenon along the coast.
If you can see the layers of rocks, resembling pancakes: layers upon layers of fossilized sea life and minerals. Amazing. These do not exist anywhere else in the world.

New Zealand - Dolly GoolsbyBack on the bus again, we traveled inland to Reeftown, an old gold mining town, but still alive and vibrant. We had a special guide, again, another Paul. (We have learned that most of our guides and/or drivers are named either Paul or Mike). We had lunch at the visitor center, where we were joined by several kids from the schools around Reefton, as well as a few adults, who joined us for lunch and told us about life In their hometown.

After lunch we went to the re-created Bearded Miners’ Camp, where the old guys told us about the miners’ life in early Reeftown.

We finished our day trip with a visit to a dairy farm. There, Nancy, one of our travelers, got to check an item off her bucket list. She got to milk a cow.

We visited with the delightful family that own the farm, and we’re very captivated by Laughlin, the 9 year old grandson, who took over the tour guiding, leading us into the gardens.

Laughlin is either going to be an OAT tour leader in about ten years, or a politician. He was very charismatic, explaining how his artistic aunt had built the garden over the past thirty years.

Eventually, we made our way back to Greymouth. We had the best intentions of going down to the beach for a sunset picnic, but we had some wine and snacks in Margaret and Maureen’s room here in the hotel, and we never got to the beach.

This has been a most awesome trip. The country of New Zealand is so unspoiled..towns are small and separated by miles and miles of open fields, mountains, or just treacherous terrain. The people living here are resilient, able to fix anything with Number 8 wire…they are very friendly and receptive to us, as tourists.

Also, our group of twelve are probably the most compatible group of travelers I have ever had the pleasure of traveling with. All of us have traveled extensively. In fact, Aaron told us, that between the twelve of us, we have done 65 OAT or Grand Circle tours, and we don’t even know how many trips we have each taken independently. This makes a wonderful group experience, when we talk about our travels, as we did tonight, over wine and snacks.

Aaron, our tour leader, is a native New Zealander; he is a real Kiwi. Aaron is so passionate about his country, and he is so knowledgeable. Here is a picture of Aaron, taken in the Redwood Forest in Rotorua, showing us the silver fern, which is the national symbol of New Zealand.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow we will fly to Wellington, and in three days we will have to fly home.

I will try to write more later, but, as I said, I am so busy soaking up the scenery, the culture, the history of this country, I have been remiss in my writing, I know you will forgive me.

After I get home, I plan to write about differences in New Zealand culture from ours, as well as cuisine of this country, other aspects of New Zealand that I just haven’t had the time to write about.

I know, if you come here, once you see those snowy peaks of the Southern Alps, you will understand why I am writing when everyone else is sleeping . This is the only time I am not being distracted by the beauty of New Zealand.

Goodnight for now. Are you booking your Overseas Adventure Travel tour yet? A visit to this country should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | West Coast New Zealand Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels: Queenstown and Milford Sound

Author: , September 27th, 2015

Dolly GoolsbyKia Ora,

Time is just flying by. I thought I would write about Queenstown and Milford Sound before now; however, there is so much to tell you, I had to revise again and again, to give you the highlights. This is such a beautiful, unique, majestic area that finding the words to describe it was a task.

First, we flew into Queenstown by way of Christchurch when we left Rotorua. After leaving Christchurch, flying south, these magnificent Southern Alps came into view. The day was brilliantly sunny, and I was constantly looking out the window. I finally had to take a short break, as I felt that I might go snow blind!

It was so interesting. All that vast expanse of land, mountains, lakes and streams, and no sign of human activity. As we neared Queenstown, I did see one isolated farm. One long lonely road leading up to it. The rivers were so interesting. They looked like giant silver braids. The small streams running down the mountainside were children’s scribbling lines. The mountains, with the snow on them, seemed to me that I was looking down and across a meringue pie.

After we collected our bags and started for the town of Queenstown, we stopped on the way to visit Arrowtown, an old gold rush town that has been maintained to still have the 1860’s charm. There is one section that was the Chinese miners camp. Some of those old, tiny buildings have been kept as they were 150 years ago.

After visiting Arrowtown, we made our way through Queenstown, to our hotel, which was situated on a hill overlooking Lake Wakatipu, just about a mile from the city center.
We all walked downtown that evening, had a great dinner in a pub in the city center, then Aaron arranged taxis to take us back up the hill, to the hotel and a good night’s sleep.

Early the next morning, we set off for Milford Sound. This involved a long bus ride through some of the prettiest country I have ever seen. For the first hour, we followed the lake side. Then we went inland, seeing different terrain, fields of sheep, fields of cattle grazing, pastures of farmed deer. We had to stop at one point, and let the farmer herd his cattle down the only road in the area.

It was rather fun, seeing the cattle being herded with a pick-up truck.

We stopped several times. Each time we were looking at another wonderful sight. Here we were, at a clear, pristine creek. We were able to fill our water bottles from the stream. The mountains in the background were so magnificent.

Eventually, we reached Milford Sound. By now we had traveled for over 5 hours, and the scenery had been so astounding. We were ready for a different kind of visual beauty: the lovely Milford Sound.

I hope you will know now why it has taken me so long to write this blog post. It is impossible to try to convey all the beauty, the magnificence of that area in this tiny blog post. (I have this one request: if you have not been to New Zealand, put it on your bucket list.). I think New Zealand is the most pristine, green and beautiful country in the world. I also think I will have to get a new Thesaurus, as I need more words to describe what I am seeing here.

Now Milford Sound. This is a body of water that flows out to Tasman Sea. We boarded a boat for a two-hour cruise of the Sound. We had a most lovely, sunny day to see all the surrounding hills and inlets, and the waterfalls cascading down the mountains.

We had such an adventure. Sadly, the cruise ended, and we had to go back to our hotel in Queenstown. We did travel back the way we came, so once again we were treated to the visual cornicopia. Aaron put on a movie for the last two hours of our trip; a film about a New Zealander and his desire to see how fast his motorcycle would go. If you haven’t seen it already, rent the movie , “World’s Fastest Indian”, starring Anthony Hopkins. It is based on a true story, of a real, genuine New Zealander.

We got back to the hotel late in the evening, a bus load of tired, but happy travelers.

Today was another day of visual, sensory overload. I will try to get today’s adventure onto the blog soon, as tomorrow we will have another adventure.

I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to see New Zealand again, and that I can share it with you. At least a bit of it. You must come see it for yourself.

Until next time,

Good night,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Otago Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels: From Auckland to Rotorua

Author: , September 24th, 2015

Calves in New Zealand - Dolly GoolsbyHello, or Kia Ora,

Oh, there is so much to tell you about this wonderful country of New Zealand, I find that I must write something before I go to sleep tonight.

We had a beautiful drive down from Auckland yesterday. The weather was sunny; just a few puffy white clouds up high, and we had miles and miles to travel. We traveled by way of the motorway, which in the United States we would call a freeway. We drove past field after field of green rolling hills. I had expected to see many flocks of sheep with new baby lambs; however, it has been ten years since my last visit to New Zealand, and the North Island, where we are now, has become more of a dairy country. In fact, dairy products presently are the largest industry in the North Island. Therefore, I did get to see many herds of cattle in the green fields.

Our tour company. Overseas Adventure Travel, had arranged a home-hosted lunch for our group. We were welcomed by Ray and Dorothy to their home on an organic dairy farm. We were told this is the third generation now that has owned this farm. What a delightful few hours we got to spend with these two people. After we had eaten, Ray explained how they originally were certified as an organic farm and what they, as farmers, need to do to keep that certification. Then they took us on a tour of Dorothy’s garden, and we got to see the new farm babies… the calves.

Now here are some of the babies. I just wanted to squeeze these cute little creatures. Ray told me to let one suck on my fingers, but I knew better than to do that, if I wanted my fingers back.

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to visit with both of these friendly people, and I was so happy to get to gently hug one of the babies.

Since the day was still very pleasant and sunny, our guide, Aaron, had the bus driver take us to an area where we could go on a short hike, only about a mile or so, to the headwaters of the Blue Spring, the source of most of the bottled spring water in the North Island. The water is so clear and so blue. The green water grasses were just such a contrast to the blue water.

We followed the stream for another hundred meters or so, then we had to retrace our steps back to the waiting bus. There were some other tourists at the spring. One young man decided he would jump into the water. He did that, we heard a scream, and he jumped right out of the water. The water is freezing cold! Silly boy.

That little trek was such a nice surprise side trip that Aaron had planned for us. As we are finding out, Aaron has such a love for his native New Zealand, and such a passion for these unique experiences, that we know the rest of this two week trip is going to be quite an adventure, with delightful surprises when Aaron can work them into our itinerary.

Finally, in the late afternoon, we arrived in Rotoruta. We checked into this very lovely Waiora Resort, right on the shores of the lake. After a delicious gourmet dinner, we all retired early; a group of some very tired but happy travelers. We knew we had another busy day ahead of us, so I, for one, was not the least bit reluctant to do this. This resort has the nicest amenities. I was not expecting to find a hot water bottle in my bathroom cabinet, but I filled it with hot water, put it into my bed, and went to sleep very happy. I hadn’t even seen a hot water bottle since I was a kid, so this new treat brought back happy childhood memories, and I slept, dreaming only happy dreams.

So I will say goodnight to each of you now, and will continue telling you more about New Zealand tomorrow.

Good night, all.

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | New Zealand Gay Travel Resources