FAMILY & FRIENDS
1) In Queenstown, we took a helicoptor up the Kawarau River to start our raft trip. We had to have our wetsuits on before getting into the helicoptor.
2) Genelle and I are in the gondola that goes up to Bob's Peak in Queenstown.
3) Genelle is in the "Natural Wood Creations" kauri wood shop in Whangarei watching them package some clocks we purchased for shipment back to the US.
4) Our friend Vicki is sitting in a VERY expensive chair at the same kauri wood shop.
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We really enjoyed the wheeled luge runs at both Queenstown and Rotorua. The pictures below were taken at Rotorua by our friend Frank. I really fill the little cart, but weight equals speed and I really got moving. On a steeper part of the run, I caught a little air over a quick drop in the track.
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We went on a 4x4 trip around the mountains of Queenstown. We stopped at the Arrow River near historic Arrowtown where the driver taught us to pan for gold. I was more interested in taking pictures than in panning.
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This is the "Marian Swing Bridge" just off the road between Te Anau and Milford. It leads to an absolutely beautiful canyon trail up to Lake Marian.
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In Taupo, Frank, Vicki, Genelle & I drove 4x4 quads on a 3-hour expedition through temperate rain forest so thick that it as like driving inside a tunnel. It was Vicki's first time on a Quad and she was really excited about it. She did very well. At the top of a ridge, we stopped in a clearing for a "cupper" (tea & cookies). In the last picture, you can see that we will go right back into the "tunnel" upon leaving the clearing.
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In Rotorua, we went on a 3-hour trout fishing charter with Murray, the very nice owner of Clark Gregor Trout Fishing. We hooked a fish approximately every 25 minutes. Vicki & Genelle played cards between catches. Vicki caught her first trout on this trip.
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Genelle & I met Frank Deacon in California where he was born and raised. He's been in New Zealand for 18 years. That's where he met and married Vicki. But he still loves America as can be seen by the flags on their Land Cruiser. I guess he's an American-Kiwi. Or, as some of his Kiwi mates know him, he's "Frank the Yank". By the way, I love that Cruiser, but then I'm partial to Toyotas. They sure are expensive in NZ (about 140K - ouch!).
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Frank & Vicki have a lovely brick home in Auckland. It's on a great lot at the very end of a quaint and pretty drive. Their back deck overlooks a local market garden. Across the street from them is a green belt, rugby field and children's playground. It's a very nice area.
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Several years ago, Frank started a pallet re-sale business by the seat of his pants with no money on a piece of rented land behind a wrecking yard. It's still in the same place but it's now a highly successful operation. In the second picture is Frank's trusted manager, Kiwi (yes, that's his name). The sheltered area in the last picture is where they repair pallets that are worth saving.
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We stayed in Paihia at the Admiral's View Lodge with a fabulous view from our deck of the "Bay of Islands". Frank & Vicki had the room next to ours. The evenings were warm and we enjoyed sitting outside on the deck to talk or play cards.
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Thomas & Rachel are two of Vicki's three children (Frank is her second husband). They are half Maori. Frank and Thomas were horsing around and Thomas "accidentally" got sat on! Rachel was nearby with Vicki's trusty pinchers to keep the boys in line.
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