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Queensland Term Abroad

New Zealand

Pictures are arranged chronologically. You can use the "next pics" and "prev pics" links at the top of each page to move sequentially from page to page, or you can go straight to individual pages using the handy index. Feel free to email if you have questions: or . Thanks for looking.

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Click on the date beside each picture below to go to the page or pages for that day.

Kakahu Bush I
Backhoe excavating fossil site

20 November
Kakahu Bush — We started our trip in an out-of-the-way area called Kakahu Bush. Its pastoral look hides a tumultuous geological history that encapsulates much of New Zealand's geology. Leaf fossils can be common there as well. We collected and analyzed the leaves to make predictions about the ancient climate.

Kakahu Bush II
Spotting something in the swell

21 November
"Farmyard" and Fossils — I had been been worrying how our group would react to the Holiday Park we were booked into — The Farmyard. Turns out it had a lot to offer, including a petting zoo, campfire, and donkey rides. A number of people, myself included, experimented with donkey riding. My bruises faded after a couple of days. I'm not sure about everyone else's.

Mount Cook & Hooker Glacier
Students in the lab

22 November
Mt Cook Village — The drive from Geraldine to Mt Cook was spectacular; the skies cleared and the mountains shone. A hike up the Hooker valley, over two suspension bridges and past magnificent views, brought us to the terminal lake at the end of the Hooker glacier.

Tasman Glacier

23 November
Tasman Valley— This was a beautiful, 12 to 14 kilometer hike up the Tasman glacier's lateral moraine. The scale here is deceptive; over and over we found ourselves stunned when we recognized miniature people in a gigantic landscape. It's also a good place to get a wicked sunburn.


24 & 25 Nov
Haast— We drove from Mt Cook to Haast Beach via Haast Pass, tracking the shift from alpine vegetation to rainforest. Along the west coast we focused on the major processes responsible for the landscape: glaciation and tectonic compression. We also tracked down some penguins!

Franz Joseph Glacier

26 & 27 Nov
Franz Joseph Glacier — Ship Creek forest walk is like visiting the "Walking with Dinosaurs" set. Franz Joseph Glacier presents a completely different landscape - raw, rocky, (and slippery).

Gold Panning

28 November
Panning for gold — We stopped along the way to try our hands at panning for gold. We had a little luck, although we met a professional panner there who put our attempts to shame.

Arthur's Pass and Limestone Bluffs

29 November
Arthur's Pass — Spent the night in the tiny village of Arthur's Pass, located, where else, in Arthur's Pass. Next morning we hiked up Devil's Punchbowl Falls and then lunched near spectacular limestone outcrops.

Tamaki Maori Village
 Women in traditional Maori Costume

30 November
Tamaki Maori Village — After flying from Christchurch to Auckland and then driving to Rotorua, we embarked on an evening of Maori culture. This included a spectacular traditional greeting ceremony, a concert, and a Hangi feast. A Hangi dinner is cooked in baskets over hot rocks. The result was, by unanimous acclimation, delicious.

White Island I
 Students on boat

1 December
White Island — Day trip to New Zealand's most active volcano. White Island lies an hour's boat ride to the north of Whakatani, a fishing community located on the north shore of the North Island. The volcano's active, but gentle enough (at the moment) to allow visits!

White Island II
 Students in volcanic crater

1 December
White Island — Tour through White Island's crater, including crater lake, sulfur deposits, noxious gases, and more!. We had a truly spectacular day; the guides told us it was as calm as it ever gets.

Rotorua Geothermal Fields
 Lady Knox Geyser

2 December
Geothermal Fields — The city of Rotorua lies on the edge of a volcanic caldera. Groundwater interacting with magma below creates a variety of geothermal features, including geysers, mudpots, acid pools, and occasionally, phreatic (steam) eruptions right downtown. Lots of Hydrogen Sulfide in the air can make the area a bit, well, stinky, but most people just took it in stride.

Rotorua to Tongariro
 People and boulders

3 December
Kuirau Park, Wairaki, and Taupo — This was a travel day and included visits to Kuirau Park in downtown Rotorua, a borefield capturing underground steam for power generation, rhyolite boulders on the Lake Taupo shore, and arrival at Tongariro National Park.

Ruapehu Crater Climb
 Crater Lake

4 December
Crater Lake — One half our group, led by the affable and unstoppable volcanologist Peter Otway, climbed to Ruapehu's rim to peek in at the crater lake. The first part's easy - the Whakapapa Ski Field's chair lifts cover the ground quickly. But from there up, it's a slog through blinding snow. The clouds cleared for a moment exposing the lake in all its glory.

Tongariro Crossing I
 Alpine plants

4 December
Tongariro Crossing — We split the group into two this day; half climbed Mt. Ruapehu to peek in at the crater lake and half walked the Tongariro Crossing, often called New Zealand's best one-day hike. I think those of us on the hike would agree. It's a spectacular hike through alpine valleys and rugged, volcanic peaks. Take this virtual hike with us!

Tongariro Crossing II
 Volcanic Vent: Red Crater

4 December
Tongariro Crossing — This page chronicles the tramp from the top of the Devil's Staircase (the steepest portion of the hike), across South Crater, up the rim next to Red Crater, the most active vent on the main trail, and over the crest of the hike down toward the Emerald Lakes.

Tongariro Crossing III
 Group posed by Emerald Lakes

4 December
Tongariro Crossing — These pictures continue the virtual hike, picking up at the top of the ridge out across Tongariro's central crater with views toward Blue Lake, the Emerald Lakes, North Crater, and some magnificent lava flows. A few more images show the view back toward Red Crater from farther along the trail, as well as pictures of some of us.

Tongariro Crossing IV
 View through gap toward distant Lake Taupo

4 December
Tongariro Crossing — This final page of the virtual hike starts by Blue lake and includes views onward out toward the north and Lake Taupo, the trail along the outer flanks of North Crater, some thermal vents, a stop at Ketetahi Hut (including a welcome pit toilet), and the stream rushing down to the end of the trail.

Lahars and the Desert Road
 Five people posing in front of snow-capped Ruapehu

5 December
Lahar dangers and the Desert Road — On the last day, Peter Otway took some of us on a trip around Tongariro National Park. Peter was a wonderful host and a big asset to our time at Tongariro. Many thanks to him for sharing his expertise and good humor.

 Group Picture