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<< Previous: New Zealand Part II | Next: New Zealand Anti-Dri... >>

New Zealand Part III
Thursday, 2008 August 14 - 11:41 pm
On our final day in New Zealand, we went to the Antarctic Centre, and to the Orana Wildlife Park. The wildlife park was definitely a highlight of the trip. Pictures and videos after the jump.

So first, the Antarctic Centre. New Zealand is the jumping-off point for people traveling to Antarctica, so naturally there's a little tourist attraction for it. We largely skipped the boring educational displays about Antarctic geography and wildlife, and the movies about the history of Antarctic exploration. But there were a few interesting parts to the place. One was the indoor snow room, where they simulated blizzard conditions with giant fans. Another was the live blue penguin exhibit; these little guys were just plain adorable.

Blue Penguin

But the most fun part, I think, was the Hägglund ride. The Hägglund is the tractor that they use to drive around in Antarctica. At the Antarctic Centre, they take you out on a track with various 45-degree hills and ponds of water to demonstrate the Hägglund's capabilities. It was almost like a roller coaster ride.

Hagglund

So that was fun. But the Orana Wildlife Park proved to be much more interesting. It's a place where animals roam around in fenced-in fields, rather than being confined to cages like a zoo. So you get the cute animals like the meerkats:

Meerkats

... and the otters:

Otters

There are peacocks just wandering around the place:

Peacock

And there were monkeys:

Monkeys

We fed a giraffe! Click for 2.5MB QuickTime movie:

Giraffe

But by far the coolest part of this thing was the lion feeding, where they put 17 of us in a cage in the back of a truck, and drove us out into the middle of the lion field with a bucket of meat.

Lion Meat

Lion 1

alt="Lion 2" />

Lion 3

The lions jumped on top of the cage. Amy and I both got lion drool on our heads.

Lion Drool

(I have a theory that when the park is closed, they make human-shaped statues of meat wrapped up in clothes, and they drive the truck into the fields and just let the lions have at it, just to make the lions more menacing to us hapless tourists.)

Click for 428 KB QuickTime movie:

Lions

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Simply awesome.

After that, it was time to head home on another tediously long flight. We did have an eight-hour layover in Los Angeles, though; that gave us enough time to meet Javi and his lovely wife for some drinks and dinner, at Encounter (the funky restaurant/bar in the iconic spaceship-like building at LAX):

Us and Javi

And that was the trip.

Oh: there is one more story that involves Amy rubbing lotion on a girl in an airport bar... but I'll save that for another time.

Permalink  1 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: lifetravel

Comments

Comment #1 from Noelle (Guest)
2008 Aug 15 - 12:16 pm : #
I gotta say, you guys look really fit! Nice work on that aging process. Seriously!

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