August 30th 2016 – New Zealand Day 10

Today I had a lazy start to my day. I woke up at around 8:00am. I made myself a home made egg McMuffin style sandwich, and a coffee before hitting the road. My first stop was Pukaha Mount Bruce, a wildlife and bird sanctuary that help to reintroduce and repopulate endangered species, such as the Kiwi, into a protected environment. I saw over two dozen birds, as well as Kiwi’s, including a rare white Kiwi. Their day’s are reversed so that we can see them (sort of), but my camera was unable to capture them very well. They are under an infrared light so I had to convert the images to black and white, and it was nearly pitch black and flash photography was not allowed.

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I spent a few hours walking around the wildlife sanctuary before heading on to my next stop, Castlepoint Lighthouse. The cast iron lighthouse was built in 1913, and originally used oil and a wick and needed to be manned continuously. As technology evolved the lighthouse was converted to run a 1000 watt bulb off of a diesel generator in 1954, and subsequently converted to run off mains in 1961, with the diesel generator as a backup. The facility was fully automated in 1988. The views at Castlepoint were amazing!

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I was pretty hungry after climbing up to Castlepoint so I decided to have some lunch, some leftover spaghetti and meat sauce from last night. It was now about a two and a half hour drive towards Wellington, but I decided to break it up by stopping in Carleton to see more Art Deco, and Greytown to admire Victorian style architecture, as well as some Art Deco.

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I arrived in Wellington during rush hour, but surprisingly traffic wasn’t that bad. That’s thanks to their proper planning and use of public transportation. They have the highest usage rates of public transportation in all of New Zealand. I visited a camper dump station to drain and refill my water before finding a parking spot overlooking the beautiful southern coast. The night sky was perfectly clear so I even had the opportunity to do a long exposure shot of the milky way!

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April 3rd 2016 – My First Day in Kauai!

Today I was woken up at 5am by a Rooster and beautiful sounding birds. The birds were pleasant, but I was searching for a non existant BB gun for the rooster. I made some breakfast and brewed some coffee and then figured out where I wanted to go exploring for the day. I decided that I wanted to explore the North and the East sides of the island. My first stop was the Kilauea Lighthouse. The lighthouse and trail itself were closed for rehabilitation, but the view was spectacular.
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I then headed to Anahola Beach, which was quite beautiful. I was warned by the car rental company about certain beaches such as Anahola Beach, that my car wouldn’t make it, but you just have to be careful and plan your route through the ruts in the road. The roads off the beaten path here are a bit weathered due to the torrential rainfall the island sees throughout the year.
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I then proceeded to Opaeka’a Falls. There was actually three views here, instead of just the one I thought that was there. The first view overlooked towards the ocean, the second view was the waterfalls, and the third was rolling hills (small mountains) with a river flowing between them. The third view even had a few dozen kayakers!
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I then headed to Wailua falls. These falls are quite spectacular, and there are a few other viewpoints along the way. The road to the waterfalls was quite twisty and full of slow tourists, but I eventually made it.
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I then was getting fairly hungry so I stopped for a second breakfast, since it was still too early for lunch. After eating I then head towards Lihue, where I went on a train plantation tour at Kilohana. On the tour they show you all the different types of plants and vegetation that are native to the area, and they even stop to let you feed boards, and goats. I didn’t feed them, but I definitely had some fun taking photos of them.
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I then head back towards the condo so that I could relax for a bit before meeting up with the wedding party at the beach for some afternoon sun. They were at Hanalei Bay. The bay is absolutely stunning, and there are no words to describe. I didn’t take any photos there today because I didn’t bring my camera to the beach. I’ll probably stop by on April 8th to take some photos there, when I go on my hike at Hanakapi’ai Falls.
I head back to my condo again at around 3:30pm so that I could FaceTime with my girlfriend for a bit, before heading to the Luau. The Luau was beyond incredible, with delicious food, and some incredible dancing, and playing with fire sticks. Towards the end of the Luau, the Groom (Marc) got sucked up (we made him) into going on stage with all the dancers and they made did one of their dances around him. It was pretty fun to watch, and he had the biggest smile on his face.
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After the Luau I head back to the Condo to download my photos and head to bed. I was exhausted even though it was only 9:30pm.

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