Sunday, February 27, 2011

What we ate, part two

We had another day in Queenstown on our way back to the east coast. With only a few hours to spend, Ellen, EAP and I felt sure that eating a Fergburger was the best use of our time. It's apparently a tradition in Queenstown, and the owner refuses to franchise it, so you'll just have to go there.

As you can see, the classic Fergburger with cheese was a good size.


The French fries (hot chips??) were delicious and abundant, especially with the garlic mayonnaise accompaniment.

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At the other end of the scale was Hopgood's, said to be the best restaurant in Nelson. We thought it was delicious!
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Lamb with peas, mint and feta


Panna cotta with jammy dodgers

Cheese plate featuring local cheeses
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Desserts in general looked better than they tasted. Here is our last REI dessert, not quite a Pavlova, or is it?

And here is a typical pastry case, this one in Geraldine. Beware the lolly cake!
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All told, my favorites were the green-lipped mussels, the coffee, and any sandwich eaten outdoors with a beautiful view.

What we ate

The food was very good, and the coffee was outstanding. Once you figure out the difference between a flat white and a long black, you're set. (The difference between a flat white and a latte was a bit harder to discern.)

Most famous, next to NZ lamb, are their mussels. Two people to whom I mentioned green lipped mussels recoiled in horror, but it only means that the tips of their shells are green. The mussels themselves were plump and briny and tasty. Here they are at Luciano's in Queenstown.

The mussels at Fishbone show the green coloring better.

I also enjoyed a rabbit and hare frittata. It was delicious, though I could not tell the difference, if any, between the two.
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This is brunch in Auckland with EAP's midwife friend Claire, enjoyed in sight of the beach.

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New Zealand pastries were uneven. They all looked beautiful - well, maybe not the lolly squares made of multicolored candies - but they were often dull.
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Alice was a wonderful cook and forager, and our lunches on the REI trip were usually sandwiches or other picnic food. Here's a picnic on the shores of Lake Te Anau, made even more delicious by the marvelous view.
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Whitebait is a specialty of the South Island, with locals staking out the best fishing spots year after year. We had the impression that it was more of a tradition than a genuine delicacy, but we enjoyed these whitebait fritters at Fishbone.

The blue cod with risotto was delicious,

as was the monkfish.
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New Zealand Libraries

You can't have two librarians on a trip - or even one - and not visit libraries as they appear on the journey. (Plus, we had an avid library booksale shopper with us.) Ellen and I were most taken with the Carnegie library building in Hokitika. It's a museum now, but when it was built it was "the grandest of the 18 Carnegie libraries to be built in New Zealand." Who knew that there was even one Carnegie library there? Here we are on the front steps.


Here's the entrance to their new library, opened in 2009.

Library signage is an obsession with many librarians. Here's a sign that raises more questions than it answers, at least to non-kiwis.
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Presumably the offenders know all too well what hot chips are.

This signage in the Blenheim library promoted early literacy beautifully, although as Ellen pointed out, the collections and furnishings did not support these ideas particularly well.

I was taken with these signs in the J fiction collection that pointed out popular authors. I can already hear you asking how they ensured that the right books continued to be shelved in this spot, and I don't know how they pulled it off.
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Collections look very similar to ours. These pictures are from the children's area in Hokitika, shown off to us by the friendly children's librarian.


Here, on the other hand, is a sign I spotted in a half-deserted community building in Okarito. Look closely (click on the photo) to find its hopeful message.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


On our very first day in New Zealand, when we visited a waterfall in the Waitakere Ranges, I had no idea how ubiquitous they are. Rain makes rainforests, and rain makes waterfalls, too.

Here's the first one we saw, near Karekare.

Typically, there were kiwis in the water, this a group of kids who were cooling off in the chilly water.
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Our second waterfall appeared on the first day of the REI trip. Just before Arthur's Pass, we stopped for a short hike up to Devil's Punchbowl Falls. Here's a video of the rushing water.

The walk to the Franz Josef Glacier featured a pair of waterfalls.
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This was just a random waterfall picture taken on the drive from Makarora to the Eglinton Valley. There were many such.
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Our hike on the Routeburn Track up to Key Summit featured a glorious waterfall right along the path.
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The road to Milford Sound wound through steep mountains. The waterfalls were abundant on our way in through the Homer Tunnel,

but the next day, after a wildly rainy night and persistent rain that morning, new waterfalls sprang up everywhere. This is a view through the bus windows.
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I wish I had pictures from our kayak trip in Milford Sound - maybe later - because the waterfalls were everywhere, and we paddled right up to several of them.

The oddest waterfalls were in the Hooker Valley, where a couple of waterfalls simply disappeared into the scree. We couldn't see any place where they re-emerged.
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