New Zealand
New Zealand is in the southern hemispher across the Tasman sea from the southeast coast of Australia. There are two large islands: the north Island has the largest city, Auckland; the south island is famous for the Southern Alps and temperate rainforests. New Zealand also has numerous smaller islands--we hike across Steward Island to see Kiwi birds.

We splurge for a small plane ride around the highest peak on the islands,12,346-foot Mount Cook, then land on the Franz Joseph Glacier.
The native Maori people call New Zealand's highest mountain Aurangi , (also spelled Aoraki) which mean "Cloud Piercer." When the first Europeans arrived they renamed it Mount Cook, after the ship captain who explored much of the south Pacific. Today, that is the name listed on most maps.
Today global warming is threatening most of the world's glaciers.

While the tops of the alps are covered with snow and ice, the lower slopes of many of the mountains are covered with temperate rainforest--a cool temperature rainforest filled with moss and ferns.

We take six weeks off our bikes to hike, or "tramp" as it is called in New Zealand, through many beautiful National Parks.

We hike in the dense rainforest, all the plants are soaking wet. Giant tree ferns grow everywhere. The forest floor is thick with moss. The exotic songs of the Bellbird and Tui reverberate up and down the valley.

These rare yellow-eyed penguins are about 30 inches tall. The birds on the left has been taged on its wing by wildlife biologists studying thier population and habitat.
Following a tip from a local bird watcher, we get permission from a farmer to camp on a private beach where there is a colony of yellow-eyed penguins.

We bicycle across miles of sheep pasture, then set up our tent and walk down the beach. Using sand dunes for cover, we slowly work our way closer, making sure we are not disturbing the penguins. Unconcerned about us, they continue to preen, so we get even closer.

After making a few photos we back up to give the penguins plenty of room. Late in the afternoon about 150 penguins come out of the ocean, waddle across the beach, and march up into the dunes to spend the night.

For the complete story of our world bicycle trip, read our book:

The Road
of Dreams

A two-year hiking and bicycling adventure around the world.

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