Raderstorf World Wide Adventure

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Lions and Rhinos and Mozambican Spitting Cobras, Oh My!! By Ben

Kruger National Park is one of the most visited wildlife parks in the world, and you can see why. Hundreds of thousands of acres of unspoiled bush stretch as far as the eye can see. Picturesque waterholes are visited every night by elephants, antelope, Burchell’s zebra, and safari jeeps full of camera-wielding tourists. The only evidence of civilization is dirt roads and the occasional, isolated safari lodge.

During one of our stays we were guided around the bush by CJ, a ranger who never grew up. He highlighted our tours with his ingenious mud missiles and his wacky dung spitting contests (no, you don’t want to know). But not only does he light up the game drives, but he spends all of the meals telling the most amazing stories about his life.

Although it seems dangerous, none of the camps had fences; only one had two lines of electric fence to keep out the elephants. Warthogs and hyenas literally waltzed right up to your front door. We had a spitting cobra try to crawl in our room. The food in the bush is amazing. The nearest town is an hour away, so even the bread is homemade. Many of the camps have their own five-star chef.

I truly hope that this wonderful experience will be available for everyone for generations to come.

To see the Amazing Pics, Click here :
http://www.flickr.com/photos/raderstorfwwa/sets/186478/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/raderstorfwwa/sets/186476/

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Sydney - What a cool City!!! by Ben

Sydney is an amazing city. We stayed in an apartment that had the most picture perfect view of the harbour, bridge and Opera House.

While we were in Sydney we met up with some friends who had lived in Boulder for a few year working for my dad’s company, Les & Iris. The time we were there just happened to land on the day of their engagement party. The party was very fun and we all learned how to play cricket.

We also went to the Taronga park zoo. It was one of the coolest zoo's any of us had ever seen. The easiest way to get around Sydney is by ferry. The ferries go almost everywhere and run every half an hour. We also visited the Maritime museum, which was very cool, and the aquarium.

Sydney is a very cool city and I hope to go back.

To see the Pics, Click here :

Sydney : http://www.flickr.com/photos/raderstorfwwa/sets/186459/
Zoo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/raderstorfwwa/sets/186465/
Les & Iris's Party : http://www.flickr.com/photos/raderstorfwwa/sets/186468/
Museums : http://www.flickr.com/photos/raderstorfwwa/sets/186466/

Monday, March 07, 2005

Doubtful Sound by Max

Our tour in Doubtful Sound started with a boat ride. The boat took us across Lake Manapouri. On the boat we saw leaning peak, some beautiful hills that were a cross between L.O.T.R and Jurassic Park and due to the large rain fall the day before here were a bunch of temporary waterfalls as well as some larger permanent waterfalls. Soon we arrived at our first stop, The Hydro Electric Power Plant. After an interesting tour through it we got on a bus. The bus ride was just as beautiful as the boat ride but that is about all I can do to describe it. At the end of the bus ride we boarded another larger boat that was sailing up the sound. That trip was just about as scenic as the last one but a lot more eventful. For example, we saw both seals and dolphins. But a few hours later we found ourselves back at the hotel. After a short dinner we were all ready for bed.

To see the Pics, Click Here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/raderstorfwwa/sets/156761/

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Adventures on a NZ Sheep Farm By Quin

We went to a sheep farm . They had tons of dogs. They were good dogs. One of the dogs I made a friend with. One of the dogs chased 1,100 sheep.

To see the Pics, Click Here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/raderstorfwwa/sets/155775/

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Women Rock in New Zealand

Kia ora! This Kiwi greeting means hello, good luck and good health in Maori, one of New Zealand's two official languages. I’m in the beautiful capital city of Wellington, surrounded by water, hills and lots of green space. Besides taking in incredible beauty, my most memorable experience has been visiting the New Zealand Parliament. We happened upon the government complex by accident on an early morning stroll. Without the presence of security guards and blockades of any kind, I found it impossible to believe that this was the national seat of government. One side of the complex is guarded by a three foot high picket fence. Imagine that!

New Zealand, the first country to grant universal suffrage in 1893, operates under a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system. It has eight different parties currently represented on the debating chamber floor, including the green party and the Maori party. Over a quarter of the MP seats and most of the top positions including Prime Minister, Speaker of the House, Governor General, Chief Justice and Maori Party leader are ALL held by women.
The New Zealand government prioritizes families, economic growth and the environment. The Right Honorable Helen Clark had this to say after the release of the recent budget, "The overall effect of Budget 2004 will be to help build a nation which is innovative, enterprising, confident and more prosperous, and which, most importantly, cares for all its people." Three of the women MP’s have set out on a social policy tour entitled Mothers on the Road to gather tried and proven local ideas for helping children at risk. They are looking at the issues from “the perspective of mothers, not politicians.”
I left the Parliament building feeling such excitement that mothers here are truly shaping public policy--and New Zealand is thriving because of it (the NZ dollar is at an all time high). How fortunate we are to have such a brilliant model; upon my return, I will lobby my elected officials to add a section to the home page of US government websites, Participate in Government. Me whai wāhi ki ngā mahi Kāwanatanga. Get involved and have your say.
Kia ora!

New Zealand from Ben, Max and Quin

North Island

The approach into Auckland was beautiful. Rolling green hillsides dotted with thousands of small white specks, just a small percentage of the fifty million sheep in New Zealand. It was so beautiful that we almost forgot our nasty brush with Garuda Airlines and the N.Z. immigration rules the night before, but that is another story for another time. Unfortunately no matter how beautiful it is, New Zealand is a western country. We realized this when it became apparent that they wanted you to book ahead to rent a campervan instead of just showing up. We, after hours of searching, found the last campervan in the north island. That is when we found that they actually wanted a driver’s license to rent a car. Obviously, Mom and Dad’s had been lost in the Tsunami. In Vietnam, you can rent a Tank without a license if you wanted to. I guess we’re back in the western world. Thankfully, we got a copy faxed, and they were nice enough to take it. By the time we got to bed that night, we were all very tired, even with the time change.
The next day’s drive was very beautiful, but compared to what was coming up, it was quite boring. That night we stayed at a trailer park on the beach. This was a mistake because half of us were not able to sleep due to the pounding surf. You would think we would learn, but we stayed by the shore of Lake Taupo among roaring surf a few nights later.
From the east coast we worked our way inland visiting Hobbitton and Tongariro National park. The Hobbitton set was interesting but a little overpriced. As for Tongariro, it cost nothing at all and was one of our highlights. It was the LOTR filming site for Ewyn Muil, Mordor, Mt. Doom, and the forests of Ithlien. It is made up of three Volcanoes, Rupehu Ngruahoe, and Tongariro. Many wonderful hikes wound their way up to the very crater of all the volcanoes.
One of the worst things we did in the next three days was the Agradome sheep show. It was the touristiest thing we have done and expensive. Mom had heard it was a “must do”. Before long we arrived in Wellington, Capital and third largest city (200,000 people) in New Zealand. We had a few days to burn so we rented a small apartment. A friend in Boulder has friends in Wellington so we met up with them. Wellington is a fabulous city. It looks big, but you can walk across it in less than an hour. Wellington is wonderful city and Sunday evening came far too soon. The Interislander ferry was very cool, but we were all sad to see the lights of Wellington disappear around the bend.

South Island

The ferry unloaded in Picton, a small town in the Marlborough sounds. We drove a half an hour to Blenheim, the largest town in the area. There we met up with Eric Kloor, a friend from Boulder. We spent the evening with him and the next day drove to Nelson. From there we explored Abel Tasman National park. It’s like a mix between Jurassic Park, southern Thailand, and New Mexico. We half expected a dinosaur to cross the road at any minute. From there we went to Kiokura. We swam with the seals and had a great time (I’m sure you would love it here Spencer). From there we took the train to Christchurch where we exchanged the camper for a minivan. Christchurch is very cool (only one cathedral so far) Tomorrow we are off to see Wanaka, Queenstown and the Southern Alps.