We started the trip in Wellington, where my husband had been working for a month. This was the view out the hotel room.
We rented a car in Wellington and drove north to Napier, on the eastern shore of the north island. Napier was demolished in a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in 1931 and the town was rebuilt in the art deco style.
Earthquakes and volcanoes tend to go together and New Zealand has both. From Napier we drove inland to the town of Taupo, which is on a huge lake created from one of the world's most violent volcanic eruptions. Fortunately for humans, it happened about 26,500 years ago. Just north of Taupo are some geothermal areas. Credit for this photo goes to my husband.
We ended our journey in Auckland. We took advantage of a beautiful, sunny day to take the ferry over to Devonport, which is where this photo of the Auckland skyline was captured.
New Zealand is of course known for sheep. According to this website there are 12 sheep for every person in New Zealand. So of course I shopped for yarn. I even prepared a list of all the stores to stop at along our route. But just because they have sheep doesn't mean it's a knitter's paradise. Wool production is big business so most of the wool is exported, but there are some NZ made yarns. The real attraction of these NZ yarns is that many are blended with possum. These possum are not the bald possums we have in the US. NZ possums have soft fur, which is used for clothing and accessories because they are non-natural pests that don't belong and kill native birds.
So I helped the New Zealand economy and helped alleviate them of some possum...although not directly off of a roadkill or trapped possum. The clerk in one knitting store described to us in detail how she baits and traps possum in her yard and often gets up in the middle of the night to get the fur once the animal is caught because she said you only have about 4 hours to do so. Nice. I would have loved to have acquired some possum fur for spinning (it must be mixed with other fiber though) but I never came across any for sale. I couldn't even find any wool roving except for a store display, which prompted a pet of course. I did find plenty of merino/possum blend yarn though, which was much easier to get through customs anyway.
I also did a bit of fabric shopping while I was there as well. Within a few hours of arriving, (and after a nice shower and change of clothes) I found myself in Arthur Toye Fabrics in downtown Wellington. I didn't even have this fabric store on my list and literally stumbled across it. Lucky me, they were having a 50% off sale in anticipation of a short move across town. I found two must-have additions to my stash: a beautifully textured cotton/wool plaid and a luscious high end polyester. I hugged my package of fabric tight as I struggled through the horizontal rain and gale-force winds. Welcome to Wellington in winter! Later I picked up a nice piece of cotton/nylon fabric at Fabryx in Taupo. Also in Taupo I bought a selection of fat quarters at Clever Hands, all with a New Zealand theme. Here's the entire haul:
Here I am in Devonport. Note what is behind my right shoulder and part of the reason I'm smiling. The other part is of course that I'm looking at my wonderful husband who was so patient and accommodating of my mission to seek out the yarn and fabric stores on our vacation...and buy more yarn and fabric for my stash.
There definitely are knitters in Devonport. We spied these two works of knitting graffiti:
I'll try to post more pictures and maybe a video or two, mostly of sheep out the window of the car as we drove.