What I've learned so far about traveling in New Zealand is that it isn't cheap, but this country offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you won't find anywhere else.
As Will mentioned in his last post, we've been road-tripping a bit outside of the Auckland area to see more of what the North Island offers. Our big stop was the tour of White Island, the only active marine volcano in New Zealand.
It was beautiful, of course.
But also rather ominous.
We donned the silly-looking gas masks to avoid breathing in the sulfurous fumes that were plentiful on the island, to say the least. In fact, the above picture was taken just moments before the wind direction unexpectedly changed, and the poor Brothers Price were engulfed in the fumes. Quoth Will, "I've never gagged on sulfur before."
Here our tour guide is explaining to us that the last eruption occurred about 10 years ago, and in the unlikely event of an eruption while we were on the island, they would "do their best" to make sure we were evacuated promptly.
Reading between the lines, "If the volcano goes off, we'll all die, so none of you can sue us. Also you signed forms on the way here acknowledging you wouldn't sue, so, yeah. Hopefully it doesn't go off, aye?"
Here, Nick holds a remnant of the last eruption, which in 2000 spewed mud and scoria into the air and created a new crater.
Despite the smelly fumes, it was an important tour in that we were reminded of both the power of nature and the fragility of humankind. It wasn't necessarily the nicest feeling to dwell on, but it was important nonetheless.
Plus, it wasn't all scary! On the boat ride over, we spotted whales...
And dolphins! The dolphins came especially close to the boat, and even swam alongside us for a bit.
Anyway, for a quick update for today, we're back in Auckland and we'll be going downtown for the first time later tonight.
You also may have noticed that I added a new tag today, entitled "defying common sense." I did this purposefully, as tomorrow the Brothers Price are embodying the epitome of 'defying common sense' and jumping off this building:
It's only 1,076 ft tall.
Be sure to check back tomorrow to see the jump!