A Travellerspoint blog

A few more photos

Here are a few more of our favourites:

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Posted by nzaqua 21:26 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Overall Impressions - Closing Entry

What a beautiful place the South Island of NZ is. The roads are well maintained and every journey is a scenic journey. There is so little traffic on the roads that you can go at a leisurely pace and enjoy the beautiful vistas without anyone getting impatient with you. The South Island has spectacular mountains, impressive fertile plains, huge braided rivers, big deep green rivers, beautiful blue and tourquoise lakes, rocky hill sides, smooth green hillsides, waterfalls, glaciers..... around every corner is another postcard. You will also receive a warm welcome everywhere you go. We found delicacies such as salmon, blue cod, scallops, whitebait, and wonderful pinot noirs. We found lots of evidence and stories of the rich and colourful history of Central Otago, Mt Cook, Akaroa, Oamaru and the West Coast to name but a few. There are luxuries such as merino wool, gold and pounamu (green stone) to tempt you. There is rare wildlife too - little blue penguins, yellow eyed penguins, hectors dolpins, seals and whales, the white heron (kotuku), keas and native pigeons (keruru). There are lots of places you can go to just enjoy the silence in solitude and remember what life is really about. In short, the South Island of New Zealand is magnificant. If you have been thinking about going there, dont hestitate, start planning. You wont regret it. Thank you for giving us a most memorable holiday.

Posted by nzaqua 23:05 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 13 - Hokitika to Christchurch

overcast 12 °C

We had our last feed of whitebait last night before farewelling Hokitika this morning. The day was a bit brighter to begin with but we encountered drizzle again shortly into our journey. We had a pleasant trip through the scenic and impressive Otira Gorge and stopped at the lookout to stretch legs and look at the views. Whilst our backs were turned, a Kea decided to take up residence on the roof of our rental car. After we (and the gathering crowd) had photographed him, we tried to encourage him to move away but he was having nothing of it and we eventually drove away with him still in the roof! We presume he flew off eventually. We continued through the changing landscapes - the top of the Waimakariri River which has carved a huge braided river bed amongst the hills, then the flat areas around Lake Grassmere and over the last lot of mountains where it was snowing. A short while later we arrived in Springfield where we stopped for lunch which included a Homer Donut (had to do it!) Just past Springfield we turned off and headed towards Oxford which is lovely little town. It was another scenic drive through here to Rangiora where we started looking for lodgings for the night. The few motels in Rangiora and Kaiapoi we found all had no vacancies (due to cutting our stay in Franz Josef short by a day we have arrived in Christchurch one day earlier than expected so have no accommodation booked), so we finish up in a place in Belfast on the ouskirts of Christchurch. We will fill in the day here in Christchurch today and fly home tomorrow so this will be the final day entry. I will add one more once home to recap the whole trip.
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Posted by nzaqua 11:23 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 12 - Franz Josef Glacier to Hokitika

overcast 12 °C

This morning was not raining when we woke but still very cloudy and still no visibilty of the mountain from our "mountain view" room. We decided to make the most of the break in the weather and wander around the town before breakfast. It starting raining again shortly after we got back to our room so we left Franz Josef never having seen the mountains behind the town. We detoured off the main road not far out of Franz Josef to explore Okarito Lagoon, once a thriving gold town and the natural habitat of the Kotuku. We spent a bit of time exploring the history of the area. Sadly no photo opportunities because the misty rain meant no light and no visibility. Back to the main road, our next stop was Ross, another once thriving gold town. We visited the museum and wandered about some of the old relics. Still raining. It didnt clear until we were almost in Hokitika where the sea breeze is keeping the clouds moving. It is cloudy here but not raining and much brighter than what we have had for past 2 days - we dont know how the locals deal with the persistent rain further south. As we crossed the river into town we could see the whitebaiters lining the sides of the river near the mouth in every direction. Once in town, we sought out another whitebait sandwich, visited the visitor centre, wandered around the shops then explored the museum (which is excellent) for an hour or so. We are now resting in our room which is overlooking the wild west coast beach watching the waves crashing in - very pleasant.
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Posted by nzaqua 20:14 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 11 - Haast to Franz Josef Glacier

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We had a pleasant meal in the Hotel Bar/Dining room last night which included whitebait patties for entree. There were locals and a bunch of blokes visiting from out of town for the whitebaiting. We chatted to a few. It rained all night and was still raining this morning. We had the whitebait breakfast at the hotel (yes that was whitebait for lunch, dinner and breakfast) then hit the road. The first stop was Knights Point which should have offered impressive views of the rugged cliffs and the sea below but it was so closed in that while we could hear the sea, we could see nothing at all. There were many other potentially scenic views on the way but not to be ours today. We arrived in Franz Josef at lunch time not sure if we wanted to stay at all. The motelier convinced us that the walk to the glacier was worth it even in the rain (and there was the hot pools down the road for afterwards) so we changed our stay from two nights to one. The walk up to Sentinel Rock was not difficult but the rain did not let up. The birds flitting about the sodden bush were the highlight. From the top of Sentinel Rock we could see the glacier but it was shrouded in misty cloud and impossible to photograph. We went into town and watched a movie at the alpine centre in the hope of seeing more of the glacier, but it only had a small section on the glacier, then we went to soak in the hot pools in the rain for an hour or so - lovely! We have a "mountain view" room but can see nothing at the moment. We are hopeful of a glimpse in the morning before we leave but the weather forecast is not promising.
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Posted by nzaqua 21:57 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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