arrived in the lovely sounds leading to Picton, with the sun trying
to come out, and the rain having stopped. Having collected another
car, we set off for Havelock
for Lunch. We then drove off to Christchurch, having booked accommodation.
We arrived in the evening, so never saw Christchurch, having arranged
to stay in Sumner, on the
outskirts. However, the journey took us passed the Kaikora
Mountains, which looked stunning from Sumner.
next day took us on a route through the Banks
Peninsular. This is quite stunning, with deep valleys, with
nestling villages. It
also has a large
harbour, since Christchurch is mostly mud flats. The journey
took us to Akaroa, the first French settlement, which still seems
to use a lot of French. The view
up one of the streets was beautiful, and the beach
front was also pretty. You can see we had gorgeous weather.
The journey on to Dunedin took us across the Canterbury
Plains. We then headed for Timaru for the night.
next day we headed for Dunedin, via Oamaru. They use a local white
stone for building, and have some
lovely buildings. During the trip, spring
has been strongly in evidence. We then headed for the Moeraki
Boulders, which were really fascinating.
They are quite large, here's
Bob for a comparison. It was very windy, as you can see from
this wind blown picture
of me. We left the
Boulders, and on the way, saw this wind
blown sea, and some Red
Billed Gulls protecting the Rubbish!
arrived in Portobello, a village on the Otago Peninsular, outside
urban Dunedin, and headed up to see the Albatross colony there.
We were privileged to see 3 Albatrosses in flight, and a chick.
There were also colonies of Stewart Islands Shags, and Spotted
Shags. We were able to get close enough to photograph individuals.
In the evening we went to watch the diminutive Blue Penguins come
into Pilot Beach at
dusk. They are only
10" high! No pictures, but there was this beautiful Fur
next day was spent on the other side of Otago Harbour, looking at
some geological structures called "Organ
Pipes", as also found on the Giant's Causeway in Ireland.
Again more stunning
scenery. We were able to see Taiaroa
Head, home of the Albatrosses from the other side, and have
a walk along a beach. We
then headed back to the Otago Peninsular to see Yellow
Eyed Penguins, which are amongst the rarest penguins in the
world. The sanctuary is well organised with hides and trenches,
allowing you to get close, and see them nesting,
They also provide nest
boxes for the penguins,The first penguin we met was called Bob!
Honest! Apparently it's believed he has been widowed, but no worries,
he's just found a new chick to keep him company! (A juvenile!)
||The next day we headed off for Invercargill,
at the very end of the South Island, via the scenic
coastal route, where we saw Sea
Lions, and their tracks
in the sand. On the same beach were these Oystercatchers
which always seem to stand on one leg, though they do have 2! We
passed a lovely field of Daffodils,
yet more evidence of spring, and went passed the beautiful Purakaunui
Falls, and a baby
version. En route, we passed by a petrified
forest, and learned
how they were formed. We finally go to the bitter
end, where we could see Stewart Island, the 3rd Island of New
Zealand, despite a howling gale, and eventually rain.
||Next destination was Te Anau. This is a beautiful,
small resort, ideally located for touring Fjord Land, and I would
recommend it to anyone, but come in the summer. We were scheduled
to visit the Glo-Worm caves, but the torrential
rain had raised the water levels too high, so the tour was cancelled.
We stayed at the Alpine
View Hotel, where they organised everything, and were very welcoming.
||The day started bright in Te Anau, but was gloomy
in Manapouri. However, the sun came out, celebrating with a rainbow.
The first stop was at a Hydro-Electric
Power Station. We then went on to Doubtful
Sound after a trip over Wilmot's Pass through snow, passing
a gushing stream. The
boat went quickly up the sound, where Bob
and I got fairly wind
swept! We passed stunning
scenery, and eventually located another species of penguin,
this time the Fjordland Yellow
Crested Penguin. By the time we returned, the sun had cleared
to present this beautiful
snow capped mountain. On our return to Te Anau we had this lovely
it was off to famous Milford Sound. We went with Trips
'n' Tramps, and the guide was really friendly, funny and informative.
We got a lovely view of Lake
Te Anau, despite the gloomy skies. The journey took us along
the Hollyford river, which was a perfect
blue colour. Passed a beautiful
cascade, and even through some thick snow. As you can see from
me, it was cold! The journey to Milford
Sound was stunning. In the Sound, we saw all the classic views,
Mitre Peak, Stirling
Falls, many other waterfalls
falling down the vertical
cliffs. On the way back down the Sound, we went right underneath
the Stirling falls.
Bob had decided to take the Helicopter
ride up to a glacier and along the valleys, I didn't have the
courage! He clearly loved
it! Finally, I got to see a Kea,
the only Alpine Parrot, and very cheeky at that!