This site last updated on  29-Sep-2003
We 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.
The 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.
The 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!

We 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 Seal.

The 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, walking around. 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 waterfalls, 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 sunset.
Finally, 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!