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Newfoundland – Day 3 – St. John’s to Bonavista

Cynthia In Binavista

This morning we got up an drive to Bonavista. On the way we stopped in the unfortunately named town of Dildo

dildo

Dildo is a very cute little fishing village and was a great place to stop for some coffee and some photos.

Dildo Newfoundland

Dildo Newfoundland

We drive on and stopped in Port Rexton for another short phto break

Port Rexton Anglican Church

It was a fairly easy drive on into Bonavista and we checked into the hotel. While in Bonavista we wanted to see two things. The Bonavista Lighthouse. We ended up having fantastic light when we drive to the top of the peninsula

Bontavista Lighthouse

And the other thing we wanted to see was the puffins. There’s a place in Elliston where you can hike out and stand on the edge of a cliff next to a small island where they have their nests.

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Puffin - Elliston Newfoundland

Puffin - Elliston Newfoundland

There’s about 6-8 icebergs floating around the peninsula, some are very close to land, but not always easy to get to the piece of land that they are close to due to the terrain.

Iceberg Near Bonavista

Tonight we rest and prepare to do some exploring in Bonavista and the surrounding area tomorrow.

Newfoundland – Day 2

The time difference between Houston and Newfoundland is 2 1/2 hours. We’re adjusting well, but we’re already early risers and with the sun coming up around 5:00 am we’re out of bed by 6:00 am.

This let us get an early start on exploring as we went to Cape Spear which is the furthest east you can get in North America.

We saw our first icebergs!

Iceberg

And we had the entire site all to ourselves

Cape Spear Historic Site

Cape Spear Historic Site

After visiting Cape Spear we had some breakfast and made our way to Bay Bulls to take a whale and puffin watching tour with Gatherall’s

We say thousands of puffins and other seabirds as well as about 4 or 5 Fin Whales, the second largest mammals on the planet. Sadly, no good photos as they only briefly ever broke the surface.

I did manage to get some photos of the Common Murre

Common Murre

At one point thousands of them left their rocky perches and took to the sea

Common Murre

Common Murre

We drive for a bit more and headed up to Pouch Cove, a small and picturesque town north of St. John’s

Pouch Cove

After this we were pretty wiped. We had an early dinner and called it a day. St. John’s and the surrounding area has been just lovely.

St. John's Newfoundland

Tomorrow we head to Bonavista.

Arrival St. John’s, Newfoundland

We had a 7:00 am flight from Houston to St. John’s with a connection in Toronto. Flying Air Canada our bags were checked through to to our final destination without the need to claim them and recheck them. We grabbed our rental car and made our way to the hotel and got checked in. A great day of travel without incident.

After checking into the hotel we drive up to Signal Hill, the sight of the reception of the first transatlantic wireless transmission on 12 December 1901.

Signal Hill, St. John's

Signal Hill, St. John's

There’s a great view from up there of Fort Amherst, St. John’s

Fort Amherst, St. John's

We even saw a giant Newfoundland dog

Newfoundland Dog

From there we went back to the hotel and had dinner and we’re calling it a night. Tomorrow we drive to Witless Bay to take a boat tour to see whales and puffins.

New Zealand Day 21 – Lake Tekapo To Christchurch

jaycynthia

We made the drive from Lake Tekapo to Christchurch today. This drive was not all that spectacular. The landscape was pretty flat. The weather was very good and we made good time and were able to check into our hotel early.

We found some lunch and then went walking around the city center. I’d forgotten that Christchurch was hit by an earthquake in 2011. They are still restoring the Christchurch Cathedral and the repairs look like they will take another several years.

Chistchurch Cathedral Restoration

Chistchurch Cathedral Restoration

We fly home tomorrow and we’re looking forward to being home. We’re tired after logging well over 3,000 miles of driving. It has been an amazing trip.

All photos can be found on my Flickr page by clicking

    here

.

New Zealand Day 21 – Dunedin To Lake Tekapo

We woke up to what looked like more rain, but as we drove on to our next destination, the weather turned fine and we had a glorious day.

Our first stop was to see the Moeraki Boulders, some unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the coast of Moeraki and Hampden.

I wanted to try some long exposure techniques so I brought out my tripod and filters and these are some of the results

Moeraki Boulders

Moeraki Boulders

Moeraki Boulders

I may have gotten a little wet in my efforts to get these shots

water

We continued up the coast and I spotted a sign pointing to something called Steampunk HQ in Oamaru so we stopped to have a look. It was pretty cool to see.

Steampunk HQ, Oamaru

From there we turned inland and drive to Lake Pukaki and followed the coast to Mt. Cook. The scenery was just spectacular

Lupins At Lake Pukaki

Road Near Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

Mt. Cook was covered in cloud and fog so we didn’t really get to see it. We turned around and drove on to Lake Tekapo and found our hotel.

Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki are the most amazing shade of turquoise blue I have ever seen. It’s due to the the glacier run off…something called glacial flour which is a term for the byproduct of the rocks being ground to powder by the glaciers.

The Lupins here are in full bloom and all over the place. It really is quite beautiful

Lupins At Lake Tekapo

Tomorrow we drive to Christchurch for our final day in New Zealand before flying home on Tuesday.

New Zealand Day 20 – Dunedin

We had an extra day scheduled in Dunedin that included some time on our own in the morning and a tour of the Penguin Place Yellow-Eyed Penguin Preserve and a cruise in Dunedin Harbor in the afternoon.

The weather was not so great and we were not very enthusiastic about our prospects. And we are getting very tired. We decided to take the morning and just relax. We got a little bored and walked over to the Dunedin Botanical Gardens which were nice, but then it started raining so we went back to the hotel.

At about 1:00 pm we were scheduled to be picked up by the tour operator so we decided what the heck and bundled up and met the bus and went on the tour.

The first stop was the preserve where we learned about the plight of the Yellow-Eyed Penguin. Turns out there are only about 700 on the mainland so the one we saw yesterday was really a rare sight.

Cynthia @ Penguin Place, Dunedin, NZ

At the penguin preserve they give you warm rain coats for the rainy days. This made things much better.

After they give their presentation they take the group through a series of blinds where you can observe the penguins.

Cynthia @ Penguin Place, Dunedin, NZ

Penguin Place, Dunedin, NZ

Penguin Place, Dunedin, NZ

THe next part of the tour was a trip out on the harbor on a small boat. Again we were provided with warm jackets

Cynthia On The Monarch - Dunedin

It was a little gloomy and wet, but we had a good time. We got to see some wildlife which was nice and Cynthia really enjoyed herself.

Dunedin Harbor

Albatross

We got back to the hotel pretty late and had some dinner and went to bed.

Next stop, Lake Tekapo

New Zealand Day 19 – Invercargill To Dunedin

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Today we woke up to a bit of rain, which was disappointing as the drive was through a spectacular piece of the Southern Scenic Route. Happy to say that after a few hours it cleared up quite nice. The wind, though, was very strong. At one point we parked to take in the view and when we opened up the doors of the car the crosswind was so strong it flung the doors open and almost sucked all our loose items out and into the sea.

Along this drive we encountered Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls New Zealand

Niagara Falls New Zealand

A rare Yellow-Eyed Penguin near Curio Bay

Yellow-Eyed Penguin - Curio Bay

The beautiful Matai Falls

Matai Falls

And toward the end, before finding our way to Dunedin, we drove several miles along a gravel track and hiked for a bit to visit the lighthouse at Nugget Point

Nugget Point

From which we had some spectacular views of the ocean

Nugget Point

We have a full day tomorrow to explore the area around Dunedin and we’re hoping for favorable weather

Knox Church | Dunedin