Today we drove south to Invercargill. This is the furthest south we are traveling on this trip. More fine weather and stunning scenery as we drove
When we were filling up with petrol before getting underway the gas station attendant asked about our journey. He indicated we should stop at two places along the way. The first was a place called Monkey Island
And the second was a tiny fishing village called Cozy Nook
Both of these locations were well worth a stop and we enjoyed them immensely.
We made good time and were in Invercargill just after lunchtime so we decided to drive onto Bluff. Bluff is pretty much as far south as you can get on the mainland. There’s not much there, but Stirling Point is quite pretty on a pretty day with its lighthouse, giant anchor chain sculpture and an amusing signpost.
We then drove back to Invercargill and checked into our hotel. Once that was complete it was off to E. Hayes & Sons Ltd which is like a cross between Academy and Ace Hardware. We wanted to see Burt Munro’s “World Fastest Indian” motorcycle which is on display in the store.
They had quite a collection of other unique motorcycles on display as well
I don’t think I ever knew the Chevrolet made a motorcycle
All in all, a great day. Tomorrow we drive to Lake Tekapo
This was the day I really wanted sunshine, and New Zealand delivered! We woke up to clear skies and a bit of frost and the forecast indicated the sunshine would continue and it would get a bit warmer.
Our schedule was to drive the Milford Road for 2 hours to meet our ship to cruise around Milford Sound (actually it’s a fjord) for 2 1/2 hours.
We decided to allocate 3 hours drive time just to be on the safe side.
We got underway and as we climbed into the Southern Alps we were in great spirits as we marvelled at the scenery. We came to an overlook and decided to pull over because there was a great view. When I got out of the car I noticed a Kea Parrot on the railing.
I was really hoping to see these birds. The Kea is the only mountain parrot in the world and is only found in New Zealand.
Kea Parrots are known for their destructive nature and they frequently chew the rubber bits off of cars, causing extensive damage if left to their own devices. As we got back in the car and were getting ready to leave we heard something on the roof. The Kea and hopped on to the top of our car and was up to no good.
We shoo’d him off and got on our way before he could cost us our deposit on the rental.
We arrived at the terminal to catch our cruise and got checked in
The weather continued to shine and we had an awesome time cruising around Milford Sound.
We really enjoyed the cruise and we enjoyed taking a leisurely drive back to Te Anau.
Tomorrow we drive to Invercargill. This will be the furthest south we get before turning back to drive up the east coast of the North Island.
We woke up early, as usual, and packed up to drive to Te Anau. This drive was relatively short and will put us in position to visit the magnificent Milford Sound tomorrow.
On the road we encountered llamas, deer and a group of curious cows
The drive took us through more magnificent countryside.
We arrived in Te Anau before lunch time, but we were able to get checked into our hotel without a problem.
We took the day to relax and walk around Lake Te Anau
Cynthia managed to get the best bird photo of the trip, the Tui Bird seen here eating from this bush.
Tomorrow, the Milford Road and a cruise on Milford Sound. Weather is looking good for this.
Today was ours to explore Queenstown. We had breakfast and went for a walk around Lake Wakatipu to take in the sites.
The weather was really nice so we opted to take a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw, a 1912 Edwardian vintage twin screw steamer. It was a beautiful boat and a wonderful experience to take in the sites of the lake from this vessel.
When we got back to Queenstown we had a nice lunch and then headed up to the Skyline Gondola to take in the views of the city and the lake from Bob’s Peak.
The ride up may have frightened Cynthia a wee bit…
Tomorrow we we have a relatively short drive to Te Anau which will be our launching point for the drive to Milford Sound.
Sadly, The Fanz Josef and even the Fox Glacier were a bust. Rain was coming down pretty steady and it was just not conducive to making the trek out to see them. Even the helicopters were grounded. We had a long drive ahead of us and decided to make our way to our next destination which was Queenstown.
Despite the rain and gloom, there was still some amazing sites to see, especially the clouds and mist as it came over the mountains.
The rain did begin to subside as we moved on and we made a few stops along the way, like this one to see the Thunder Creek Falls
As we drove down the Haast River we had our first Lupin sighting
Our midpoint on this leg of the journey was Wanaka where I wanted to see the most photographed tree in New Zealand
We also saw some purple lupins, Cynthia’s favorite.
We then made our way up New Zealand’s highest sealed road, Crown Range Road which rises up to 3530 ft above sea level
We then descended into Queenstown just as the sky began to clear.
Also, today is Cynthia’s birthday. To celebrate we had dinner at an amazing restaurant called the Blue Kanu which serves food that mixes both Pacifica and Asian style, and blending the two cultures it aims to create a style and feel that they call “Polynasia”. Simply put, it was fantastic.
Tomorrow we explore Queenstown.
Today started out pretty good, but the weather turned rainy as we made our way to Franz Josef Glacier. The drive was interesting, especially all the one lane bridges. This one also doubled as a train bridge.
(Photo by Cynthia)
We got checked in to the hotel and are taking the opportunity to do some laundry. The rain is falling steadily so it doesn’t look like we’ll get to see the glacier.
Took some time to try my hand at some astrophotography. The Milky Way was setting soon after the sunset so it was low on the horizon. Not perfect, but I am happy for my first attempt.
Today the weather was as good as it gets. Cool temperatures and blazing blue skies. We drive from Nelson to Punakaiki via Westport and Cape Foulwind.
Heading west we drove along Buller Gorge which is a very scenic drive where we had the opportunity to stop by the longest swing bridge in New Zealand. Oddly enough, Cynthia was terrified of the bridge. Still, she managed to work up her courage and made the crossing and was very proud of herself.
From there we drove to Cape Foulwind, which was not as foul as the name might imply.
From there we drive a short distance to see the Seal Colony at Tauranga Bay
After enjoying these sites we continued down the coast to our final destination of the day, The Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.