Friday, March 31, 2017

New Zealand 2017 Second Post

Kathy is prepared for our three hour walk through a rain forest in the rain.  She is posed here on the Rainbow Bridge.

Typical trail track through the rain forest.

A little bit of sunset shot from the front yard of our hotel in Te Anau

The road from Queenstown to Wanaka had just a few twist and turns.

Queenstown is under the cloud layer in this picture.

In Wanaka on our first day we climbed to a lookout above Diamond Lake.

Diamond Lake

The Wanaka Tree is very popular with photographers.  At sunrise or sunset it is not unusual to see a line of photographers here. I got up at 4 am to get a milky way picture.  Another photographer arrived shortly after me.

We climbed Mount Roy to get a great view of Lake Wanaka.  The hike had an elevation gain of 4200 feet over 6 miles.

Mount Aspiring is the snow capped mountain in the background.

From Wanaka we drove to Franz Josef. There were several waterfalls along our route.

A walk lined with tree ferns.

This walk was great for working out sore leg muscles from the previous day's climb.

In the late 1800's a boy of eight was exploring on his own.  He spent the night at this location. They named the pool after him, so it is called Peter's Pool.

The skies in Franz Josef were overcast with fog hiding the mountains so we drove to Gillespies Beach.  The beach was full of smooth rocks.

Another Gillespies Beach shot.

Fox Glacier is located at the back of this valley.  You can't get closer unless you take a helicopter ride. 

The rocks are coated with a red lichen.  The rivers in the area are full of finely ground rock from the glaciers.

With fog still covering Franz Josef Glacier we drove out to Okarito for a hike up a hill to a lookout.

There were great views up and down the coast from the lookout.

There were Pohutukawa trees with their beautiful red flowers on our walk.

This is a Tomtit Bird

Okarito was a harbor during the gold rush period on the west coast of New Zealand.  Gold was found on the beaches.  This is a youth hostel.

The Okarito harbor was infamous for silting in and leaving ships stranded.  After large rains the men of the town would hand dig new scouring channels in the harbor.

This is an original building from the gold rush period.  I think store keepers always ended up with more gold than the miners.

Albert's hut was about 6 feet square.

This place was named Lazy Acres.  It looked like the owner just dropped tools anywhere after he was finished with them.

On our last day in Franz Josef the clouds finally lifted enough so we would see the glacier.  These waterfalls were on our hike to the glacier.

This is a Kea.  I believe he was looking for a handout.  They are a member of the parrot family.

Franz Josef glacier

Time for a picture before we head to Lake Matheson.  This will be our third trip to this lake.  It is known for great reflections of Mount Cook.  The first time we went the wind was whipping the water.  The second time we went the mountains were covered by fog.  Hoping to get lucky.

Finally got the reflection picture I wanted.

 Tomorrow we leave Franz Josef for Westport for a day, then onto Nelson and finally back to Christchurch to complete our tour of New Zealand. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

New Zealand 2017 - First Post

After two delayed flights we arrived in Christchurch on March 22 late in the afternoon.  After a little shopping and a quick meal we drove 5 hours to Mount Cook National Park.  The next morning we hiked the Hooker Valley Track.  We hoped the clouds would clear as forecast so we could get a good view of Mount Cook.  Kathy is standing on the first of three suspension bridges we will traverse on our way to the lake.  She is patiently waiting for me to finish taking this picture.

The valley we were hiking through was carved by glaciers.  You can see glacial ice poking through the clouds.

This is the outflow from Hooker Lake.  The water is very chalky in the lake.

This is a mountain daisy.  Most of the flowering plants had already bloomed and gone to seed.

This is Mount Sefton on the Hooker Valley Track.

There are small icebergs floating in Tasman Lake.  The Tasman Glacier is located at the rear of this lake but it is hard to pick out because it is covered with grey rocks and dust just like the iceberg in the center of the picture.

Another Tasman Lake picture with Mount Cook in the background.

The hike to this lake was listed as the Blue Lake hike but the lake is no longer blue.  It was blue when it was glacier fed but now the water source is rain.

The view from Kea Point Lookout.

When we hiked the Hooker Valley Track earlier in the day I spotted this location as a possible sunset spot.  So I talked Kathy into walking back there again to get this shot.  We hiked over 15 miles our first full day in New Zealand.

The next day we drove to Fiordland National Park.  That night was going to be our only clear sky night so I went out for star pictures.  I like this cloud picture at twilight better than my star picture.

Kathy and I booked a boat trip on Milford Sound.  Milford Sound was a two hour drive from our hotel.  On the way we stopped at Chasm Falls to grab a photo before the bus loads of tourists arrived.

The Mitre Cap at Milford Sound.

We were fortunate to get a sunny day for our cruise of Milford Sound.  There are quite a few waterfalls in the Sound.  There was a rainbow in the mist from this waterfall.

The two and a half boat cruise was advertised as a nature cruise, but the only wildlife we saw were eight New Zealand fur seals on or around this rock.

Sunrays highlighted one of the largest waterfalls.

On rainy days there are even more falls into the Sound.

On the way back to our hotel we stopped at Mirror Lakes.  But with the wind there was no mirror effect.

I spotted this line of yellow flowers and thought they would make a great leading line to the mountains.  Little did I know that they were sitting in 3 inches of water.  One wet foot later I decided to take this picture instead.

Kathy and I walked 8 miles in the rain this morning through a rain forest in Fiordland National Park.  We got just a little wet.  We found out that Kathy's rain gear was much better than mine.  This afternoon she is doing laundry and I am working on a blog.

Tomorrow we are off to Lake Wanaka and hopefully some sunshine.