Thursday, 29 December 2011

NZ catch-up: Christmas in South Island

No blog posts for a while now, sorry about that. We've been out in the wilds exploring South Island, having a totally awesome time. Here's the quick summary…

Headed down to Kaikoura and surprised K with an early Christmas present - swimming with dolphins. Totally amazing and well worth getting up at 5am. We had five or more of the little critters circling us at a time, all at arms length. Totally wild too, and just intrigued to come and play with the strange clumsy humans.
Kaikoura - Spot the dolphin
After that we headed over Arthurs Pass - spectacular alpine scenery, plus our first encounter with the Kea, NZ's cheeky mountain parrot. These guys are extremely inquisitive and love to steal stuff from right under your nose - or off your plate. Definitely my favourite NZ wildlife so far (no offence dolphins, you are great too).
Kea attempts to steal my laptop
Cruising down the mountainous west coast we took a helicopter ride over Franz Josef glacier. This was brilliant and, as we took our ride from a ways north up the coast, we got to see a whole lot of the mountain range and a couple of other glaciers; much better than the "up and back" tours you get at higher cost from the glacier resort towns themselves. Floor to ceiling windows meant we got some good photo ops :-)

Glacier flight

As Christmas approached we left the West coast and crossed the mountains once again, stopping at the North end of Lake Wanaka. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on a tiny backcountry campsite right on the lake's edge, watching the sun play across the mountains all around and swimming in the (freezing) lake. It was hot and sunny and we got to BBQ on the beach in solitude - perfect :-)
NZ Christmas!
Since then we've flowing through Queenstown without slowing down and spent today at Milford Sound. Totally amazing scenery down here, definitely a match for Yosemite (my yardstick for soaring cliffs). We've lucked out again with decent weather, actually seeing sun on the Sound and not getting rained on at all.
Moody Milford Sound
Tonight we're in another backcountry campsite, back up the valley a bit from Milford Sound. Surrounded by mountains, we're at the edge of a clearing dotted with lupins. Chicken on the BBQ today, accompanied by asparagus and potatoes. Happy Christmas!


Solvnotan said...

Tack för alla fina bilder, känns nästan som att vi är med på er resa. Så mycket ni får se. Ha nu en trevlig nyårsfest tillsammans med Jenny och hennes pojkvän, hälsa till dom, var rädda om er och Gott Nytt År, puss från mamma

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the update. We too, had trouble with the Kea's, they wanted to pull the rubbers off windscreen wipers. Enjoy the new Year and a safe journey back. Love Mum & Dad