Sunday, 25 September 2016

Southern Jaunt - part four

Our trip from Wanaka to Franz Josef was absolutely spectacular, from the lake scenery ...

Lake Hawea
.... through to Haast Pass (with a walk through beech forest to the Blue Pools along the way)

Blue Pools

Haast Pass

... and then up the glacier highway, travelling through amazing ancient forest. We arrived at Glacier View Motel in time to enjoy a dog walk just across the road, with bush and mountain views.

Franz Josef walk

Max - tired but happy!
The next day we visited Franz Josef glacier - it has receded significantly since we last visited it about 15 years ago when it extended down to the toe of these hills.

Franz Josef glacier

We stayed at Reefton on our last night with wood pigeons snacking outside our window at the Bellbird Motel.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Southern Jaunt - part three

After a brief meeting of the tribes at Pam and Ian's accommodation, we returned to our cabin at Lake Outlet - an uninspiring name but a beautiful spot with lake and alpine views. We settled in (Sue stayed with us too) and watched the rugby.

Lake Outlet Cottage

Dean and Max on the Lake Outlet foreshore

Next morning dawned brilliantly fine again, as it was to be for the remainder of our trip, We walked around Wanaka, chatting and taking in the town - which despite being more touristy than previously, still has the feel of a village where you can bump into each other on the promenade. Later that night we all congregated at the Bradshaw digs for a sumptuous Thai takeaway meal.

Still later that night, back at Lake Outlet, Max got to indulge in a little rabbit-hunting under the full moon which he was always up for, even if it meant leaving the fireside.

Next day we checked out bookshops, galleries and walked around Lake Outlet. Photos don't really do justice to the brilliant dazzle of snow, and the way the light hitting the slopes would continuously change in the evenings.

More views from our cottage
 We took a drive to Lake Hawea. Get a sense of the size of that vista!

Lake Hawea (Max and Dean at the centre of the picture!)
The next day was the family celebration for Pam and Ian's 50th wedding anniversary complete with champagne, speeches and rustic fine dining.

From left: Sophie, Annabel, Pam, Ian, Mal, Benjamin and Sue (and Max under the table hoovering up scraps!)

Monday, 19 September 2016

Southern Jaunt - part two

The next day dawned fine so we headed to the top of Mount John, the night sky observatory with panoramic views of Lake Tekapo and surrounds.

From there the destination was Lake Pukaki, one of the main places we wanted to see on our way to Wanaka. It didn't disappoint. It's up there with Haast Pass as one of the most stunning sights in the South Island. Mount Cook is the crowning jewel of the Alps, wonderfully offset by the cerulean blue glacial water.

The third stunning landscape of the day was the Lindis Pass. The immense forms of the land are breathtaking (and almost beg to be painted!) Check out how tiny the road is that winds through the Pass.

We arrived somewhat wearily, but replete with scenery, in Wanaka.

Southern Jaunt - part one

Armed with 10 ciabatta buns, we headed off to Christchurch for our odyssey around the mainland. We were off to Lake Wanaka to meet up with family to celebrate Mum and Dad's fiftieth wedding anniversary.

Our first big stop was Kaikoura, where Max renewed his fascination with the seals. Two ciabatta buns down, we headed inland to Cheviot and onwards to Christchurch.

Next morning we ventured into the inner city, to visit the City art gallery. We parked and walked ... in multiple wrong directions. The lack of the Cathedral to navigate by meant Christchurch felt like a busted compass.

We walked around and around piles of rubble. Construction noise and dust and gaps in city streeets next to new buildings was the overriding impression.

We eventually found the gallery, but needed to get back to the car to refill the parking meter. That's when things got a bit tense when we realised we couldn't the car (having frantically walked by it two or three times). The dog got a good hour's exercise anyway!

The less said about the drive to Ashburton, the better. Flat, plain and unremarkable. Things picked up in the quaint town of Geraldine.

We travelled on through a beautiful valley (literally called something like that, in good old NZ naming fashion!) to Kimbell, a small village five minutes on from Fairlie, in the shadow of Mount Dobson.

From here we made a short trip to Lake Tekapo, to soak in the hot springs and visit the famous church. Two couple were getting married on the foreshore, in the bitter cold - the brides wearing jackets over their white dresses until the very last moment.
Max and the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo
Next instalment to follow...