Sunday, March 27, 2011

Abel Tasman

On our way to the northern part of the south island, we took a brief stop to look at the "Pancake Rocks."

We drove to Motueka to meet up with our Canadian friends David and Evelyn.  We met them in PNG while they came to visit.  David grew up at Ukarumpa so he wanted to show his wife what it was like.  We had several adventures with them in PNG and were excited to meet up with them in New Zealand.  (They were traveling through New Zeland also.)

We were planning to camp but the day we met up it was raining so staying in our tents would have been wet.  We decided to rent a little camper at a local holiday park just for the night. 

 We decided that the four of us would take a 3-day hike into Abel Tasman National Park.  We went to a local grocery store to stock up on supplies and then we proceded to pack our backpacks in their parking lot.

The weather was beautiful as we hiked in to the Park along the coast.

The scenery was incredible!

 While hiking we heard the child in the boat yell "Manta Ray!"  Notice the dark spot in front of the boat.

Setting up camp....we had quite the view!!!

This was our view from the beach in front of our tent.  It was beautiful!!  We spent the next two days hanging out, hiking, finding glow worms in caves while almost being bit by wetas (big New Zealand bugs), and enjoying ourselves.

Our gourmet meal on the beach our last night together.

We had to take a group photo before we said goodbye.  It was a fun camping adventure!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The glaciers!

 Our view of Fox Glacier.  We were unable to get any closer because of the update below.

The update reads, "The track has been washed away by flooding. Extreme rockfall hazard exists which makes the access very unsafe.  Being guided is a safe option."
Zooming in on the other warnings.

Being that taking a guided adventure was out of our budget, we opted to take in the views and then move on to the other local glacier. 

Fox Glacier once again from a lookout down the road a bit.

We drove 30 minutes to Franz Joseph Glacier.  Thankfully this glacier was safe and we were able to hike over the end moraine--ie rocks forming in front of the glacier--and come close to the glacier itself. 

 Kim making friends with the local ranger.

 A beautiful waterfall on the way to the glacier.

 We did it!  The glacier is in the background.

A little detour on the way to see some glaciers.

The scenery on the way....


We camped outside of the town of Fox Glacier right next to the Tasman Sea.
Our picnic dinner.

Watching the sunset over the sea.  It was a beautiful evening.

 The next morning that we got up really early to hike three hours to a resident seal colony.  Along the way, there were many other things to see.

The remains of an old gold mine.

 A tunnel.

 The seals!  Sunning on one of the big rocks.

Beautiful scenery.

It was a cool hike on the way down but the sun was out and shining by the time we got there.  Jake is protecting himself from sunburn.
We headed back to our campsite to get ready for our day seeing the local glaciers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On the way to the west coast

Our campsite outside of Queenstown on our way towards the west coast of New Zealand.  We were staying in a sheep pasture with other campers.

A weka at our next campground.  A weka is a flightless bird much like the kiwi but is seen more often because it is not nocturnal.  It is about the size of a chicken.

Another campground next to a lake.   We ordered a pizza from a local pizza place and went to bed early as we were exhausted from our traveling.

The next day we spent in Hokitika looking for a jade necklace for Kim.  Carved jade is one of the souvenirs that are prized from New Zealand because carved jade is a traditional craft of the Moari people, New Zealand's natives.  Jacob also got a traditional carving made out of whalebone.

Milford Sound

We headed towards Milford Sound and stopped at the closest campground to it.  The campground was in a temperate rainforest (i.e. chilly but beautiful green scenery.) 

We arrived around 8 pm and found a full campground...but there is always room for one more.

 This was our view from the campground.

The clouds rolled in as the night moved on.

The views from the short walk we took around the area.  The sun didn't set until 10:45 pm so we had quite a bit of time to look around before the sun went down.

We got up early the next morning to drive an hour to Milford Sound to catch the earliest cruise from the Sound out to the Tasman Sea at 9am.

The weather was beautiful, as was the fiords. 
Jacob enjoying his free muffin as the cruise starts.
Kim enjoying the views.

The following are views that we saw:
(A local seal colony)
The cruise was beautiful.  We would have loved for it to be longer.
We got back into our car and headed away from the Sound.  This is a hand-dug one-way tunnel that we drove through on the way out of Milford.