New Zealand 2016-Picton, Kaikoura

It is by the end of this year that I at last found time to finish my description of the New Zealand trip. First of all – I caught some virus and got sick on the way back – from Nelson. So the last days were the hardest. But as we all know – flying while the sinuses are getting inflamed-  is the worst way of spending the time :-). When the airplane is landing – the pain in the sinuses is such, that I was crying and singing – trying to ease it. And of course-  all this being high up in the air, maybe even the radiation we get there, made my condition worsen. So after recovering took place at home – I was too busy with spring and guests in order to sit down and contemplate on New Zealand. So here we are -we were still driving by Marlborough Sound towards Picton, stopped at a place where Queen Charlotte trek starts walked a little on it to get the feel. The waters on those sounds: Here we saw a lumber yard…Only in NZ can a place like this look so neat and tidy like this!  The tree trunks look like toys in tidy piles… Here is Picton, where ferries from North island come and unload, again, so neat and tidy: I liked how they incorporate an old building into a new one with contemporary architecture: Then there was a stretch to drive and no particular places to stop or do things and on the other hand-  we had to rush. We saw the blue ocean on our left and nice hills and even mountains on our right: We stopped 25 km before reaching Kaikoura because we read that this is a big seal colony living on the shores there and the seal moms go to give birth to a waterfall and a little pond near by, have their kindergarden there. Well, we were a little late. The waterfall was there. but the baby seals grew up and were already playing far away in the shore puddles or climbing their resting moms: And here is Kaikoura and the YMC Guesthouse where we stayed, the view form our window that faces the sea – can’t recommend it more. But…I am not sure what is left of it now after this new earthquake that hit Kaikoura badly this fall… We drove to then end of the peninsular, there are sea lions presenting their flexible figures in nice poses, and also Crags – sea fowl, that at first look like penguins. but have longer necks: And some pics from the center of Kaikoura – it has nice stores and restaurants and what I liked all through NZ – if hey have a wall or a dull bus stop – they always paint it with some cartoon characters or with their flora and fauna which they adore!

That and their humor, their talent in keeping everything tidy, them being so far away form the Western world and still following the fashions and trends in architecture, their strength in dealing with their shaking grounds, their generosity and welcoming, their appreciation of nature as a whole and protection of it in every step – I admire and will miss always…Part of my heart will always be there in the Right country, an example to the world!

Last views form the airplane – their rivers are wide and shallow:

The volcano Mt. Taranaki on the South end of the North island is looking through the clouds:

The extent of how far the water travels from the shores during low tide:

Auckland from above:

How they protect their fields from winds, maybe form some insects, too:

New Zealand 2016 – Marlborough Sounds

From Nelson it is almost 100 km to Queen Charlotte drive, it starts in   but the whole drive is beautiful. So we stopped in  Havelock , walked around, then drove past it to a hill where you can hike on the top a circle and see fantastic views:DSCN7479Low tide, a lonely boat on the sands or mud 🙂 Lower-Havelock:DSCN7480 DSCN7485 DSCN7487In some half hour it was hard to recognize the same view from the hill – the tide was coming so fast:DSCN7492 DSCN7496 DSCN7498A quail:DSCN7507Marlborough Sounds is the top of the South island, all hills and mountains sticking from blue waters. Maori have a legend, as if their king Maui dragged the North island from waters as a fish , while sailing on his boat. And the front of the boat was very elaborately carved – this turned into Marlborough sounds. The coastline there is over 1700 km, there are so many waterways, therefore -water-taxis. etc. And the the few roads that there are-  they are very curly. So we drove on the main part of Charlotte drive. then turned to Kendall drive and should have not driven more than 7 km. There we found a place like a beach where we could reach the water, some yoga ladies were having their retreat:DSCN7514 DSCN7519In several minutes the island on which the ladies were lying and doing yoga was becoming smaller and smaller and eventually disappeared :-):DSCN7527Like a Maori king – I don’t know the man 🙂 :DSCN7530Instead of turning back, we drove further some 20 km, looking for some beauty – but all the drive was dense trees and no views…no access  to the beaches. When we found one side road to Misletoe beach – we drove there, nothing special, just the middle of nowhere. but the funny thing – here we see this British couple, all laughing and talking in a very pronounced Queens English – they thought that we cane to pick them up. A water-taxi dropped them there, and here they are with their luggage:
DSCN7537But then, of course. some person from their remote lodge came to pick them. DSCN7539The place we slept that night was a very interesting one. The lady of the Smith’s Farm Holiday Park was the first one to tell us so many advice and information, she also gave us 2 hot just baked muffins and a cottage with too many beds. All around they are having a living farm and there were pet sheep, a goat and a pig to be fed with the pills she gave us. The pig is getting too much, obviously:DSCN7545 DSCN7547 DSCN7553 DSCN7557 DSCN7562 DSCN7568They even have a waterfall on their land, but I walked through the meadows and reached a very gloomy forest, walked for a while and then decided that I have seen too many waterfalls on this trip :-). Well, and it was getting dark. Andrei, thii time. refused to walk so far, because driving on that windy road for 50 km was somehow too much for him. For me-  too. How can people want to live there and drive that road often  -well, we are all  different :-).

The next day we still drove through winding roads of Marlborough to Picton, where ferry from the North island is coming:DSCN7579 DSCN7582 DSCN7585 DSCN7599 DSCN7601Now NZ has this flag. we read that there is a debate going on to to change the flag and have the fern leaf in it instead of British flag. As every healthy society they have differences of opinion 🙂DSCN7607Picton seemed to be a very nice town, either. How nicely they incorporate the old Victorian building in a contemporary building:DSCN7614 DSCN7619Kind of farewell to NZ:DSCN7616Earlier I wrote about deforestation. While we drove I talked with people and learned that on the East coast at some point the government decided to protect the exotic forests and forbid to cut trees there. But – there is a big But – they gave money to the communities to change their business and relearn from forestry to something else, like tourism. I like such government! 🙂 whereas on the North part of South Island we saw a lot of hills just cut and lumber prepared to be boarded on ships  -but we also saw lots of hillsides with pines planted in rows, bigger and smaller in different areas – they are growing timber in a planned manner, also good:DSCN7593

There will be more pics and to be continued about Kaikoura and its seals -our last destination. After that we are heading to ChCh and home…

New Zealand 2016 – Nelson

This time we decided to stay in Nelson for a day and a half –  just to get a better feel of it. And after having a good rest here and walking around we saw that it would be good to stay longer…it is a very neat and tidy city, not big, everything within walking distance and everything that their people and tourists may need. The buildings are a nice mixture of Victorian and contemporary styles. But all nicely painted and taken care of. All the streets are consistently nice, some flowers in front of houses, no barking dogs, everything just right. The Tasman Bay Backpackers Lodge was praised on the internet so we stayed there. and you can feel how they care, how they clean and do all they can to make us satisfied with our stay. The first thing  -they had cacti blooming this late in their summer!DSCN7321 DSCN7323 They are known for cooking a big brownie pie and serve it with chocolate sauce and ice-cream every evening at 8 pm to all guests! But we mostly liked it because of the good energy and good design – the kitchen is on the first floor, so nobody bangs onto our heads like in the place in Motueka. I can recommend this place for those who like places with shared kitchens! To tell the truth – we even almost didn’t use the kitchen, only for coffee and tea. This city has nice places to eat and it happened so that we ate Thai food and especially tasty fish, squid, scallops and chips on a corner close to a Buddhist center and the river- on Nile street. Close by  is their Queen’s garden as well as so may other parks…:DSCN7347This tree was very strange –  some branches were leave-less  – and they had blooms, the others were with lots of leaves, but no blooms:DSCN7363DSCN7364 DSCN7366 DSCN7386In the corner of this garden there is a Chinese garden, a very nice one, we still remembered from last visit and enjoyed it again:DSCN7368 DSCN7373Part of it’s ‘floors” are made form river rocks stacked vertical in a pattern:DSCN7378 DSCN7374We walked around the center, visited the Anglican church standing proudly on the hill, surrounded with plants and flowers:DSCN7328 DSCN7433 DSCN7332Their school:DSCN7337And some beautiful houses:DSCN7336 DSCN7352DSCN7437 DSCN7438 DSCN7439 DSCN7459

The next day we drove to Tahunanui beach, which is close and convenient and nice enough, a little similar to Lithuanian beaches:DSCN7354 I did some yoga there, but didn’t swim. The wind was blowing :-), and felt some cold I got from travels, but wading was warm enough. There are nice hotels by the beach and a monument for te great explorer Abel Tasman:DSCN7355 DSCN7358 DSCN7361And then we drove again to the center to eat, walk in the parks and galleries. The gallery in an old tobacco factory had a ceramics exhibit of which I liked this author for her cute Fridas (seems liket hey were Fridas Kahlo) figurines, and the others that I forgot how she named them:DSCN7390 DSCN7391The floors in that gallery looked like created by Modrian :-):DSCN7388Then there was our biggest find – the Suter Gallery of Art, which should be a big gallery, but is being restored, so it is moved to a temporary location and was housing only one exhibit by a New Zealand – Australian artist Euan MacLeod. And this was a lot! To see such very high art was a privilege!  Sorry artist, I will show some of your works in my not very good pictures for people to get an idea how good they are and what a message you are transcending. It is hard for me to express the feelings I got for I am not a linguist or art specialist. But the works are very deep, very philosophical, very sad and at the same time calm, some seemed tragic to me, telling humanity where it is falling-  to a hole…Very self analyzing, searching for identity, and of course what “rang the bell” most of all to me is that he is am emigrant and I am , too. There were works on that topic also…So here are some of them:DSCN7394 DSCN7396 DSCN7407DSCN7411He didn’t travel much, just to Antarctica and some more, but he travels deep… By the book that I saw there-  he created so many paintings, participated in so many exhibits and still is not done yet :-). it somehow seems that through him God or some Information field or a Field of Eternal love or whatever we call that entity  -that He is sending us His messages…DSCN7417Here the artist is keeping his feet in a volcano caldera.
DSCN7418here – he is on Mt. Cook, lower- in the rain…DSCN7421I even photoed the analysis of his art, if you can read them -maybe with a magnifying glass:DSCN7424 DSCN7426I will repeat this poem printed here in my own words: Wherever you go – you will never get far enough from where you were. And the burdens you carry…DSCN7432This painting is called “Memories. Blue”DSCN7413So after such a visit, we just walked around and got to the Anzak Park where all the nelson heroes who died in different wars are commemorated:DSCN7443All the flower beds by the paths are crosses – I haven’t seen such arrangement in parks anywhere, but cemeteries, and this is a cemetery in a way:DSCN7441To crown the day we drove to Founders Heritage Park and walked around -it is a replica of how Nelson looked when white settlers came and built a city here. It looks like a toy 🙂 and the girl who was bar tending their famous handcrafted beer  (a very good one!) said to me that she feels like she is working in a fairy tale:DSCN7450 DSCN7451DSCN7458The last look at nelson from a hill from where we could climb more and reach the center of New Zealand, but we didn’t, got lazy…DSCN7462 DSCN7464 DSCN7466There is one more interesting story that happened to me here. While we drove on our street I noticed Amber House. So I took a chance and went to them just to say hello, to say that we also are Amber Inn B&B. I enter the house and the lady there comes forward and sais – oh hello, remember. we have stayed at your place, with our kids! Isn’t the world small? I had no clue, I forgot about them completely…To my shame…I didn’t even remember them mentioning about the name. So now I asked-  why Amber. They are not Lithuanians, he is Irish. she is Philipino named Mila – because their last name is Amber! Here is their house:DSCN7472 DSCN7473And this is how our Tasman Bay lodge looked inside:DSCN7468A view from our window:DSCN7469

 

 

New Zealand 2016 – Golden Bay

The sand is really of golden yellow color, super yellow, very pleasant yellow 🙂 already in Motueka side of the Tasman sea, in Kaikerikeri:DSCN7235 DSCN7238 But we drove to over a high mountain range on a very windy road to the Golden Bay. I would say -we curled up, walked on some view points:DSCN7133 DSCN7135Those colorful, red fields – are not flower fields, they are apple orchards and are covered with nets from birds. Their agriculture is expensive, but neat and tidy as their lives, I guess. Here are some rocks we saw all over while going up from Motueka side:DSCN7137Then we were going down to Takaka and this is how the next valley looked like:DSCN7226 DSCN7231Very similar to Raigardo Valley in Lithuania in Ciurlionis paintings! so we drive and drove paralel to the sea of which we didn’t see much form the road, but reached the magical place -Waikoropupu springs, which we have seen last time and were very impressed It is considered the purest water in the world! I read in their geographic magazine, that instead of letting people drink form them – a corporation (boy, they are evil…) is bottling them into plastics and selling abroad. I don’t know how true it is, for I just read an article, but I saw signs telling us not to even touch the water… And the water there is amazing – its abundance, its sound, its coming form the bottoms of the earth, its purity and transparency:DSCN7148 DSCN7160 DSCN7165 DSCN7169 DSCN7147They have an unusual polished greenstone by the entrance:DSCN7141After not drinking the purest water, we drove further and found the best beach one can imagine (of course, after Lithuanian beaches in Neringa). Those white little things – are shells, an abundance of them. The beach and the swimming area is like in the corner, sheltered from winds, and the water gets so deep at once-  it is funny to get out-  you feel like climbing a ladder. This was the first time we swam in NZ seas in almost 4 weeks…I think it was the only time :-):DSCN7175 DSCN7176This walk to the beach was almost immersed in water when we came:DSCN7178 DSCN7186My ‘catch” 🙂 – who could ever dream to find such shells!:DSCN7188And here how the walk looks like in an hour or so – the tide is going away so fast, fun to watch!DSCN7195 DSCN7201And that was almost it. This beach is between Parapara and Milnthorpe on Kendal rd. On the way back we drank some locally crafted beer in their cultural icon Mussel Inn pub close to Onekaka and back to Motueka. The road winds and goes up and down for 25 km one way. so 50 km on such a road in one day is a lot.The nextday we drove again to Kaikerikeri and from there – to see again the Split apple Rock:DSCN7249DSCN7248 DSCN7257This time there were many ships around it and many kayaks, a popular place. Then we drove a little further – to the beginning of Abel Tasman park – and walked the walk we have done 7 years ago:DSCN7267 DSCN7272DSCN7274What patters the water paints while going in and out with tides:DSCN7275 DSCN7276 DSCN7279We walked till we reached our beloved rock, for joy for joy it is still there:DSCN7287 DSCN7295 DSCN7303 DSCN7313And after that we got tired and drove to Nelson some 156 km away in the same Tasman bay,  where we plan to stay 2 nights.

 

New Zealand 2016 – Motueka

We left Taylorsville  in a mist or cloud. And those clouds still lingered below the mountain peaks for a while:DSCN7064But I saw one of the neighbor’s tiny horses already without her shirt:DSCN7061We almost didn’t stop all the way which is 290 km to Motueka…Why – because our host told me that the most infested area in New Zealand with those sand flies or black flies is around Murchison. And i already got bitten by them on the West coast and around Greymouth – though we took precautions, were wearing only long pants, and spraying our legs with Lemon -Eucalyptus repels… Why am I so freaked out about sand flies-  because my organism reacts in an inconvenient way to them. The bumps that come out in a day don’t let me sleep or enjoy life-  they itch so much! So therefore you see me in the pics almost all covered. This is the only viewpoint we stopped on the way:DSCN7070And the sheep, poor things, were being chased by the dogs to another pasture:DSCN7071But if I hear that New Zealand is a land of sheep – i would argue  – I think we saw an equal number of cow everywhere and maybe therefore their dairy products are very tasty!DSCN7208Kiwis have a good sense of humor, though we don’t have much chance to talk to them, but you can notice their jokes here and there. This is where we bought apples, by the box where you throw money:DSCN7072The North coast of South Island is much sunnier than the West coast, so there are flowers all over:DSCN7074 DSCN7077The same day after we settled down in a hostel, we drove to Kaikerikeri to the beach and also to see the places we have seen 7 years ago. the houses by beaches are so modern, so “glassy” 🙂DSCN7082 DSCN7084So at lats after travelling NZ for 3 weeks we managed to get into the sea! and swim a little. For me it was not warm, Andrei got used to the water better.DSCN7086 While we were swimming – the water started going away. just in our eyes -literally…very impressive! So we walked around the rocks that opened up after the water was gone, the island turned into peninsular:DSCN7087 DSCN7088 DSCN7089 DSCN7097What a vehicle to get your boat into water!:DSCN7100This is another beach and another island:DSCN7101 DSCN7106 DSCN7107 DSCN7112 DSCN7116And here I wanted to catch and show a flag that Kiwis want to be their flag instead of the one they are having now – with the UK flag in the corner:DSCN7119 We were lucky to get this sunset while eating on the balcony at our hostel:
DSCN7125

New Zealand 2016 – Towards Arthur’s Pass and Greymouth

We are spending two night in an old coal miner’s town Taylorville not far from Greymouth and the river Grey in this Brunnerton lodge:DSCN7051 The neighbor’s are keeping 14 miniature horses, but I could see only 5 of them. keeping just as pets, because they are so dam cute! And only 2 of them were very friendly with me :-). they are covered with jackets because it was raining-  but very warm rain. very warm weather, I would think it would be good for them to get some shower, but the owner knows better:DSCN7053 DSCN7057So we had some rest. Until maybe 4 pm here the rain was on and off but constant. Nevertheless we got out and drove towards the Arthur’s Pass. the road was even and good, not so windy as on the coast and lots of Pukeko hens were enjoying the wetness:DSCN6968 DSCN6973And those cows – what an interesting coloration they have-  they usually all the same in one field:DSCN6979Here we reached the tunnel on Arthur’s Pass and saw no need to drive more, the views were not worth doing that because we had to come back. We were doing a loop drive, came back again through Greymouth. DSCN6980 DSCN6986The lower part of Arthur’s Pass road is beautiful, with clouds spread out in the sky in interesting ways. but the best part of it was a gallery we found in Otira, which is not even a town – it is a place with some 4-5 houses, one of them is an old hotel and the other is Modern Gallery  -and it was a huge impression! I didn’t expect. John  Burns is so talented and so evolving. Almost every other of his paintings are of different style. but no pictures allowed, so you can only find his web site and see for yourselves. If I was a collector  or a gallery owner-I would have definitely bought several of them. He is like Mark Shagal…We didn’t meet him. only his lovely wife, who is with him since they were 14 years old!DSCN6988And here is the old also exotic hotel with a extensive collection of “stuff”:DSCN6993Those vans are very popular here for rent – and each has a different picture. Read on this ones back: I always wanted to be someone, I should have been more specific…DSCN6995 DSCN6996Here is what I saw in men’s bathroom:DSCN7003To tell the truth  – i never go to men’s bathrooms. But because it had this sign by this door, I couldn’t help but look in:DSCN7004 DSCN7006So then we drove down from the mountains towards the sea, with a big river on our side, with lots of slim but tall waterfalls lining the mountain slopes, sticking from dense forest.DSCN7012 DSCN7015Till we stopped to see the Londondery Rock – a big boulder, brought to here from the ice age as they suppose-  floating on a big piece of ice. they assume it is 3000-4000 tons big and as with our biggest rock in Lithuania Puntukas – this one also is wrapped in legends. here is a walk to it, and I could get only a part of it into the picture:DSCN7019 DSCN7022 DSCN7028A bridge towards Greymouth:DSCN7034There is a drive into the sea in Greymouth, on a road like a pier:DSCN7041 DSCN7042Here are some pics for Greymouth, which was very empty on this Saturday eve and is in reality very depressed. As in every city n NZ – they have murals on some walls:WP_20160227_18_59_02_Pro WP_20160227_18_59_23_Pro WP_20160227_19_00_03_Pro WP_20160227_19_00_25_Pro WP_20160227_19_05_52_ProThis a quite a big Greenstone – jade on a street corner. Wow! they find them on the beaches, but I guess  – they are all found already :-).

New Zealand 2016 – Franz Joseph Glacier and Hokitika

The next morning in Fox Glacier town was not rainy and sun was even showing itself from the sea side, so I rushed to take a use of infrared sauna in our Ivory Tower lodge. which is one of the best lodges we stayed on this trip. They show so much attention and care to guests, that it warms your heart. From the colors of the design to motivational pictures on all walls, to very well equipped kitchen, to the spacious rooms and bathrooms. So we drove to Franz Joseph Glacier 23 km away. Those two glaciers were noticed by Captain Cook while he was sailing in the sea –  yes, they are seen form the sea. He called then Victoria and Albert. of course :-). And the highest Aoraki mountain was called Mt. Cook.  But then an Austrain explorer Von Haast came, nemd the pass he came through Haast Pass and saw the Glaciers – he renamed them to Fox – the then Governor of new Zealand and Franz Joseph – the king of Austria. Fox Glacier is taller or longer, but Franz Joseph is wider and more impressive,  especially when we saw it in sunlight, we were lucky!DSCN6816We walked to a lake nearby to see the reflections of the Glacier:DSCN6812Then we saw a board with pictures of the Glacier 2010…now the canyon is empty of ice till far away – just in  5 years… Actually I have this picture form 7 years ago when we visited the Glacier in my previous blog:DSCN6817 DSCN6819is it the weather change or is the East Coast warmer than the West Coast – hard  to know, but it is really warm, even when it rains, like during some monsoon weather in Asia 🙂
DSCN6823Peculiar plants grow on the walls of the path:DSCN6829And lots and lots of tall waterfalls, all over:DSCN6839 DSCN6845 DSCN6837Here is how close we get to the glacier-  750 m, and it seems close and impressive, whereas to Fox glacier – you get 450 m close and it still seems far away ant small.DSCN6855 DSCN6856All this valley was covered in thick ice once upon a time :-):DSCN6868This is the place, I assume based on what a Kiwi lady told me-  is the place where two faults meet and this part of FJ town, maybe even this pot with plants is condemned, sad…DSCN6899After having some lunch in FJ town, we drove North and turned to some small hikes described in tourist flyers. here what tiny berries and flowers grew by the forest path:DSCN6904 DSCN6906And a new sort of ferns that i saw this trip and only here:DSCN6917 And the coast which was very warm and no wind! But two negative features on West coasts that prevent from willing to immerse into waves – the sand flies and the waves – there is no any barrier from them and you can easily get drawn into the sea…The sand flies is evil   – they are tiny and when they bite- you can’t sleep at night, for almost 2 weeks – so itchy…So we dress up to our noses on the beaches and still get bitten…DSCN6919 DSCN6922Then we drove non stop, too much drive – almost 300 km from Fox to Greymouth, which is a lot on narrow windy road.  there were many bridges, very wide river beds with narrow ribbons of water in them mingling and tangling, and at last we reached Hokitika-  the town we stayed 7 years ago. it is cute and as earlier-  has a lot of Greenstone – jade galleries and driftwood sculptures on the beach:DSCN6929 DSCN6930It sais Ship of fools, but is oriented the wrong way – not towards the sea :-):DSCN6934 DSCN6941 DSCN6945This hand was the most well done, in high tide it may look like a Giant is drowning and asking for help:DSCN6952Some Hokitika freshly painted houses and neatly stacked wood:DSCN6956 DSCN6957 DSCN6958Their library:DSCN6961Then we bought 2 liter box of Mango-Passion fruit ice cream which here is marvelous! Sorry Italians, but new Zealand Ice cream is tastier to us and when 2 l cost $5 NZ – quite a country for enjoying ice cream! This night was to be to the side of Greymouth by grey river in an old miners town Taylorville, in Brunnerton Lodge/ which is counting 130 years of existence and you can feel it :-). But we have peace and quiet here and a comfy room en suite!

 

New Zealand 2016 – Fox Glacier

The morning we left Wanaka was cloudy…it was a big luck for us to have seen the lake and the surrounding mountains on such a nice day! So as I mentioned earlier – we just dived into the clouds that were literally rolling on our way.  We were heading to Fox Glacier. the road winds first by one big lake, then returns again to Lake Wanaka through a very narrow Neck – a piece of land between them, then dives into luscious rain forest with lots of narrow bridges through endless number of rivers and streams.  We got enticed by at stop: “Blue pools” and a number of cars parked there –  so we went on that hike, half hour round trip, and luckily the rain stopped, so here is what we saw:DSCN6609When I see such trees i always remember the beginning of Pushkin’s fairy tale: U lukomorja dub zelionyj… 🙂DSCN6610And under such a tree in Lithuania in August (which is an analog of February here) one would always expect to find a mushroom. We searched…All the way and back. In this humidity and warmth and such a forest moss -there should be some. I picked a small bad and was worried that it will be too small :-). Because I always find things to worry about, I guess. the catch was almost zero – well, three low quality ones…then i asked a local lady – she said as far as she knows – mushrooms grow there in November, which is like May in Lithuania, interesting.DSCN6611Here is the place in the rover called Blue pools:DSCN6616 DSCN6625When we came a young couple was in swim suites prepared to jump from the bridge- but I took a movie, not a pic of their jump. They jumped into those blue waters! Wow! And it was cold for them. But they got out safe and sound.DSCN6627From there there is still a long windy road through Haas pass and down to Haas where we had lunch. The most popular fast meal here is Fish and Chips-  because this country is like England’s continuance. They deep fry white cod in batter and this is what they call Fish, and they cook French fries – those are Chips. We somehow are not excited by that Fish, but we love their Chips! Once i tried a scallop deep fried in batter – it was goo, too. So here we are having Chips, the rain is pouring and I am asking the lady at the counter about their weather…She said they are getting 5 meters – which is 3 average persons put one on top of another -in one year…No wonder it is the rainiest place on earth, no wonder so few people live here. I haven’t checked the data, but young Zealanders told me that of over 4 million  people living on both islands, only 1 million lives on the South island and most of them on the East coast. That is one of the rare places on earth where we like East more than West :-). After Haas you reach the sea pretty soon and here is how the coast looks like-  not so pretty :-):DSCN6630 DSCN6631It wouldn’t be so bad to walk on the coast and pick the very white, semi transparent and round stones, but the sand flies, those are nasty there. DSCN6633This heap of stones was a spiritual one-  there were thoughts and stories written on the stones! Some are worried about legalization of marijuana, some about their husband who died without seeing NZ, some are very happy seeing NZ, some just make drawing or so. I also wanted to make my contribution and write: “Dear young people, lets save this beautiful nature, lets be more conscious in how much energy and water we use for our own comfort! The land belongs to you and your kids…” but to my sadness – what I notice in the common kitchens-  young people don’t care. They just don’t care…DSCN6636 DSCN6638And because of that this is what we see once we get the Fox Glacier, it is almost gone, only some remnants left:DSCN6643 Not so long ago all this valley was the Glacier – all ice. Those mountains  were sculpted by ice. Even when we were here 7 years ago – there was more ice seen, and now it is like this:DSCN6647The path to the Glacier is well maintained and they don’t charge for entering  any National park here in NZ.  How do they manage? it is 1.5 km to get to a viewing place which is 450 m from the Glacier – pretty close!
DSCN6655 DSCN6656This orange growth (lichens -symbiosis between algae and fungus) on rocks is pretty attractive:
DSCN6661 DSCN6664 We see three steps of ice here:DSCN6667 DSCN6669 DSCN6670Well. Fox Glacier is considered one of the tallest or longest glaciers, its length being 2800m, a lot! But from there we see only the lowest part.DSCN6673The glacier water is at first grey, then the sediments land to the bottom and it becomes super greenish-blue. Here is the lowest part of glacier:DSCN6674 DSCN6680DSCN6682As you can see from the sign behind me there is a danger of rocks falling…DSCN6684 I loved those vertical walls and the stones colored by moss and lichens:DSCN6687 DSCN6689How colorful this slope is…:DSCN6694 DSCN6701 DSCN6702So Fox Glacier is 270 km from Wanaka. There are only 350 permanent population. But I think there are more German and Chinese tourists , counted separately, than there are locals. Good, there are jobs for locals! they are happy!DSCN6703Here is how the main street of Fox Glacier looks like and how our room at Ivory Tower Backpackers lodge looks like:DSCN6706The Lodge is really amazing! it is built and decorated with so much love and attention to details, with so much care for us, the guests. The kitchen is well equipped, the motivational pictures on the walls of common areas are very good and the other pictures are all meaningful and nice,  not just some pictures to fill up a wall. There is a hot tub and an infrared sauna – fantastic! So good for joints and spine problems! Best of all -they have a very good music all the time in the kitchen – dinning area. Then you can hear the rain behind the window, and it lasted the whole night and then the whole day till 4 pm, when we and others went to see lake Matheson (called by a local farmer’s name, not the representative of Utah :-). it is a 4.4 km walk around the lake with superb views, especially good in good weather because the lake reflects two tallest peak in NZ – Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman. But we were not blessed by those views…what can you do. The clouds were  crawling on the ground and not letting us see at least a part of a mountain:DSCN6711 DSCN6713 DSCN6717 DSCN6722 DSCN6727 DSCN6729 DSCN6734DSCN6737 DSCN6754 DSCN6757This is what we could have seen if the weather was good (I took a picture of a picture :-)):DSCN6759DSCN6765 DSCN6773 DSCN6774 DSCN6776 DSCN6781Those last pics are similar, but I couldn’t choose between them, so I placed both :-). Then at night the rain started again, but nevertheless we went to see glow worms which are all over the jungle walks. They glow, but very slightly. And to walk in the rain forest in the dark when it is raining…quite spooky :-).

New Zealand 2016 – Wanaka

Wanaka is in a very good spot by Southern Alps in an intersection of roads from Mt. Cook to Queenstown, to Te Anau, and to Glaciers. And itself it is a wonderful destination. It lies by a big ice age Lake Wanaka and very close to another big lake Waimeia, surrounded by mountains, and if you drive juts couple kilometers form it by the lake-  you will see Mt. Aspiring with its glaciers surrounding its peak! but only on a sunny day, which is not every day! So we drove to that directions and managed to see Mt. Aspiring in the morning, then clouds embraced it and that was it, we never saw it again:DSCN6449 DSCN6445We stayed in a cabin in Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park and Motels  -and it was wonderful! We were surrounded by vans, which is a very popular way of travelling here, there was a very big kitchen, even two of them. there was a very clean heated bathroom with music all day and night long, there was a sauna and hot tubs and a little herb garden by the kitchen saying: eat us! The “van travelers” are quiet, so we had a good time! there were even two chairs and kind of a table in the cabin for us to work on PC’s. DSCN6593Some of the vans here look like this:DSCN6431The day we had in Wanaka was unusually good – it was mostly sunny and for joy for joy – no wind! Just fantastic for climbing a mountain. Which we did. Here on the South island unlike the North island people who work at the reception desks are not so formal (that is my experience, others may have experienced differently) and they give advice how to best use your time. So we drove to Diamond lakes trail. the drive was short – only 17km, which was appreciated :-), and the trail was fantastic! To me it was the best rail we did here. But it was a lot of climbing up and up and up, comparable to Angels Landing or Observation Point trails in Zion Park.  And some parts of the trail we as much scary as the above mentioned trails :-). Scary for me and some other Chinese ladies as we met on the trail. But there is a loop on the top – you can climb the top part of the mountain either from the west or from the east  -the East one is like Angel’s Landing train  – goes on a very narrow ledge on a steep part of the mountain, and the West part goes on a much more wide path up – like to Observation point :-).  The mountain is called Rocky Mountain. You can choose to reach only the Diamond lake (easy walk):DSCN6453 DSCN6463Almost the only single flower we saw on the trail :DSCN6464 DSCN6466You can choose to climb higher on comfortable stairs and path to a Wanaka lake viewpoint and sit there for a while:
DSCN6467DSCN6473This girl with blue hair is from Us, but she lives in Australia for 6 years because there the wages a so much higher! That is all we managed to exchange opn a short stop :-):DSCN6484 DSCN6486Those plants are form a family of ferns. but very harsh and sharp, specific to this trail, so to be honest and precise, I have to share them with you:DSCN6506 DSCN6508And ten we climbed the Rocky mountain from the West and went down from the East. The tiny dots on the right side high up on the slope – are people:DSCN6510There were some three sheep grazing under the rocks:DSCN6517 DSCN6520Then two sheep sleeping under another rock:DSCN6524One more view of Mt. Aspiring, but already in the clouds:DSCN6525A girl meditating on the peak :DSCN6529And here we reached the peak, at last, in 2.5 hours! :DSCN6533DSCN6543 DSCN6549 DSCN6553 DSCN6555There is a beautiful river mouth seen form above, with a little bridge that we will go later to see from close by:DSCN6561DSCN6589And after spending half hour on the top and enjoying it a lot! (who wouldn’t   -there was no wind, no biting flies, no fierce sunshine, just perfect air), we went down in 1 hour. Here we often see such black tree trunks, they look like burned, but in reality they are being eaten by fungus, a very disgusting and bad one: DSCN6575This is a healthy tree, I can’t stop admiring how big they grow here:DSCN6579Evidently farmers raise deer in their pastures:DSCN6583And they have really neat and bright tractors, as all of New Zealand-  neat, modern and colorful:DSCN6591 Bye bye Wanaka, going towards Glaciers, diving into the clouds and rain:DSCN6594Lake Waimeia:DSCN6598 DSCN6603Very interesting tops of the mountains – like saw teeth! 🙂DSCN6605From this spot we could have seen Mt. Aspiring, but…DSCN6607

New Zealand 2016 – Queenstown

We didn’t even stay in Queenstown, just visited for several hours and I loved it! I had an impression that it is a town for young people and their extreme ways of entertainment. So once you enter the center – every other shop is a travel agency for those extreme forms of entertainment- paragliding. parachuting, bungy jumping, flying in airplanes, etc. But the city itself is so modern, so full of contemporary architecture buildings, and very quiet, with people of all ages fulling the squares, parks and piers. it is by a long lake, on one end of it, we saw such views of the lake while driving to there:DSCN6283 DSCN6286 The very center was busy, but still not hard to park the car. But then we drove further from the center and parked easily and for free, and walked back on the path by the lake:DSCN6294 DSCN6303Here a little peninsular is seen where there is their park and gardens with impressive trees, as usual :-), so we went there for a walk:DSCN6305DSCN6312DSCN6314 DSCN6331 DSCN6344 This is the edible chestnut tree, I saw it first time:DSCN6340 DSCN6349 DSCN6352And two big araukarias or monkey puzzle trees:DSCN6363 DSCN6371There is a pond there with lilies, as in every respectful garden:DSCN6350 DSCN6360 DSCN6361and a beautiful sculpture of their legend character:DSCN6376then more of the center:DSCN6380 DSCN6381 maples are turning red –  their autumn is coming:DSCN6390Very pristine architecture I never stop admiring:DSCN6394 DSCN6399This is the view of Queenstown from peninsular, but the main interest in this picture is the color of the lake water – how it changes in lines from the shore:DSCN6319 DSCN6326 DSCN6402 DSCN6403 DSCN6307 DSCN6310Then we drove 4 km from the city and walked on a short trail:DSCN6405 DSCN6410 DSCN6415And then we drove to Wanaka through a shorter way  -through a mountain pass, so it was a steep and winding drive of some 70 km:DSCN6417 DSCN6424On the way there is a town Cardrona, and here is what we saw, the whole long fence of bras:DSCN6426 DSCN6429So they called it Bardrone :-). It would be funny and amusing if it was not sad – every bra may mean a woman gone form breast cancer. Our ladies back in Utah, in Zion canyon, made such a thing on a dead dry tree in memory of our beloved Susan Taylor and for breast cancer awareness  -it didn’t last long. Mormons took the tree off, for indecency…And here the whole fence is all intact.