Today was an amazing day too. The trip we took today gets us from
Queenstown to Christchurch via another bus trip, this time going up the
center of the south island, and up to Mount Cook, the tallest mountain
in New Zealand (approx 12000 feet).
The day started with another early dawn -
And then we had to say goodbye to Jen, but we'll see her in Sydney soon.
This trip took us through a lot of other kinds of land, lots of the
livestock farming areas, and some areas that have problems with
irrigation. Here is some of the land being used for sheep farming
- kind of dry and dusty.
Some of the land is really rocky and harsh, not even good for sheep.
We progressed north along routes 6 and 8, through Cromwell, Omarama,
Twizel, and then up to route 80 toward Mount Cook. Because the
weather was changing fast, we stopped at a lookout point to get some
shots from afar. Below are several shots of Mount Cook and others
in that mountain range.
One interesting thing about the Mount Cook area is that there are
several glaciers in the area, that melt and end up in Lake
Pukaki. Note the color of Lake Pukaki in the below photo - it's
actually almost a funky fluorescent turquoise, and that turns out to be
from very finely ground up rocks that end up in the lake in a form
known as "glacial flour". The rock minerals make the light react
with the flour and turns the water a milky blue.
Our end stop of the Mount Cook leg was a hotel built overlooking Mount
Cook and other mountains. We had a terrific lunch in their
restaurant, then went out to check out the scene. Here's a
pretty good shot of the view.
We had actually planned to take a scenic flight and LAND on the Tasman
Glacier, but the wind was too strong today so they couldn't fly.
But we did get to see the glacier as we drove by - it's a river of ice
pushing down through the valley. Amazing! We got some
decent photos with the long lens film camera, but here's some postcard
pix of the glacier for your viewing enjoyment-
Here's Mom with her buddy Sir Edmund Hillary, who dedicated this statue
of himself in 2003.
On the way back, the wind picked up and started blowing some of the
glacial flour off the river bed and into the lake, demonstrating how
this process works.
On the continuing road to Christchurch, we stopped at the Church of the
Good Shepherd in Lake Tekapo. It's a small, cute facility, even
down to the little buttresses on the side. But it is the
functional church for the area, and it has a fantastic view of the
lake, seen below.
We had to make a few stops on the way, and while we were stopped in
Fairlie, I took this photo of something you wouldn't see a sign for in
the states - an Ostrich Hatchery. You know you're Down Under when
that's something that has a road sign...
Further along, as we got over some mountain passes, the land changes
dramatically. Much less mountainous and becoming more green
plains, suitable for agriculture. This part of the south island
is called the "Canterbury Plains".
As we pull into Christchurch we say goodbye to another long day, but
one filled with lots of amazing memories.
And a really nice room for a change...