30 November 2008

White Christmas?

When the weather is like this (which it has been lately):

Doesn't it make you want to go to a place like this?

I'm going here in nine days. For a sort-of-tropical holiday. It will be awesome.

We will be staying with Makereta's extended family. Reading books on the beach, fishing, diving, rowing boats to get fresh mussels for dinner, hiking, camping. The usual Christmas vacation.

Wish you could come.

28 November 2008

A Day in Dunedin

Last post about Jenn's visit. I promise.

On Saturday we went to the Chinese Gardens and to the Otago Museum.

The Otago Museum has a cool science exhibit, plus the butterflies. It was my third time to see the butterflies, and I wore the perfect shirt. The little critters were all over me as soon as I walked in. Check out the blue morpho that landed on me! It was awesome!

27 November 2008

Day Five

Are you so sick of hearing about my trip?

Too bad.

The last day was my birthday. We drove from Franz Josef through Arthur's Pass, to Moeraki Boulders and home. It was not the best day of the trip, but there were some nice parts, like:
this beautiful view near Franz Josef;

this cool bridge in Arthur's Pass;

a nice hike to the Devil's Punchbowl in Arthur's Pass National Park;

this cool site that Eric and Jenn thought maybe was the site for the battle scene for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; (compare with a screen capture of the battle scene, on the right)

and jumping around the Moeraki Boulders.

26 November 2008

Day Four

On Thursday we were readying to vacate the hostel in Haast when the hostel manager filled us in on a sweet deal. There was a jet boat that needed filling, so they were offering tickets for half price. We had considered doing a jet boat in Wanaka, but we didn't go through with it because $100 for one hour seemed a little steep. We were glad, then, to learn that the jet boat on the Waiatoto River would last two and a half hours and cost only $90. The day was simply beautiful. The sky was a beautiful blue. The mountains were stunning, and the river was especially gorgeous. We thoroughly enjoyed our jet boat ride! Plus it was an "eco-tour" which means that we learned lots of cool stuff about the environment and history of the area. Ask me about stoats some time!

The picture on the left is the dune lake, and it was pretty impressive. Very still and quiet, and there were no bugs! (It had something to do with science and the nature of the dune lake, but I don't remember the explanation.) Just on the right side of the photo is a dune. On the other side of the dune is the Tasman Sea. (Picture on the right). In this picture you can just barely see on the left where the dune is beginning. It's really quite cool! (Unfortunately the photos don't fit together the way the land does).

Fox Glacier- We took a hike toward the glacier but couldn't get very close, so we took another hike which gave us more of an overlooking view. Pretty cool! One day when we are rich we will take a helicopter to the top of the glacier and walk around on it.

We found this sign when we couldn't find the campground. (This time we couldn't find it because the sign indicated it was a picnic area. Grr!)

25 November 2008

Day Three

After Milford Sound we went to Queenstown, then to Arrowtown (an "authentic" western town with a historic Chinese settlement), then to Wanaka. At that point our German friends left us, and we then headed along the Haast Highway and settled for the night in a hostel in Haast. That sounds pretty boring, but the drive was really beautiful, particularly along the Haast Highway. We happened to be driving it around dusk, so the sun was setting, and there was a high fog along the tops of the mountains. Simply stunning. Plus! After two days of hiking and camping, we were very happy to shower again!

In Queenstown (and the way to Wanaka):

In Wanaka:

Along the Haast Highway