Friday, May 1, 2020

New Zealand

Before I went to New Zealand in 2013, I had never seen a proper mountain range and the view out of the plane window had me contemplating all the places in NZ where people may never have stepped foot. From the air the topography looked like crumpled paper, an irresponsible use of land, mountains standing shoulder to shoulder, rivers snaking between and lots of what looked like untamed forest. Completely different to Australia in every way possible and vastly different to where I have spent the previous years in South East Asia.

I imagine that weather plays a huge part in how spectacular NZ can be so I was initially blessed by mild temperatures and clear blue skies but by the time I arrived in Queenstown things had become pretty grim, howling winds, plummeting temperatures and very wet but even then the sun came out occasionally lulling me into a false sense that things were on the improve before turning nasty again.

The scenery of New Zealand is awe inspiring and the immensity of some of the terrain seems absurd squashed in to two relatively small islands. From foreboding massive ice covered peaks, crystal clear rivers, fiords that take your breath away, insanely green lakes, bubbling cauldrons of mother earth's pent up energy, waterfalls tumbling over sheer rock or bursting forth from forests make New Zealand an outdoor lovers paradise.

But can you just make it warmer please?

Aoraki - Mt Cook


TSS Earnslaw

Milford Sound
Seal - Milford Sound

Lower left hand corner there is a sign providing a sense of scale.

Heading along the west coast of the South Island

Lake Wanaka - Where I was "tricked" into going skydiving.

Hikers heading up on to Franz Josef Glacier

Check out this ice hole. 

On the left is one of the guides to give the shot a sense of scale
I hiked up once and then was offered on my second visit, a flight in a helicopter which was sensational

Mt Ngauruhoe - Tongariro Crossing
The Tongariro Crossing is one of the most spectacular places I have ever hiked.  Arduous, with some tough trails to get up but every moment of the 19 kilometre track is incredible.  Passing  Mt Ngauruhoe and then up and over the top, looking down on the Tama Lakes, thermal activity causing steam to escape from the earth. The impact of size is astounding, it felt other worldly.

Ant sized hikers having come down from the broken peak
Heading out for dinner - Kaikoura

Sealy & Red Tarns Tracks, Aoraki National Park - Mt Cook

Aoraki looming in the back ground

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Hooker Valley on the way to Mueller Glacier
Described as an easy walk by the National Parks website, I was buggered by the time I got to this point. Then a family arrived including grand parents and children, they set up a picnic and placed this tiny yacht on the water which made the whole experience even better. 



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