Monday, October 31, 2005

Last post for five days ...

We're off to do the Milford Trek tomorrow morning!

Amy on the steps of the Christchurch Cathedral ...



Amy at the Queenstown docks ...



We took a ride on the TSS Earnslaw (Twin Screw Steamer, circa early 1900's) I'm sitting on the "Aussie Liferaft" (concrete block used to balance out coal load).



Sheep shearing demo at Walter Peak farm ...



Amy held this little fellow. Following the Koala's lead, he crapped on her.

Bike turn in, Christchurch Botanical, Baaa!






:-(

Buller Gorge, Pupu Springs, Kaikoura sunset

We walked across, and rode back on the zip line!

Movie upcoming!







Franz Josef Glacier

Brrrr!





Sunday, October 30, 2005

Amy's thoughts on New Zealand ...

Well, Tim said I needed to contribute in some way to this blog of our trip but I think he’s been doing a great job without my input. But he asked nicely, so here goes.

Picture in your mind the most beautiful setting you can imagine. Start with a lush meadow and rolling thick tufted hills. Sprinkle it with white wooly sheep and fluffy little lambs. Behind it, raise up majestic mountains and cover them with green grass or bright golden flowers right up to the peaks that are iced with snow and haloed with fluffy clouds. Paint a vivid blue sky behind them. Maybe trickle in a crystal stream that bubbles and bounces all the way from the mountain tops, over the green hills and down the meadow to a pebble beach that meets a clear turquoise blue ocean, frothy with waves and bouncing seals diving for fish. Can you see it in your mind? I’m telling you that no matter how creative you are and how vivid your imagination, you will fall short of the reality that is the south island of New Zealand. It is that beautiful. It really is. It really is as amazing as it looked in “The Lord of the Rings” but because that movie is fantasy, it is easy to imagine that the sets were the product of a matte artist’s hand or an image generated by a computer. It’s not. It’s real. This is the best kept secret of the whole world. Tim and I have had cramps in our cheeks from Oooohing and Aaahing and smiling at how gorgeous it all is. And just when we relax and start to accept the beauty of it, a baby lamb will bounce across a field to its mother or we’ll pass a country clapboard house with a porch fringed in purple wisteria blossoms and our cheeks will ache again. It’s wonderful. You can look at our pictures but unless they make you cry, they don’t even come close.

And for a guy who has only ever ridden, driven or lived in a right-hand-side of the street country, Tim is doing an amazing job of navigating the left-hand driving of New Zealand. He can enter and exit parking lots and even U-turn mid-street and he does it like a native. I get to just sit back and take in the scenery.

- Amy

Arrival in Christchurch, New Zealand, South Island

Nice flight in over what looked like English countryside, with lots of hedges...



Nice sunset as we walked to dinner ...



The restaurant had a nice sign on the wall:



(If you can't read it, it says, "Message to all staff: The light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off until further notice.")

And then to our wonderful room at the Old Countryhouse ...

NZbiking

We picked up our steed at NZbike, just a few blocks from our hostel, and headed off into the sheep-filled countryside ...









Kaikoura (Plenty crayfish food)

Beautiful coastal city with snowy mountains on the other side!





Our tasty lunch stop ...

Wildlife around Kaikoura

Just before Kaikoura, we saw a car pulled over and some folks looking at what looked like driftwood in the water ...



Oops! Not driftwood.