A Travellerspoint blog

Leaving NZ


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Some parting shots of Queenstown, NZ

One of the best views is from the top of Bob's Peak reached by the Skyline Gondola. There is a luge track and mountain bike trail. Lyle and I chose to remain on the viewing deck.
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Bungee jump tower and mountain bike.
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The gondola makes a nearly vertical climb up. Jan didn't panic even though heights are her worst nightmare.
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View from the restaurant. We sat next to a couple from Ault, CO (Fort Collins) who got engaged in Tahiti (we got married there). Small world.
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The Remarkables are a mountain range and skifield located on the southeastern shore of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown NZ. They are oriented to the north and south, like the Rocky Mountains, whereas most mountain ranges sit from east to west. Lyle referred to them as "The Incredibles", early in the trip. Perhaps we should rename them??
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Posted by lhuff35204 15:18 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

We're skipping Bali


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Mount Agung is a large stratovolcano on Bali.

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It dominates the surrounding area, influencing the climate and its eruption is said to be imminent with a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 5 (the same as Mount St. Helen's). So despite the government's assurances that all is well for tourism on Bali we're jumping ahead to Myanmar, an expensive and complex detour that will see us home 10 days early.

Posted by lhuff35204 03:49 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Doubtful Sound, NZ


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Doubtful Sound / Patea is a very large and naturally imposing fiord in Fiordland National Park, in the far south west of New Zealand. It is located in the same region as the smaller but more famous and accessible Milford Sound. It took second place after Milford Sound as New Zealand's most famous tourism destination. It was actually closer to us than Milford, plus it is massively larger, so we chose it as our major excursion in NZ.

Doubtful Sound

Annual rainfall there is measured in meters so any sun at all is rare and we had relatively good weather for our trip. Still, it is so remote that boat cruises must operate out of the small town of Manapouri. You first take a boat across Lake Manapouri and then a bus on the gravel road across Wilmot Pass to the Sound, but first you have to drive 2 hours to Manapouri... it took a total 6 hours on a bus and 5 hours on two different boats to reach it.

The actual tour catamaran held 200 people but the captain was able to maneuver it near penguins, fur seals, and under a cliff side waterfall so guests could sample the pristine water of the region (they said it makes you 10 years younger). The highlight was when they cut the engines and everyone stood in total silence listening to the majesty of the Sound.

Like the Tanna volcano it was a unique experience that I might not repeat due to its remoteness.

Bus up the remote track to the final boat

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The tour catamaran

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The main salon

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Power and speed needed to get to the Sound's opening at the Tasman Sea

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Jan's cup is the blue arm center right

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The majesty of the Sound

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Posted by lhuff35204 23:46 Archived in New Zealand Comments (3)

Queenstown, NZ


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Queenstown is a vibrant tourist area, but quite remote.

Mount Cook from our plane

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View from our hotel room.

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Lake Wakatipu with a length of 80 kilometres (50 mi), it is New Zealand's longest lake. Jan actually drove this boat.

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Hotel dining room

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Lake Wakatipu catamaran

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Smooth sailing

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The captain explaining what direction

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The Queenstown Gardens, located next to the town of Queenstown, New Zealand is a botanical garden which contains exotic and native trees and plants as well as a large pond and a range of facilities.

The heritage trees planted in 1867 include
Black Oak (Quercus velutina)
Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Grand Fir (Abies grandis)
Algerian Fir (Abies nordmanniana)
Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria araucana)
Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)
Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

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View of Queenstown from the gardens

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Brunch at Pier 19

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Posted by lhuff35204 03:15 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Wellington NZ


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Arrived via Auckland yesterday after some flight mix ups (I booked the wrong date). NZ has the best customs system... if you hold a UK, NZ, US or AU passport you just scan your passport at a kiosk, get an electronic visa, and walk out. The weather is terrible here in Wellington with wind and rain all day. We had dinner on Cuba St last night (it's like Pearl Street in Boulder, CO on steroids) and today we're holed up in our apartment waiting for things to improve. Jan has been fighting a cold since Tanna and this is a good chance to do some laundry, in a real washer, and rest before heading to the south island.

We decided not to risk Bali with the impending eruption of Mt Agung, but an alternative itinerary is proving difficult. You simply cannot go west from Australia without changing planes in Bali first. We're going to wait as long as we can and hope the airlines reroute, so for now we don't know where to after Australia.
Photos below show the view from our kitchenette's window through the rainy window. The second one actually shows the harbor but it's completely obscured by the clouds.

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Posted by lhuff35204 21:47 Archived in New Zealand Comments (3)

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