Page 8 of Brian and Amy Travel Blog Posts


Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Milford Sound November 25th 2007

Today was our overnight stay on Milford Sound. This sound is actually a fiord, a valley carved by a glacier that was filled in by the sea. Milford was over 4 hours west of Queenstown and we opted for the bus instead of the car (Brian was very happy about that). The trip was restful and full of great scenery: old trains, canyons, gorges, and LOTS of waterfalls (Amy was very happy about that). Once on the Milford Wanderer, the weather became gray and misty but the sun broke through and made a great rainbow. See the pic. A few of our group went on a short tour in a tender boat to have a look at the area. They saw a penguin and Amy was jealous, but she eventually did see a flash of white ... read more
Driving to Milford
Mountains
Train

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Queenstown November 25th 2007

Today we were back on the road, starting the last leg of our journey. Our trip to Queenstown starts our trek north up the west coast of the South Island. On our way to Queenstown, we mixed in a few stops to break up the trip including a slight detour to the Catlins, which is near the southern-most point of the South Island. The area is called Nugget Point and is famous for a few different things including…a lighthouse! Better yet, it’s also one of the few areas where fur seals, sea lions, and elephant seals all cohabitate. We were hoping to see something good and we hit the jackpot! The lighthouse played second fiddle to almost a dozen fur seals, a few sea lions, and a small group of elephant seals. Very cool. They were ... read more
Amy and the lighthouse
Brian and the lighthouse
Thanksgiving at KFC

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin November 22nd 2007

After an amazing breakfast, we decided to explore the far side of the Peninsula and take a beach walk. We heard that there was a chance to see a Sea Lion that lives on Allan’s Beach and we decided to visit him. We drove all along curvy dirt roads, ending up in a sheep field. You climb the fence, say hi to the sheep, walk across the field through tunnels of yellow Lupin flowers and pop out onto the beach. We walked around the bend, and we spotted two Sea Lions. We had gotten lots of warnings about the size and the speed of the Sea Lions. They are not afraid of people but they are easily irritated. They can grow up to 3 meters long and over 300 kg and move very fast on the ... read more
Big girl
Rocks
More rocks

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin November 22nd 2007

We left Lake Tekapo fairly early and headed toward the East Coast. We drove down to a city called Oamaru. This is where the little blue penguins come ashore each day at dusk. Unfortunately, we got there around lunch-time and were way too early for that as well as the afternoon nesting tour so we were off. We did take a walk on a nice beach where you can sometimes see Yellow-Eyed Penguins but, no joy there either, except for the view. We drove on down the coast and stopped at the Moeraki Boulders. These rocks were formed in the ocean over 60 million years ago. They are round (see the pic) because they formed in layers, like an oyster pearl, covering over bone, or fossil or piece of wood. According to Maori legend, these are ... read more
Boulders
In the cliff
Look closely

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Lake Tekapo November 22nd 2007

Today we got our second rental car and headed on our drive around the South Island. This car is in MUCH better shape than that little Toyota Starlet we had before. We told these guys that we had a Starlet the last time and they actually laughed out loud. We drove about 3 hours south to Lake Tekapo (Tick-a-po). This is a very blue alpine lake. It’s famous for the Church of the Good Shepherd and the monument built to the Sheep Dog who is so useful here. Our hotel is right on the lake, has views to the church and the monument and it has wireless. What more can you ask for? We took a nice hike and some nice pictures. See Amy’s attempt to take some beauty art shots. In the evening, we drove ... read more
Art
Top of the World
Telescope

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Kaikoura November 20th 2007

This was our Sea Safari day. We hit the open ocean in search of whales off the coast. We boarded our specially modified whale watch vessel and headed about 4 miles offshore. Specially modified means you can seat a lot of tourists and hold a lot of sea-sick bags. About a mile off the coast, there’s a continental shelf (cliff) that drops from about 200 ft to just under 4,000 ft. The boat had a display that showed up where we were, the depth, etc. As we made our way out, the crew gave us a short lecture on the different animals in the area. It would have been better, but she had to keep waiting for the French interpreter. About 70% of the people on board were French, and a bit pushy. Oui, oui! The ... read more
Watch
Dolphin
Dolphin

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Kaikoura November 20th 2007

Today we said goodbye to the North Island and boarded the ferry to the South Island. We were expecting the typical car ferry; cars parked all of the place, with an open deck, very basic. We were pretty surprised to find it was more of a small cruise ship. It had lounges, bars, food courts, even a movie theater. There was so much to see, the 3 hour trip went fast. We arrived at Picton and promptly boarded a train headed south to Kaikoura (Kay-korda). The train trip was a lot of fun. The seats are like a restaurant booth, four seats with a table in the middle and we had it all to ourselves. The train traveled down the coast along between the beach and the mountains. Pretty cool. We arrived in Kiakoura and hopped ... read more
Train
Ship
Pub

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington November 20th 2007

After a nice break yesterday (Brian watched New Zealand win the Semifinal in the Ladies Netball Championship on TV), we set out for one last excursion in the North Island. From Wellington, we headed southeast to the southern-most point of the North Island (did you follow that?) The area is called Cape Palliser. It’s claim to fame is that it has a lighthouse with 250 steps to get to it. (Yes, Amy loves those lighthouses! Some smarty-pants girl on one of our tours made a snarky comment that if you’ve seen one lighthouse, you’ve seen them all. One of us strongly disagrees with her. The other thought she was kind of cute.) We can’t really verify how many steps for sure since we lost count due to lack of oxygen. A very pretty view, but nothing ... read more
Lighthouse
Stairs
Seals

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington November 16th 2007

After the long day yesterday, we decided to stay closer to home and postpone our excursion into the New Zealand wilderness for one day. That meant we got to just goof around. We took a short drive around the coast of Wellington and visited the Chocolate Fish. It was the café where all of the Lord of the Rings actors and crew met while filming in Wellington. They will be closing next month because “the man” is raising the rent and they can’t afford the location anymore. The beach near our B&B is covered in stones and made a nice walk. We found a few cool looking starfish. As we were inspecting, a local eco-lady came over and was marveling at the species. She wanted to bring them to the local environmental office, but when she ... read more
Dead Starfish
Near the Beach
Brian and a Friend at Owhiro Bay

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington November 16th 2007

Today we said goodbye to Rotorua and our great hosts, Lynday and Graham (and their cat Bootsie). They really made our stay a lot of fun and very enjoyable. As we made our way to Wellington (about 6.5 hours south), we saw a few sights along the way. We got lucky with our timing on our first stop because they open up a dam each morning at 1000 that floods the Aratiatia rapids. This is done to generate power and has become a tourist attraction for jetboating and kayaking. We drove up just as the gate was opening. A little way down the road, is a small waterfall called Huka Falls. A nice photo op, and then we were on our way. Amy wanted to stop to look at a local honey café and all we ... read more
Huka Falls
Bee All You Can Bee
Mount Doom




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