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Published: June 13th 2007
A relaxing day of travel really showed the diversity and beauty of the south island's west coast. We reluctantly left Abel Tasman, and head for the west coast. Started out just catching glimpses of the snow caps to the south. Going south for the winter means something different in NZ. We are catching the tail end of the fall colors. Couldn't figure out what was growing on what looked like grape trellis until we came across a roadside stand selling kiwis.
It is also interesting to see all the herds of deer. They raise them as a livestock. I didn't appreciate the delicious mutton roast Cheryl prepared for us back in Dannevirke until I began to understand noone hear can afford to eat mutton...it gets exported. You don't see mutton and any restuarant menus, but lots of venison.
I think Ruth and I are really settling into this lifestyle. Get up to look for a special sunrise, grab a cup of the great coffee they serve here...some fresh pastry is a plus. We drive for a while taking in the sites, Ruth does a great impression of Beyonce..."to the left, to the left" which is a gentle reminder
I'm on the wrong side of the road. Evenings are an effort to catch as many sunsets as we can...you first get one at the mountain tops, then another at the passes between mountains and then another at the ocean, usually a little after 5:00 o'clock. We have a nice dinner and turn in often before 8:00 o'clock. Sunrises are around 7:30am so we're getting lots of quality sleep. Really makes me wonder how we get into our lifestyles of going weeks and even months without seeing a sunrise or sunset. Although NZ is special, many of the nature pictures could be shot right there in Georgia.
When we got to the west coast I couldn't help but stop around every corner to get a photoshot. It was a little disappointing to get back to the hostel and look at the pictures because they don't show the awesomeness of the views. The most dramatic was called Pancake Rocks because of the geologic formation that has all the layers of a couple of inch rock. NZ did a fantastic job of creating a pathway that blended with the formations but let you get right out into them. At one lookout
a bird hopped into Ruth's side of the car and she had to offer a treat to get it out. We also got following a camper van that made some sort of statement which I'm not sure what it meant. We somehow and got talking and missed the guys fence made of bras that the travel guide had pointed out. I love the NZ sense of humor.
As we continued to drive south more and more snow became evident. We also encountered more of the roadway covered in grit (sand)...we found the "frosty" roads. The south island is primarily glacier and faultlines in it's structure, so there are many beautiful lakes...wish I had my kayaks strapped to the car.
We arrived in Fox Glacier intime to catch a couple of sunset shots, have dinner and turn in for the night...we're headed for Milford Sound tomorrow.
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