I've already written about much of the trip, but the feelings it evoked are important. We flew into Christchurch, and drove straight out to get away from the largest city on the south island. Our first drive was across country from east to west coasts, and we weren't sure what to expect. What we were treated to was a beautiful drive through hills and mountains, skirting beautiful rivers and lakes. It was a pleasant surprise just how beautiful this first day turned out.
|Day 1 was a pleasant surprise|
Day 2 was a drive down the west coast starting in Greymouth, and ending in Haast and travelling through glacier region. We caught a distant glimpse of the Fox Glacier but I was probably most impressed by the coastal beaches. Hokitika and Haast have interesting seafronts to explore, and the coastal road has its share of scenic stops. There were plenty of fast flowing rivers running down through this region, but there were also the start of our invasion of sandfly territory. These insects are merciless, and it doesn't matter how much repellent you use, they will get you. However, it is a small price to pay for the experience for this amazing region.
|We stopped at the side of the road regularly, and were almost always treated to something beautiful, like this fern, the national symbol of New Zealand|
|White water at Haast Gates|
|Big sky, bold colours over Lake Wakatipu on the road to Glenorchy|
From Arrowtown we traveled a short hop to Te Anau and took a trip to the fjord Doubtful Sound. This is really remote, with no access from road. We took a boat across Lake Manopouri, a beautiful start to the trip, and then a bus ride across to the Sound. The conditions were haunting, with low clouds masking the mountains, and at one point, the Sound cruise stops, turns off its engines, and just drifts allowing those on board to listen to complete silence, save for some birdsong. It was raining, so many people decided to stay inside the boat, but Caroline and I were outside and the lack of sound was also something beautiful.
|Hauntingly beautiful, Doubtful Sound|
|Lupins and mountains from Mt John|
|Reflections on Lake Tekapo|
|The Church of the Good Shepherd on the edge of Lake Tekapo|
I woke this morning in Melbourne, feeling ready to tackle city life again. And to plan the next trip....