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Re: Just got back from New Zealand

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avatar Just got back from New Zealand
November 28, 2012 12:16PM
and what an awesome place to be outdoors. I figured I'd share a few pics (btw, a hard drive crashed and I lost my original mbear account, hence the wildly new username mbear2)

A peak on the drive to Milford Sound


Another shot from Milford Road


Mitre Peak and Milford Sound (got to see an endangered Fiordland Penguin [think the main character in Surf's Up] in the wild here, but didn't get a decent pic)


A peak whose name I never got, viewed from Milford Sound


The Kepler Range from near Lake Te Anau


A cute lamb by a gas station near Manapouri. This guy was really interested in everyone at the station. I talked to the owner who said he was a great pet for the kids, to which I responded, 'oh good, you won't slaughter him then.' Then the owner said, 'nope, we're gonna eat him!' haha


A natural bridge on Otago Peninsula (after a muddy walk)


Everyone likes sea lion balls


Beach at Moereaki Boulders (water was freezing!)


A yellow-eyed penguin getting ready to nest for the night


Ruins of an old house in Kaikoura


Enjoying sunset on the beach (Kaikoura) like in the Corona commercials, except I wasn't drinking shit beer


A kea posing for me in Arthur's Pass National Park. Keas are the only alpine parrots in the world, and curious (and destructive) as hell. They're like really agressive bears with wings.


Double rainbow after a small snow-storm in Arthur's Pass


A kea trying to eat the parking lot at the Arthur's Pass Visitors Center


My noisy neighors in the morning at Arthur's Pass


Kea trying to eat my car


A few shots I took hiking the Temple Basin Track (great dayhike!) in Arthur's Pass; ended up getting snowed on during the return trip (weather changes FAST in NZ)




(ski hut used in the winter)





Franz Josef Glacier


Fox Glacier; amazing to hike through a rainforest to get on a huge glacier. The alttidue is only about 800 feet, so this thing moves about 2 meters a day.


The ice falls come into view from the lower section; it was really amazing just kicking off the slushy top section of the lower part of the glacier to see that yes, you actually were standing on a 200 foot thick block of solid clear ice.


Good spot for lunch, on a rockfall on Fox Glacier


Our group hiking up a wide crevasse


Lots of pinnacles in the ice falls


Looking up a crevasse
Re: Just got back from New Zealand
November 28, 2012 12:35PM
Oh, that's just GREAT!!! Just when I thought Yosemite had enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life you have to go and show us THIS?!?!? tongue sticking out smiley

Seriously, though...really great pix and a place that's been on my bucket list for a long time. Thanks for sharing these!
avatar Re: Just got back from New Zealand
November 28, 2012 12:41PM
Lake Wakatipu, from the road between Queenstown and Glenorchy. The water is so pure that it won't conduct a current.



View from Glenorchy


Morning alpenglow near Glenorchy


Some shots on the Routeburn Track













Actually did get to see an avalanche live in this area


The offending snowfields above the route


A little snowy in parts, but mostly clear


Lake Harris, on the Routeburn Track






Conical Hill (closed for avalanche danger; I was there in the peak two weeks of the year for avalanches, apparently)


Harris Saddle, on the Routeburn Track. Just a week before you had to take a helicopter between Lake Harris and Harris Saddle because of all the avalanches.











Decided to turn around here, since weather was coming and since I was already 8-8.5 miles in on the dayhike and had gotten to the highpoint I wanted to see.

A couple of morning shots of Lake Manapouri



Some rainforest scenery on the Kepler Track. The cloud cover was way too thick for the alpine section to be worth doing (it was in the clouds all day), so I just walked some of the rainforest section. I had wanted to do this a couple weeks before at the start, but the alpine section was having avalanches that prompted the DOC to close access to it. Still had an amazing time doing other things though.





Since there was heavy rainfall predicted for the day, I drove out to Milford Sound again to see the waterfalls. Much more impressive trip on a rainy day, though my camera isn't great in low light and thus, I didn't take too many pics. Lots of places where you could see 60+ 1000 foot tall waterfalls at once though



avatar Re: Just got back from New Zealand
November 28, 2012 12:48PM
Couldn't get any pics of the blue penguins I saw in Oamaru, as photography is strictly prohibited at their colony. On the cuteness scale the only animal I have seen that compares are the pikas I saw near Mount Gibbs when I came to Yosemite this August. Think penguins that are maybe a foot tall, squint like Mr Magoo, and who fall down and end up sliding on their stomachs every fifth step. Even saw two of them boning under a park bench outside the colony, but didn't want to interrupt their good time (they are endangered, after all) by using a flash to get the pic (they come in after sunset).

Great food too. The bacon and the eggs are of significantly higher quality than you get in the US unfortunately, and it's nice to be able to buy muesli with dried raspberries and blueberries in every single grocery store there. Loved the mussels and the blue cod.
avatar Re: Just got back from New Zealand
November 28, 2012 02:28PM
Thanks for all the great photos. Looked like a wonderful trip with great springtime weather.

How long did it take you to fly there? And what was the cost of the airfare?
.
avatar Re: Just got back from New Zealand
November 28, 2012 03:20PM
Quote
plawrence
Thanks for all the great photos. Looked like a wonderful trip with great springtime weather.

How long did it take you to fly there? And what was the cost of the airfare?
.

San Francisco to Queenstown, NZ was about $1800 in economy, and the trip was 20 hours or so, since we had to go into LAX from SFO and Queenstown from Auckland. I was trying to fly out of SFO insead of LAX since LAX->Auckland flies on the new 777s while the trip between SFO and Auckland is on the older 747s, with much more legroom, but it turned out the SF flight that day was just a United trip to LAX and then departure from there. I think I spent 30-something hours getting from San Antonio, Tx to Queenstown, NZ since I had a stop in Phoenix (not a lot of direct flights out of San Antonio) and a long layover in SFO. Made my introduction to left side driving interesting on landing, since I was driving a skinny winding mountain road a couple hundred kilometeters from Queenstown to Te Anau during rain, lol.

On the return trip I saw the Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Mount Ritter and Banner Peak, and Mono Lake from the plane on the leg between SFO and Las Vegas, and on the Las Vegas to San Antonio leg I actually got to sit by and talk to George Gervin, which was freaking awesome (I'm a huge Spurs fan).

For anyone who doesn't know The Iceman, George Gervin:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5liYhD-ads

We were watching game 2 of the World Series on the flight between SFO and LAX, and all the Giant fans on board were going nuts.

This safety video we saw on one of the Air New Zealand flights was hilarious too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBlRbrB_Gnc



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/2012 03:55PM by mbear2.
avatar Re: Just got back from New Zealand
November 28, 2012 04:52PM
Fantastic! But you did confuse me for a second...with all of those shots of snow and glaciers, when you mentioned the Iceman I thought that you were talking about
Otzi - The Iceman that didn't play basketball
I am glad that it was Gervin that you were sitting with. Must have been pretty cool Head roll
Re: Just got back from New Zealand
November 28, 2012 06:27PM
Amazing that Alaska and New Zealand can look so much alike. Great pictures.
avatar Re: Just got back from New Zealand
November 28, 2012 08:30PM
Great stuff. Thanks so much for posting. I've only been to the North Island. Need to go back to the south, but too much to see in the Sierra first.
avatar Re: Just got back from New Zealand
November 29, 2012 07:15AM
Yowza. Tanks for Sharon.

Now I'm looking at book I bought in 1998. "Tramping in New Zealand".
I think I need to retire.

O... Yosemite is Better wink



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