A Travellerspoint blog

February 2014

The Edge of the World

Well, actually the Southern edge of NZ

Driving along the southern coast of the South Island of New Zealand, we encountered some sheep and helped herd them with our car!
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We stopped in the town that is the farthest south on the South Island, Bluff, for some classic pictures.
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Then we drove along a dirt road, for quite some time, to get to the 'real' southern most point of the South Island...
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We also drove up to a lookout (as opposed to hiking an hour up...we've gotten lazy with a car!) and got to watch a storm come in :)
Bluff lookout

Bluff lookout

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The next day, we drove through The Catlins, which had several pretty waterfalls. One claimed to be the "most photographed"...I wonder how many more pictures are taken when one is labeled as the "most photographed...

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There was also a cool lighthouse we stopped at called Nugget Point (named after the rocks sticking up out of the water).
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We made some friends, borrowed some binoculars, and even saw some birds and seals below!
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Posted by smr1188 13:46 Archived in New Zealand Tagged new_zealand roadtrip south_island Comments (0)

Glaciers and the Fjordlands

First stop, Franz Josef Glacier. Without a helicopter and a guide, you're not allowed to walk on the glacier, and there is a fence showing how close you can safely get.

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It's retreated quite a bit in the past couple years!
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We also stopped by Lake Matheson which is famous for it's gorgeous view of Mount Cook and typically has great reflections. We got there a mid morning and the wind had already picked up, so the optimal reflection was lost, but it was gorgeous walk around the lake with several neat view points.

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7 hours away in the southwest part of the South Island is the small town of Te Anau, which is another hour away from Milford Sound. Milford Sound is actually a fjord and not a sound, and we had booked an early morning boat ride. Everyone said the best way to see Milford Sound was from the water, and they were right!

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But first....we met a fjordland crested penguin in the road. Never graceful on land, he was just crossing the road and heading back to the water.

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There are 5-10 different companies that you can take a boat cruise with, and looking at them online they all sound very similar. They all take the same basic route and have around the same amount of time on the water. We finally opted for the smallest boat, reading a review that mentioned the small boats get closer to the shoreline and waterfalls. There are 2 main falls here, Lady Bowen and Stirling Falls, but after rain (most days) 100s of small falls appear everywhere. “One of the few places that's gorgeous in the rain or shine” we heard a lot. And our boat had free tea!

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Milford Sound is surrounded by 4,000ft cliffs. It's an amazing place that I had a hard time capturing on camera...how do you portray that scale?

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We definitely picked the right boat and had an awesome time! The weather was sunny and we cruised along slow enough that the wind wasn't cold. We even went right up under Stirling Falls, and got soaked.

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Lady Bowen Falls, 530 feet tall, provides electricity and water (just like a spring, it's untreated and tastes so clean and fresh!) for Milford Sound businesses and residents (less than 150 people).

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We went out to the Tasman Sea briefly, and passed some sunbathing seals!

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There were also lots of walks in the area and wildflowers.
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Posted by smr1188 16:03 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

It may not have felt like Christmas...

...But it was still a good day

Situated between the beach (Tasman Sea) and the rainforest (Paparoa National Park) we celebrated Christmas Day by going for a walk in the rain.

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There was a lovely trail and so much greenery everywhere.

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The trail was quite wet and muddy with all the rain so we tried to avoid a lot of the puddles.

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We found a swing bridge that had recently been built and enjoyed hearing the birds in the trees.

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We stopped at the Pancake Rocks on the way back to our hostel and then relaxed on our balcony overlooking the water.

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Posted by smr1188 18:47 Archived in New Zealand Tagged rainforest beach new_zealand roadtrip south_island Comments (0)

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