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Author Topic: Winter 2020 NZ road trip  (Read 5384 times)

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Offline Ianab

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Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« on: August 21, 2020, 03:37:04 PM »
Tropical island holiday is postponed, so we are off for a Winter road trip around the South Island.  Waiting to board the ferry in Wellington now. Clear calm morning so it should be a smooth trip.
<
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2020, 05:46:41 PM »
 Goodbye Nth Island. Calm crossing  with perfect weather today
 
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2020, 07:53:21 PM »
And here we are at the Sth Island. Yes I'm posting from the ship 🙂
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2020, 07:59:17 PM »
 About to berth at Picton.

Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2020, 04:05:41 AM »
Ship spinning around to berth in Picton.



Lunch in Blenheim 



Then we drove the Christchurch for the night.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2020, 11:28:47 AM »
Ian,

   You throw us for a loop here in the northern hemisphere talking about a winter holiday while we are suffering from heat waves and hurricanes. :D

   I met my wife for a trip in South Africa in June one time and we like to froze to death the first couple nights till we got closer to the equator and finally thawed out. We never thought about the fact it was winter there.

  I hope you and the ladies have a great trip. Stay safe and create lots of great memories.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2020, 01:53:14 AM »
Weather not so hot today, fog and overcast. Not so much for sightseeing.

Went to New Brighton ( suburb of Christchurch).







Then through to Picton. A few logs waiting to load at the port.



We are now in Timaru. Have more pictures but the power supply for my laptop keeps tripping the GFI breaker in the cabin after a few minutes?  So I am probably stuck with cellphone pics until we get home

Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2020, 05:18:03 AM »
Went down to the beach after sunset as there were apparently penguins that come ashore after fishing for the day, and it's a good spot to see them.

<


Yup, we are just on the footpath beside the car, the port is across the road where cranes are loading a container ship, lots of lights and noise. But these guys are used to it, and aren't worried about a few people wandering around.  Another one popped up and started grabbing tufts of grass beside my foot, then hopped off back to its nest in the rocks. No flash as that does scare them, just a cellphone at night, so not the best photo.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline samandothers

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2020, 12:11:52 PM »
Very cool, thanks for taking time to share.

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2020, 01:48:02 PM »
Thank you, it is a fascinating country.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2020, 01:42:41 AM »
Weather has been a bit mud today, not cold, just fog and drizzle. Not normal for this part of the country, but just like home :D

Called in and visited with Lil's cousin that works on a local dairy farm, so that was good. Then drove through to Oamaru. Cool little town, has an actual sweet factory (that hasn't been bought out by some multinational and shifted offshore). And they have a "factory shop", where the kids were delighted to find they sold 1 kilogram bags of sweets, for sensible prices.  



Then we stopped in at the Steampunk Museum which is a pretty "unique" sort of place, in a cool, but weird way. :D Put $2 in the slot and the old train blows smoke and shoots flames 8)

 

Then there is this lights / music / mirrors room. Every surface apart from the floor panel you stand on is mirrored. So reflections to infinity.






Anyone looking for an old lathe to rebuild?



I did find some wood porn, holding the building up. Those posts are about 18x12 and appear to be solid Rimu. The building is local limestone with this solid timber framing inside. 100+ years old. 1/2 the town is built in this style, and most of the older buildings are still standing. 



Didn't need the smoke machine to make the "Led Zepillin" look the part  :D



Anyway, that was today, bit of a "fog out" as far as sight seeing went. Heading further south to Dunedin tomorrow, then inland to the Lakes and Mts before making our way Nth again through the more scenic high country route. Got some multi night stops booked there, and much more scenery. Hopefully the weather clears.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2020, 03:20:35 AM »
Headed South again to Dunedin.  Dont let the golden sand and blue water fool you, sleet has set in tonight and there will be snow on the hills by morning. 




Went to the museum for lunch, and it was nice and warm so we just hung out there for the afternoon. ;)




This is a single log dugout canoe made in the late 1800s.


Butterfly house was positively tropical, so we had a good look around there too.


The "palm trees" are actually bananas



Heading inland to Lake Te Anau tomorrow. Hopefully Milford Sound the next day.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Jeff

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2020, 07:07:42 AM »
That steampunk museum would be right up my ally!
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2020, 07:38:20 AM »
Thanks for the tour Ianab.
Looking forward to more photos and commentary 
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2020, 03:10:35 AM »
Hit the road from Dunedin this morning. This is the old town hall and cathedral in the middle of the city





Bridge over the Clutha river at Balclutha. This is the biggest river in the South Island. We will meet up with it again as we head North again.





The big trout at Gore. This is basically the centre of Southland. They have their own accent here, and the towns name is more like "Gorrr" :D





Heading up into the high country we start seeing some snow before the weather closes in again.






Went up the road to see the bird centre. It's a captive breeding / rescue centre, not a so much a tourist thing, it a Dept of Conservation centre.  This is a Takahe, which is one of the breeding pairs they have there. The birds were though to be extinct for about 50 years before a population of about 100 birds was found near Te Anau. There are now over 400 of them at several locations around the country.



 

View from the cabin looking at the hills across the lake. Cloud is down on the higher hills so you can't see them, but it's forecast  to go down to freezing tonight with hail and snow on the hills. Road through to Milford Sound is closed tonight due to expected snow, but weather is supposed to be better tomorrow, so we should be able to make a trip through to there.


 

Just after dark the fire siren went off and a couple of trucks went past. Short time later a rescue chopper set down behind the campground. So not sure if it was a road accident, or the fire guys were called to set up a night landing spot for a medical evac. It's about 2 hours to the nearest hospital from here, and 3 to the larger hospital in Dunedin. Kudos to the chopper crew getting up here at night in this weather :o
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2020, 06:37:01 AM »
Really enjoyed the trip Ian, thanks for posting!
~Chuck~
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2020, 05:27:00 AM »
OK, cameras got a workout today. Might need a couple of posts :D

Weather looked a bit ominous as we left the cabin and headed up the lake, low cloud and about 4°C, but the forecast was for improvement.



 

Sure enough it cleared up as we got up into the Mts more.



 

This is the Beech forest that covers the lower part of the hills. This was supposed to be "Mirror Lake", famous for reflections of the Mts behind it, but several ducks had taken up residence and kept making ripples. 





So we carried on and got to the larger Lake Gunn, which was  duck free, and a much better mirror

 

 

Stopped at a lookout and a curious Kea (Mountain Parrot) showed up. They are notorious scavengers, but you aren't supposed to feed them "people food". As revenge they like to steal windscreen wipers and and other part they can pry off a car.  :D





Got to some road works further up the road and there's another kea keeping the Stop/Go man company (or trying  to steal his lunch more likely). As well as directing traffic he had to shoo the bird off the road each time he turned the sign to Go. 

 

 

Last viewing spot before the "No stopping - Avalanche risk" signs. The road winds up a bit further then you get a 
3/4 mile one lane tunnel carved out of bare rock, 



 

Through the tunnel the road winds down again into the forest and down the sea level.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Ianab

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2020, 06:36:24 AM »
Getting late so I'm just going to dump pics and run. Descriptions to come.

It's hard to capture the scale of the place in pictures. The peak in this picture is over 4,000 ft, straight out of the water, and it's like that in every direction.

This probably the most iconic postcard view in NZ, from the carpark / visitors centre at Milford Sound




The tour boats at the wharf. The most of the larger ones seem to be tied up for the duration, no overseas tourists, and the ones still operating have reduced passenger numbers. Normally the carpark would have a dozen busses, these days there a re a couple of mini-vans, and a few dozen cars / campers in the main carpark. We got tickets for the smaller blue catamaran in the foreground. 

 

 

This is a Kotuku or White Heron. Although they are fairly common in Australia and Asia they are rare in NZ with only one small breeding colony on the West Coast. When not breeding the forage up and down the coast.



 

Found my own "Mirror Lake" in the mostly empty carpark :D



 

And we are off on our cruise :)



 

Looking back at the wharf and Bowen Falls. It's glacier fed and one of the permanent waterfalls in the fjord.



 

Looking back up the valley where the road comes in. The airfield is at the lower right and must be one of the more interesting places to land a plane.





Around the corner is the commercial crayfish boats, airfield is behind them, and Bowen falls in the background

 

 

There is basically no topsoil on the cliffs, and the trees just cling their hanging on the crevices. Most of the time,,, Annual rainfall here averages about 30ft, so sometimes they get washed off in a tree avalanche, and it's 100 years for more to grow. They get at least some rain about 330 days of the year... 



 

Looking up at the side of Mitre Peak (the Mt in the first picture). It's 5,500 ft, basically rising straight out of the sea. The water there is also ~600 ft deep



 
.
More waterfalls coming down the side of the peak





Lara wanted to close up view :D

 



Heading further down the fjord.

 

 

From near the open ocean.





And actually outside in the Tasman sea. Captain Cook who was the first European to properly map NZ managed to sail past 3 times and never noticed there was a fjord there. It was marked on his maps as just a bay. 

 

 

Fur seals sunning themselves



 

Getting up close with Stirling falls, another glacier fed waterfall coming out of a hanging valley.


.


Same

 



Then we had a pod of dolphins follow us for a while. They aren't resident to the sound, but do visit occasionally.

 

 

Sun was getting lower by now, so time to head back before the road iced up for the night. I see the road is closed again to night until 10 am tomorrow, to give the road crews time to grit the road up near the tunnel, 





Anyway, that's Milford Sound, without the usual tourist hordes. :D It's one of the more remote parts of NZ, about a 2 hour drive from the township of Te Anau, One road on, one road out... 
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline customsawyer

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2020, 06:44:51 AM »
Beautiful country. Thanks for taking the time to share.
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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Winter 2020 NZ road trip
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2020, 07:05:17 AM »
Thanks from Virginia.  Tasmania is as close as I've gotten to NZ but it is on the bucket list.  Like to go there while I can still muck around.  I hear the insects can get brutal in the summer on the south island, is that right?
Liking Walnut


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