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Author Topic: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17  (Read 5096 times)

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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2016, 11:49:00 am »
Wow!  Thanks for the pictures.  In the spring, is that the water that is welling up in the middle?  It almost looks like you are on the top of a mountain.  Where is the water coming from?

I don't know what the water clarity is on Lake Tahoe, but it is pretty amazing as well.  The one time I had my 18' boat out on it, we were pulling out from the dock.  I panicked when I thought I was about to hit a large submerged rock.  I tried to push off with my oar.  Turns out the boulder was probably 30 feet down!  No depth perception when the water is that clear.
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Offline SawyerBrown

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2016, 12:40:49 pm »
Oh my goodness, this is so timely!  The Mrs SawyerBrown and I just locked in a Feb 18 to Mar 7 trip to New Zealand.  Flying into/out of Auckland, but that's as far as the planning has gone so far.  Please continue to post pictures and give your recommendations, this is great!  Also if you have any suggestions on the north island, that would be wonderful.  Unfortunately, we're trying to cram an awful lot into just over 2 weeks ... the Mrs gets homesick (or just sick of me) after that, so we have to limit time away.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2016, 12:14:54 am »
Just checking in at Westport, and at least I've got wifi in the cabin here.

In the first day my Brand New Phone died. I didn't actually NEED a new phone, just Lil had bought a new top of the line one and got another free phone thrown in on the deal. And it was better than my 6 month old unit.So I spent the afternoon before we left getting all my favorite Apps installed, accounts synchronized etc, and it dies. Anyway, as luck would have it, we where next door to a cellphone shop (3 hours from home). Took it in, they confirmed it was dead, contacted our local branch to confirm the warranty, and gave us a new one. So can't complain about their service. Just the new one is blank  and needs about 1 gb of updates ::) Anyway its happily sitting here downloading updates now.

Quote
How much tide is there at the beach ???

Not very much, maybe 6 ft max, and it's a very sheltered beach in the Golden Bay inlet.

Wow!  Thanks for the pictures.  In the spring, is that the water that is welling up in the middle?  It almost looks like you are on the top of a mountain.  Where is the water coming from?

I don't know what the water clarity is on Lake Tahoe, but it is pretty amazing as well.  The one time I had my 18' boat out on it, we were pulling out from the dock.  I panicked when I thought I was about to hit a large submerged rock.  I tried to push off with my oar.  Turns out the boulder was probably 30 feet down!  No depth perception when the water is that clear.

It's basically on the valley floor, surrounded on three sides with big limestone hills (like the one we climbed to the power station) In fact the springs are around the middle of the picture looking out from the top. Rainwater on the hills seeps down into cracks in the limetone and creates these underground rivers that normally flow out to sea. At that spot there is a fault line the interrupts the limestone aquifer, so the water is forced to the surface. Because it's been filtering through the rock for ~10 years, it's almost pure, apart from some minerals don't affect the clarity.

The water you describe in Tahoe sounds like regular "clear" water, the stuff you look and say "Wow that's clear". The water in the spring is next level clear.  :D You might see the bottom from 200 ft if you filled a lake with it.

Oh my goodness, this is so timely!  The Mrs SawyerBrown and I just locked in a Feb 18 to Mar 7 trip to New Zealand.  Flying into/out of Auckland, but that's as far as the planning has gone so far.  Please continue to post pictures and give your recommendations, this is great!  Also if you have any suggestions on the north island, that would be wonderful.  Unfortunately, we're trying to cram an awful lot into just over 2 weeks ... the Mrs gets homesick (or just sick of me) after that, so we have to limit time away.

2 weeks wont be too bad if you stick to the North Island. What sort of things do you want to see? It will be late summer when you are here, and that's usually the best weather. But no good sending you to the beach if you want to go bush walking in the Mts. You can easily do both in the same day of course, see yesterdays post.  :)

Anyway, off to edit some photos from today.
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: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2016, 02:04:29 pm »
Farewell to Pakawau





Back over the Takaka Hill. The road zigzags up the face of the hill to the low part on the left.


We stopped and climbed the hill to the high spot as well.



Real Hobbit wilds up there with eroding limestone rocks everywhere.



 And stopped for lunch at Lake Rotoroa

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: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2016, 02:39:10 pm »
Checking in from Franz Josef, a small town near the bottom of the West Coast.

West Coast is rugged and exposed to the prevailing weather. Rough seas and LOTS of rain. (It's raining this morning).

Stopped to check the sights at Punakaiki.





Still have palm trees this far south.



Then we stopped at Hokitika for some groceries (last supermarket f, or a couple of days). Kids spotted a "Native Wildlife Centre" across the street. Although a bit dubious we went and had a look. Was actually surprisingly good. They had a lank of BIG freshwater eels, and it was feeding time. You could hand feed them, and even touch them, just keep your finders away from the sharp end.



They also have Kiwi, Tuatara, and a big pond of Koura (like Crawfish) that you could try and catch / release. They had been there a few years and knew the game, but still wanted the bait. I did eventually catch one.

Having a look around here and on the Haast (onle 1.5 hours South). Rain is supposed to ease off at lunch time
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2016, 01:39:34 am »
Staying in Haast tonight. This place is pretty remote. Lost cellphone coverage 2 hours up the road, and wont get it back for 2 more hours across to the other side of the Alps. Glaciers where pretty much clouded in that part of the trip was rained out. So we pushed on South to Haast as the weather was clearing from the South.

This basically the end of the road at Jackson Bay. If you want to go further South, you need a boat.



So we went back and looked around Haast. This is by the river.



Check out the bridge. It's 730 metres long, and ONE lane. There are a couple of passing bays in the middle, because if it's raining, you can't see a car at the other end.



Tomorrow we follow the Haast river up into the Mts and over the pass into the lakes area. Next stop is Wanaka

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: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2016, 12:15:23 am »
OK, bit late on the 28th, had connections problems last night.

Here we are heading up the Haast river to the pass over the Alps



And over into Otago district and the Mt Aspiring National Park. This is the Blue Pool, named for obvious reasons. The snow melt water has a bright blue colour all year round.



And yes that's some tourist getting ready to jump off the bridge. I did mention the part about Snow Melt didn't I

Walking back through the Beech forest back to the road



And then on down the road into Wanaka...

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Offline Ianab

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2016, 12:26:15 am »
Thursday 29th, day tripping around Wanaka.
Went up to Mt Aspiring National Park. 12 miles of badly corrugated gravel road, with tourists that have no idea how to drive on gravel. With the surface like it was you had to be up around 40 mph to smooth it out a bit, and things tended to get a bit loose..

But the scenery made it worth the trip.

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Offline Ianab

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2016, 12:55:07 am »
OK, we got put of Wanaka before more drunk teenagers arrived for New Year. Called in at Queenstown, which was basically a huge traffic jam. Luckily we hadn't booked there, and pressed on to Te Anau, which is a much quieter place.

Looking out over the lake at Queenstown



This is on the other side of the lake, under the Mts in the first picture.



Then on to Te Anau, which is basically the last town before Milford Sound. This is more like it



This shop was featured in a recent TV advert for ice cream, so the girls wanted to stop and get ice creams  :D



Tomorrow, day trip through to Milford Sound.
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: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2016, 05:33:30 am »
OK, Day trip to Milford Sound today.

Forecast was for rain, so we knew what to expect, and weren't disappointed.  :D



Waterfalls.... LOTS of waterfalls.



Waterfalls up close ...



And waterfalls further away. See the little boat in the corner, that's a 3 deck tour boat nosing in under the same waterfall.

View from the open ocean. Early explorers  missed the place completely.



But 100 yards in and look what opens up.



In inside the fiord. looking back toward the open ocean.



Then we stopped at an underwater viewing place. Walk down 30 ft underwater, and you are in a reverse aquarium, looking out at the fish, and even coral. The white fern like thing is a coral, growing here at 44 deg South



Cloud lifted a bit to give an idea of the scale. Again, one of the bigger tour boats in the corner



Then we stopped on the way out at a viewing spot, and Lil got to tick off another native bird from her list. Kea parrots hanging out in the carpark waiting to dismantle rental cars. These are a large native parrot that live up in the high mountains (usually in the snow). They are dangerously smart, and will steal your windscreen wipers and window rubbers if given the chance.



Then just water cascading down the side of the Mt as we wait to go through the Homer tunnel, which is an adventure in itself..

 

Tomorrow we head off South to Invercargill and Bluff, where the road ends again. After that, we head North towards home. But lots to see still.
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Offline SawyerBrown

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2016, 07:28:17 am »
Milford Sound was definitely on our list of things to do, so I guess you would give this a thumbs-up?

Are you planning to go out to Stewart Island when you head south?

Thanks again for the updates and beautiful pictures!!
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Online LeeB

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2016, 12:14:56 pm »
The falls are absolutely beautiful. My favorite part of the tour so far. It's really great of you to have brought us all along.  :new_year:
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2016, 10:54:11 pm »
Milford Sound was definitely on our list of things to do, so I guess you would give this a thumbs-up?

Are you planning to go out to Stewart Island when you head south?

Thanks again for the updates and beautiful pictures!!

No trip to Stewart Island this time. It's a bit far out of the way even for us. Be different if you wanted to get in some hiking / fishing / hunting.

Milford Sound is awesome, just it's ~1100 miles from Auckland by road. With only a 2 week visit you would spend a LOT of time driving. If you flew to Queenstown for a few days I guess it would be practical.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #33 on: January 01, 2017, 12:28:16 am »
OK, end of the road at Bluff. Can't drive any further South.



View looking back North from the Bluff Hill. Not much to see to the South today as the weather was pretty rough. Stewart Island was out the some place in the cloud and haze.



So time to heas back North again. 2768 km on the trip meter so far, and another 12 days left on the trip, with lots more to see.

Tomorrow we head for Dunedin, the only place in the world that's more Scottish than Scotland.(based on bagpipes per capita anyway)
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #34 on: January 01, 2017, 02:05:18 am »
Oh, and they do know how to make park benches here in Invercargill. Get a tree, and cut away anything that's not a bench.  :D

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Offline WDH

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #35 on: January 01, 2017, 11:31:43 am »
Now that is a bench.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #36 on: January 01, 2017, 08:27:50 pm »
I look forward to reading this topic every day.   :)
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2017, 03:58:38 am »
Todays road trip was from Invercargill to Dunedin, via the Caitlins (coast road).
This is basically across the Southern coast of the South Island.

First stop was a place called Slope Point. Turns out that although Highway 1 ends in Bluff, it's not as far South as you can drive. That's this place. Well technically you have to walk the last 1/2 mile, but that's just what you do.



Looking down at the sea and rocks below. Wasn't a particularly rough day, but some big swells rolling in.



Then around the corner to a place called Curio Bay.



Famous for several reasons. On of the breeding places of the rare Yellow Eyed penguin.

And we get to see one.



You have to stay 30ft away from them (by law) so you don't disturb their breeding or molting.



The other thing is the petrified forest buried in the rocks. This is a 160 million year old forest, gradually being uncovered by the sea. You can see the logs and stumps clearly.



Then a quick bite of lunch at a lookout. Looks like Summer, but air temp was about 12C, and wind was reminding us we where closer to the South Pole than the Equator.



Last stop was a place called Nugget point.


View from up at the lighthouse



And looking down at the Fur Seals swimming and basking on the rocks below.



Checking out the sights of Dunedin tomorrow, then heading North to Oamaru.



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: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2017, 10:51:45 am »
Really appreciate you taking us with you on this tour.  It is really interesting looking at the pictures.  I could tell with today's postings things had turned a bit cooler in the area you were in.  Y'all went from summer type shorts and short sleeve shirts to coats!

Offline Ox

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Re: Middle Earth Tour 2016/17
« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2017, 01:39:18 pm »
Love the pictures!  Thank you for taking the time to post them!
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