This is where we were this morning.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Now this is a beach picture The kiteboarder from Spain didn't quite make it off the beach but he sure made a good effort. The wind has slight quiet times so it's kinda frustrating for him. Wish my clavicle wasn't broken cause I'd ask him to school me.
It's nice here. We spent a couple of foggy days up at Brewster hut, then managed to get above the clouds this morning by climbing up to the top of Mt. Armstrong. We put our intentions form in the box outside the DoC infocenter so the police don't go looking for us.
Tomorrow maybe...Aspiring or French ridge hut? We'll see.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Today we got to the DOC campsite at Boundary Creek at the north end of Lake Wanaka. We debated going to the Aspiring hut west of Wanaka, but didn't want to drive the car through the creek crossings, especially with an unknown amount of rain coming. Tomorrow we'll do some more debating and head up to either Brewster hut near Haast pass, or Young hut and Siberia hut on the Gillespie pass track just west of there. We just have to wait and see what the weather does! It's pretty windy on the lake - luckily we found a good sheltered spot for the tent.
We probably won't be able to post on the blog or check email for a while. Telecom NZ coverage is good, but it's not perfect!
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
A couple of earthquakes have hit Christchurch a few hours ago. They were something like 5.8-6.0 quakes, pretty big ones really. We didn't feel anything here (south of Wanaka). No deaths reported so far, but one injury. I'm sure the residents of the Christchurch area didn't need this!
Last night we followed a recommedation to visit Tairoa Head where their is a Blue Penguin colony of about 150 pairs. There was as much fun for me watching the volunteer guide get excited and talking with him. He said that he hadn't seen as pretty sunset nor as many penguins swim in together on a flat sea. It looked like a arrow point of darkened rippling from a distance and as they kept swimming towards the beach we could see them porpoising gracefully. All of a sudden 50+ hit the beach and they were on their feet standing about 25cm tall and several cm's apart from each. Over about an hour's time they made it up the beach and through the 40+ humanoids sitting in their way. The sounds of them calling to their partners and also the sounds of chicks calling was kinda loud. Mark had one step on his foot and I was hoping they might jump on our laps but I guess they suspected we were not rocks since our position changes nightly.
I'm very impressed with the volunteers and the DOC to keep these penguins safe and still be accessible to the public. Most of the ecotourism on the Otago is expensive tour's to help offset costs of preserving habitat and predator control while making a profit to live. I think if we all pitched in $5 donation, the DOC would be able to do the job better especially since conservation funding is not adaquately funded by the NZ government.
And no, we didn't visit the castle. We are giving our $ to the penguin trust.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Mark loves to look at yellow eyed penguins so he is willing to traverse this to get to them. We saw bunches of them at Curio Beach, I woke up this am to their distinctive calls. As i write this, the road sign reads "16km to yellow eyed penguins". We saw dolphins spin in the air this am too. Too cold to swim I thought so we didn't try to see if they would think us interesting, or stupid to jump in their bay.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Visited Milford Sound yesterday. It was very picturesque, just like the calendars. We also hiked to the first hut on the Routeburn track, just as a day hike - the hut must have been built for protection from the sandflies!
The weather has been great the past few days. Definitely summertime! We saw parakeets above our campsite at Cascade Creek this morning. Lots of sunshine is anticipated today. We checked into a private medical clinic and for no charge advice was given to perservere. Their isn't a reason to xray again if their is no pain. Merry Christmas they said. We are going to the mtns again (maybe Brewster Hut) while Mark has to be the sherpa.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
We bought some cherries at a roadside stop, but I ate too many...
Ciel ate some too.
We hiked above the campground at Kidd's Bush on Lake Hawea near Wanaka.
We didn't get all the way to the cabin, but we did see some good scenery anyway.
We're thinking of heading down to Milford Sound next, as the weather is supposed to be good for the next couple of days. I hope the forecast is right!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Like the man said, if you don't want rain then go visit the Sahara!
Monday, December 12, 2011
This is our first (and perhaps only) glimpse of Aoraki (Mt. Cook) from the trig point above Okarito. The weather today has been great, mostly sunny all day. We had a great time walking on the beach and lazing around in the sun at the community-run campground here. The weather is supposed to turn bad again tomorrow though.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
We drove up to Arthur's pass last night and found one of the DOC campgrounds. When we got there, there were a couple of guys camping in their van, and one of them came up and asked us if we had jumper cables to boost his van. We pulled the car up beside his van, got the booster cables out of the trunk, hooked things up, and tried to start the van - nothing. I was suspicious of the cables because there were no sparks when I hooked them up, so I had a good look at the connections. One of them had come loose, so I used my leatherman tool to connect it back up. We tried again, this time successfully. James and his Czech friend were quite grateful, and insisted on giving us a Grateful Dead CD for our troubles.
After we got the tent set up, he warned us not to leave anything out, or the Keas would turn our camp into "white trash" camping. We saw a couple of these mountain parrots fly over, but this morning we woke up undisturbed by marauding Keas. We were careful not to leave anything out for them of course!
Friday, December 9, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Our first oil change in New Zealand. Ciel gets her first big outing since the accident and see how sitting in a car feels for more than 10km. This is one beautiful and exciting day travelling to the french village Akaroa. The oil change feels GREAT! Let's be tourists.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
We got most of the way up Lake Sumner road when Ciel hit some loose gravel and wiped out. She was pretty out of it when I got to her a minute or so later, so I got her stable with a pad under her and jacket and sleeping bag on top. She kept repeating questions for 20 or 30 minutes, so I was pretty worried. No cars came by for a long time and I didn't have a signal on my phone - not good. Eventually a truck came along and Lester loaded our stuff up and took us out to Waikari where we called an ambulance. Three different doctors and two ambulances showed up - now we're in the hospital in Christchurch. Ciel has a broken collarbone and a concussion.