A Travellerspoint blog

Queenstown to Lake Tekapo

Days 14,15, and 16

We left the busy adrenaline city behind us and headed to Dunedin. Our fist top on the road was the historical town of arrowtown for a glimpse of the way things used to be. The colors of fall there were beautiful and the town was out of a storybook but it was terribly cold that morning so we did not stay out walking around for long just enough time to get a cup of hot tea.
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From arrowtown we headed off along the old gold mining trail through Central Otago the scenery was beautiful. We arrived in the city known as ‘Edinburgh of the South’ or Dunedin shortly before 4pm(a bit later than originally scheduled due to a few set backs along the way but we made it non the less). This city was modeled after Edinburgh Scotland with a wonderful mixture of Victorian colonial history and contemporary cafes and bars. This city also provides a great base to explore the largest variety of wildlife in the south island. So once we had dropped off at the few hostels it was time to jump on the shuttle to the Elm Wildlife Tour. This tour took us over to the Otago Peninsula to spot Yellow-eyed penguins, Albatross, sea lions and fur seals. It was a great night complete with a beautiful sunset on our way home!
Albatross

Albatross

Fur Seal

Fur Seal

Fur Seal

Fur Seal

Fur Seal

Fur Seal

Sunset over the peninsula

Sunset over the peninsula

Sheep

Sheep

yellow-eyed penguin

yellow-eyed penguin

I was so excited to see the Penguins

I was so excited to see the Penguins

PENGUIN

PENGUIN

Penguin

Penguin

sea lions

sea lions

sea lion

sea lion

wild Penguin

wild Penguin

Sunset on the way home from the Otago Peninsula

Sunset on the way home from the Otago Peninsula


We left Dunedin early the next morning and headed for lake Tekapo. Our first stop was only 15minutes into our drive at Baldwin Street. This is the world’s steepest street! It was really steep. We got the chance to walk up it and it was funny to see that there was a bench and drinking fountain at the top for those who need a rest after climbing the street. There were even steps along the side of it for those who couldn’t just climb up or down on the road. After telling John about what we did he got curious and let me know that the fastest someone had ever ran up and down Baldwin street was 1minute and 56second. And I have to say I could never do that! I ran down it for a second and was a scared I was going to fall and roll all the way down I can’t imagine racing it!
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From Baldwin Street we headed to the Moeraki Boulders, these boulders are unlike any I have ever seen; they are known for their unique spherical shape and the way they are scattered along the beach.
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Then we continued on our way with a few stops in small towns for lunch and a supermarket stop because the town of Lake Tekapo is very very small. Just before we got to the town and Hostels in Lake Tekapo we stopped on the outskirts of the lake because it was such a clear day we had a wonderful view of Mt Cook, which is the tallest Mt in New Zealand.
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We got to Lake Tekapo in time to just hang out for a few hours before we all got together and made a wonderful BBQ dinner. We had all pitched in some money when we stopped at the supermarket for some hamburgers and potatoes and a few different salads. It was a great dinner and fun to make with friends from the bus. After clean up we got all our warm clothes on and headed for the observatory on Mt John. This was INCREDIBLE we had to turn the headlights on the bus off about 2/3 of the way up the hill because the lights could damage the telescopes and mess with our night vision. Only red flashlights were allowed to be used in the observatory. We got an amazing night for the observatory so clear not a cloud in the sky. We got to see the Milky Way like I have never seen it before and a few shooting stars. The infamous Southern Cross was pointed out to us all and we got to see Saturn through a telescope. I loved ever second of being up there the stars are just breath taking when you can see that many all at once. Our God is a big God to have placed all those stars up there and know them all by name. We got to look through a telescope at a very dull star that was actually a million little stars and that just proved how vast the nights sky is.
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We got home very late from the observatory nearly 1am! I got the chance to skype my mom for few minutes which was nice before bed and then it was of to sleep for a night bright and early start the next day. I did get the chance to get up early and snap a few “sunrise” pictures before we headed out. and I say “sunrise” because the sun hadn’t really come up yet because we left so early. Over all a great two days of the trip filled with more new and amazing experiences!
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In Him,
Hannah

Galatians 2:20

Posted by Dykemah 20:23 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Queenstown

Days 12 and 13

We left Franz Josef bright and early, it was our earliest start of the trip because we had an action packed day! The first stop of the day was Lake Matheson after passing through the small town of Fox Glaciers. It was a beautiful morning but unfortunately the beautiful sunrise and a few ducks ruined the view of the “mirror lake” that Lake Matheson is known for. We didn’t have much time at the stop but I wanted to see if I could get a good view so I kept walking around. This ended up with me running around the path of the lake to make it back in time (still with no great picture) and despite the fact that I was in jeans it felt great to get a bit of a run in while traveling.
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From Lake Matheson we continued on our way inland from the west coast passing through the towns of Haast and Makarora. This inland direction caused the scenery to change from dense forest to vast plateaus. On our drive we past some BEAUTIFUL lakes, first up was Lake Hawea and then Lake Wanaka. These lakes are all the most beautiful blueish green color water ever. this is because they are glacier carved lakes and feed with water coming down streams off the glaciers picking up tons of minerals that reflect the beautiful color.
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As we made our way into Queenstown we stopped at the Kawarau Bridge. This bridge is home to the world first ever commercial bungy. So of course I had to do it! What a rush!!! I would totally do it again and it was a Ton of fun!!
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We stayed two nights in Queenstown and that was great to be able to settle into a room for more than one night. Our first night in town we went out to the Famous burger place Ferburger. It is very well known in New Zealand. Its kinda like a Yesterdog but a burger place.(and yes now i am once again craving yesterdog, it will be on the list of things to do when i get home!)
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Even though we stayed two nights in Queenstown we didn’t get to sleep in much at all because Wednesday morning we took a day trip to Milford Sound! This is perhaps one of New Zealands most famous destinations. This was a great day trip the bus was designed just for the trip with Big clear windows and glass ceilings so you could see up and out! On this trip we traveled alongside the beautiful lakes Wakatipu and Te Anau and then through Fiordland National Park. The 3 hour bus ride was Beautiful the entire way! We when we arrived in Milford sound we took a superb cruise on the fiord, we passed thunderous waterfalls and hanging valleys. We even passed a few seals basking in the sun. The weather was beautiful! It was an incredible trip I am so glad I went.
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Though the highlight of the trip may have been the way home. I took a helicopter ride through the Southern Alps complete with a glacier landing! It was AMAZING! Definitely on the top 5 list! Flying in the helicopter and walking around on the glacier was incredible! A perfect way to end my day trip to Milford Sounds!
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I got back earlier than the others because the drive took longer than the helicopter ride so I got a chance to walk around downtown Queenstown, get a bit of souvenir shopping done for the family. Once the other kids got home it was a nice to hang out and hit the town! We had a great night!! I really enjoyed Queenstown it was a beautiful city and we had great weather, and it is fall here in Australia and New Zealand so the trees were changing colors it made the trip even better!!!
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Queenstown was incredible! I loved it all.
In Him,
Hannah

Jeremiah 33:3

More Pictures in the Gallery!

Posted by Dykemah 22:33 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Easter on a Glacier

Day 11

Well waking up Sunday morning alone in a hostel was nothing different from every other day so far on this trip yet it was very different. When I woke up it was the same early morning get up, get ready, pack up, head for the bus except it was Easter. It was the first time I hadn’t been home for Easter, to find a string attached to my door that I had to follow through a tangle web of yarn to find an Easter basket waiting for me in the oven, or to a bunch of clues to where the Easter bunny had left my basket. No this Easter I woke up in Greymouth New Zealand and was on my way to Franz Josef. It was strange to be without my family, without Easter dinners (mine was a peanut butter sandwich and carrot sticks) and without my church community to celebrate this day with. It was fairly short drive down to Franz Josef with a few stops but enough time to be alone and sit and reflect on what the day really meant. It was more than just the chocolate Easter Bunny Abby had left on my bus seat or the Chocolate eggs passed out by the bus driver, it was a day that meant much more than the Easter dinner I was missing with my family. It was essentially the Greatest day in History! Without this day we would all still be lost. Easter is a celebration of the life of an Amazing God who sent his son to die for us all and then on this day he Rose again to forever live among us! It is a crazy story one unlike any other but it gives me chills to think about, boggles my mind that someone who I can’t even see, who created this beautiful world I am traveling around and seeing the majesty of his work Loved me enough to send his only son to die for me and the brought him back from death to life! CRAZY if you ask me but So amazing. If you don’t feel loved after thinking about that you are out of your mind because that is the ultimate act of kindness and love.

So Sunday morning we headed out of Greymouth down the West Coast. We stopped in a small town called Hokitika, this is a small town but well known for the Green Stone found there. This Greenstone is called Pounamu and is very similar to Jade.

After Hotikika we continued on our way to another small town called Ross. This small town is known for the gold mining that still takes place there today. While we were in Ross we got the chance to pan for some gold ourselves, it was fun to learn how they did it and give it a try, we even go to bring a bit home!

From Ross we headed further south through the Westland National Park, which was a beautiful place to drive through eventually leading us to the very small tourist town of Franz Josef! We all checked into our hostel and got some warm clothes on then it was off to the Glacier! When we got to the building they loaded us up with all sorts of gear, waterproof pants, rain jacket, socks and boots, clampons and even a hat and some gloves. Once we were dressed and ready to go we piled onto the bus and headed for the Glacier. When we got to the car park it was POURING RAIN, we were not all that happy about this but what can you do. We headed through the rainforest portion of the walk and out onto the flat where we got the first look at the Glacier.
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From there we split up into 5 different groups. Because there was 6 of us traveling together off the magic bus we ended up in the last group (the slow group) but it worked out GREAT we got the most time on the Glacier and see the most without being rushed I would totally go in the last group again. It was abut a 1k walk to the base of the Glacier so we headed down the path. We stopped along the river where we found some HUGE ice chunks floating down and around the river because the rain had swept them down.
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Then it was up the side of the rock covered Glacier once getting to the top there we put on our clampons which fit over the top of our boats and had big spikes on them to keep us from slipping on the ice. When everyone was all geared up it was time to hit the ice! I was so excited! We got to walk around up and over peaks and jump over big cracks and we even found a cave to climb in. It was So Much fun to be out on the ice. I was surprised at how blue the ice really was and it had some really cool lines running through the ice. The views were great being surrounded by mountains that were covered in rainforest! It was unlike anywhere else in the world I am sure! The sun even tried to come out for a bit, and even though it wasn’t the sunniest day we have had this trip the rain stopped and held off while we were on the actual Glacier so I don’t have much to complain about. I spend the day admiring Gods handy work like I had never seen it before and it was AMAZING!
IMG_1087.jpgDanger...We went past there anyways

Danger...We went past there anyways

Abby and I before we went onto the ice

Abby and I before we went onto the ice

Before we headed out onto the actual ice

Before we headed out onto the actual ice

LOVED IT

LOVED IT

the lines in the ice

the lines in the ice

the ice was so blue and made such cool shapes!

the ice was so blue and made such cool shapes!

our group on the top of the glacier!

our group on the top of the glacier!

In a ice crack! so cool

In a ice crack! so cool

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We even got some blue sky for a little while!

We even got some blue sky for a little while!

Our guide was great, he went off the track and found us a sweet cave!

Our guide was great, he went off the track and found us a sweet cave!

Up on the ice! it was a beautiful view and a great hike!

Up on the ice! it was a beautiful view and a great hike!

Mountain Parrot, the only one in the world. They are as smart at 5year olds

Mountain Parrot, the only one in the world. They are as smart at 5year olds


Our night ended with a beautiful sunset over the glacier as we hiked back out through the valley.
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Back at the Hostel we had dinner and hit the sauna! It felt great! I even met a girl who was also traveling around New Zealand on a different tour who also goes to USC and actually ended up being in my Criminal Justice class! Small world right. She is a great girl and we might even do some traveling together up to whitsundays when we both get back to the sunshine coast! Over all a different yet great Easter. I hope you all had great Easters and remember the true meaning of the holiday!

He Has Risen,
Hannah

Matthew 28:5-7

Posted by Dykemah 03:19 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Wellington to Greymouth and the stops along the way

Days 9 and 10

We left Wellington Friday morning, a shuttle came and picked us up at the hostel around 7am and we headed for the ferry. It was very busy on the ferry this time around because of the holiday weekend. Abby and I found seats in the food court and didn’t really move much. The ferry ride was long but actually went quick I got a chance to catch up on some reading and skype with m parents for a bit. As we got close to Picton Abby and I headed for the sun deck to take in some of the vies, it was a beautiful morning (or by this time early afternoon) the sun was out and it was enjoyable to be outside.
the GIANT FERRY

the GIANT FERRY

Coming into the Picton Harbor

Coming into the Picton Harbor

The Ferry can hold up to 600cars!

The Ferry can hold up to 600cars!

the channel into the harbor was beautiful!

the channel into the harbor was beautiful!

On the ferry coming into Picton Harbor

On the ferry coming into Picton Harbor

After we got off the ferry and collected our bags, which took forever because of how many people, were on the ferry we headed to the bus. The bus took up down the west coast to Nelson. Unfortunately because of the holiday weekend we had to skip the wine country on our way in but it was still a nice drive in. Nelson is the gateway city to Abel Tasman National park and is the city that gets the most sunshine out of everywhere in New Zealand, Go figure it was raining! Friday night was very low key, a nice recovery night because Nelson is a small town that just supports the National park tours and because of Good Friday everything was closed down. It was a nice night to go through some pictures and just hang out.

We left Nelson bright and early the next morning on our way to Greymouth. (of course the sunshine city was once again plagued by rain). As we headed out of Nelson towards Greymouth we made a few stops as we headed down the “wild West Coast”. Our First stop was Cape Foulwind, this was named by Captain Cook after his ship was blown off course because of the wind blowing off the Tasmine sea.
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This cape is also home to a fur seal colony that we got to go for a short walk to see them sunning on the rocks.
fur seals!

fur seals!

Fur Seals trying to sunbath

Fur Seals trying to sunbath

Fur seals just laying around, they were much less active then the first time we saw seals

Fur seals just laying around, they were much less active then the first time we saw seals

As we continued traveling south on the “coast Road” which is one of the most spectacular coastl drives in the world we stopped to see the Punakaiki Pancake Rocs and the Blow Holes. These reminded me a lot of the twelve apostles but the stacking of the rocks was really neat.
Pancake rocks

Pancake rocks

The sun was trying to peak through the clouds at Pancake Rocks

The sun was trying to peak through the clouds at Pancake Rocks

pancake rocks

pancake rocks

the get really tall yet stay so flat

the get really tall yet stay so flat

Blow Hole at Pancake rocks

Blow Hole at Pancake rocks

Pancake rocks, this is where they reminded me of the Twelve Apostles

Pancake rocks, this is where they reminded me of the Twelve Apostles

pancake rocks

pancake rocks

they were pretty cool the way the rock was squished together

they were pretty cool the way the rock was squished together

it was cool to see the pancake rocks

it was cool to see the pancake rocks

Pancakes at Pancake rocks of course!

Pancakes at Pancake rocks of course!

Once we arrived in Greymouth we took a drive through town to see it, although there wasn’t a ton to see it is a very small town so we stopped at the hostels and unloaded then it was off to the Monteiths Brewery tour. This is a New Zealand Brewery that is the only of its kind. They call it a very “kiwi Brewery” though it is exported to parts of Australia, the UK and even parts of the US! I had a lot of fun, I went with a group of kids from the bus we have all bonded a little because it has been the same group of about 6kids who are all staying one night at each stop and we are all about the same age so it has been fun to get to know them a little and have some people to hang out with. So we got an hour walk through of the Brewery and how it is all made which was interesting then we got to do a short tasting. It was a very new experience but I had fun! My favorite was the crushed apple cider I would recommend it! After the tasting we headed into town for dinner with our meal vouchers we received from the tour.
Crushed Apple Cider very good!

Crushed Apple Cider very good!

The Brewery

The Brewery

where the bottles start before they are filled

where the bottles start before they are filled

The finish line of the bottling process

The finish line of the bottling process

fermentation room, the tubs were HUGE

fermentation room, the tubs were HUGE


Over all it was a great night out in Greymouth!

In Him,
Hannah

Psalms 119: 9-11

Posted by Dykemah 03:52 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Taupo to Wellington and everything in between

Days 7 and 8

Wednesday continued our journey down to Wellington where we will catch the ferry to the south island completing our tour of the north island. But just because we are headed back down doesn’t mean we aren’t having any more fun. Shortly after leaving Taupo we arrived in a small town called Waitomo. I know it doesn’t sound like much but we spent a little over three hours here. This was just enough time to do some black water rafting; no I did not mean white water rafting it really was black water rafting. Black water rafting is nothing like white water rafting and it is not called black water rafting because the water is really black. Black water rafting happens underground! Yup up to 300feet underground through the cave system in Waitomo. It was SO dark in the caves when we turned our head lamps off you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face but if you looked up there were tons of glowing spots (it looked like a Childs bedroom with tons of those plastic glow in the dark stars) These spots were GLOW WORMS! So cool right, even more so if you know that New Zealand a few spots in south Australia are the only places in the world that have glow worms! It was truly a unique experience. We spend about an hour underground and let me tell you it was COLD down there! We were dressed in full 7mm wetsuits and jackets and even and extra wrap that went around our low back to keep our kidneys warm. As we started our treck it wasn’t to cold then we got to the stream and hopped into our tubes to float and it was real cold! We got to jump off a waterfall and then go down a waterslide all in the dark underground! It was a lot of fun and the glowworms were pretty sweet too! I even got to experience the light at the end of the tunnel in real life! By then I was happy to see it knowing a hot shower was not to far away!
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After showering and getting dressed it was back to the bus to be on our way. The next stop was the national park where we got to see some beautiful mountains with snow. In the winter this park is home to two different ski resorts (one on either side, yes that is how big the mountain is!) we also got a great view of Mt. Doom which was used in the Lord Of The Rings movies. We even had enough time to go explore the Tawhai Falls, which were beautiful! The color of the water was gorgeous.
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After the falls it was time to head to the hostel, because we were in the middle of the national park there was not much to do but make some dinner and just relax it was a good night of picture editing and talking and reading with Abby.

This morning marks day 8 and we took our last bus ride in the north island. As we headed from the national park to Wellington we stopped for a few more pictures of the mountains (Mt. Ruapehu) on our way out of town. As we headed south we drove through the town of Ohakune known as the Carrot Capital of New Zealand. As we continued on our way the road follows the Tararua Range which creates an amazingly dramatic view for the bus ride.
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As we arrived into Wellington early afternoon our first stop was the summit of Mt. Victoria for a 360 view of Wellington and a great view across Cook straight which is the straight taken by boats between the two islands. It was a great day to be up there and it was a very pretty view
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From Mt. Victoria it was off to the Hostels so we got all settled in and then off to see the city. The last time Abby and I were in Wellington the weather was a bit iffy and it was late so we took advantage of the early arrival into the city as well as the nice weather and headed out! We walked around until well after dark. We watched the sunset over the city and it was beautiful. We got a chance to walk downtown and peak into a few different shops then head to the outskirts of the city to see some of the houses built into the hill that were so high they had their own cable cars to get to the house! They were very unique and it was interesting to see.
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After we walked around we headed to the grocery store to get a few things for the next few days and then back to the hostel for dinner and a nice talk. Abby is opening up more and more as am I. we have both seen and done a lot in our short years here, we were a lot alike growing up yet have had very different lives. She has been opening up about her faith/ or sort of lack of Faith and it has been a challenge to be bold to her because I don’t want to scare off my only travel companion but getting a chance to share about Derek and his legacy he left tonight and how God has a plan for it all after she shared about turning away from the church because a good friend was killed was powerful. I know I am meant to be bold in these situations and the fact that sharing something so recent and personal would fit so well into our conversation just proves in one more way of how perfect Gods timing is (why do we ever question it?) During Day Two of my new bible study with Maddie the theme was Follow the Leader, all about following the lead of Christ and there was a statement that I think fits perfectly into the way I am feeling and a good reminder for everyone. “Each day is a ministry opportunity, a chance to do all that God has called us o do for that twenty-four hour period.” No matter what we are doing in the day God has called us to something and we need to listen and hear his call and then chose to follow it. Pray that the rest of my trip goes smoothly and I continue to get the opportunity to be Bold and seize these ministry opportunities set in front of me. Also continue to keep all of crossroads community in your prayers as Derek and his son Dylan were buried today, please keep those close to the situation in your prayers as well as those connected to Derek and the church who are far away either for work, or school or ministry opportunities it is hard to struggle away from the community. Off to the south island tomorrow! Can’t wait!

In Him,
Hannah

“Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
- John 8:12

Posted by Dykemah 02:44 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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