The Hotel Blue is an interesting historic building built on the docks in Sydney in the late 1800′s. It has a cool vibe, and I mean that figuratively as well as literally.
I’m going through the 3,500 photos I shot in New Zealand, and this is one of my favorites so far. It’s actually 2 photos stitched together. The views were astoundingly expansive. One photo would never capture what nature presented for wonder. And, as beautiful as the photo is, if I say so myself, it doesn’t begin to capture the scene!
During the flight, we landed the helicopter high atop Mount Tasman and got out and walked around, sinking up to our knees in the snow. The views were expansive—all the way to the Tasman Sea. The snow from Mount Tasman creates the Fox Glacier. Seeing the snow from above cracking and creating thousands of enormous crevasses was a first for me.
On this longest travel day ever, we arrived in San Francisco not long after taking off from New Zealand. Time is such a strange thing. And so, a wonderful vacation-to-end-all-vacations comes to a close.
The TranzAlpine train itself is very nice—much nicer than an airplane! Traversing through the southern alps, the views from the train would have been stunning had we left on time. As it was, we caught a few glimpses of the setting sun in the mountain peeks along the route, but darkness engulfed about half of the trip.
Franz Josef Glacier is both a city and a specific glacier. My favorite part of the day was our helicopter sightseeing tour that included seeing Mount Cook.
The long drive (290km) was filled with one stunning expanse of gorgeous and unbelievable, and “Stop, I’ve got to get a photo!” after another. This drive took us to the west coast of the south island.
We ended our day’s travel by crossing over an active runway, heading onto the Whare Kia (pronounced Fair-a-kia). I have so often used “amazing”, “stunning,” “gorgeous,” “unparalleled” etc. but words just fail to describe what we are seeing. This, too, is another stunning, amazing, gorgeous place.
Milford Sound gets an average of 21 feet of rain a year! This is hard to imagine! (By comparison, the Amazon Rain Forest only gets 9 feet of rain a year.) It can rain as much as 10 inches in a 24 hour period. I suspect this vast amount of rainfall contributes significantly to the abundant, rain forrest-like jungle that grows here, including ferns that grow the size of trees.
We arrived in Te Anau around 3:00pm. The first thing I said when I got out of the car was, “I’m not milking the cows in the morning!” Our destination looked more like a very lovely home than a lodge. In fact, we started to drive away, convinced we had pulled up onto someone’ large farm by mistake, when the proprietress came out to assure us we were in the correct place.