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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Day 22 - Wednesday 27th June - Lake Wanaka to Fox Glacier

Today, the weather has been beautiful for us...clear blue skies and sun. Although this does make things a little bit cold in the shade.

We started the day at The National Transport and Toy Museum based in Wanaka (Wanna-cah). There were several large buildings and they were stuffed to the brim and overflowing with toys (everything you can ever remember existing plus more!) and over 700 vintage cars, motorbikes, planes, boats, lawnmowers, fire-engines, trucks, digger, tractors, cranes, etc etc! Luke spent a looooong time looking at the Star Wars and Lego toys...saying "I've got this, I've got that, I always wanted that...", I hope he doesn't get ideas of setting up his own museum with his best man Mr Tonksy...who would have equally loved the museum, along with my dad for the Morris Minors and my brother for the planes, in fact probably any man or boy would love it.

The Morris Minors including a weird yellow furry one!

Luke with a tank

Can you see how closely packed into the buildings the cars and planes were!!!


Afterwards we got lunch in Wanaka and sat on a bench overlooking the stunning lake and feeding the birds our crumbs.


Lake Wanaka

The afternoon was filled with the long drive to Fox Glacier (not the mint!!!).  The drive was through the mountains and the scenery was spectacular! We saw a few big waterfalls, crossed many a bridge, through a gorge, over a snowy mountain pass, called Haast Pass (the only road to the West Coast). 

Lake Hawea

The snowy Haast Pass

Fantail Falls - named after the fantail bird

Eerie mist on the moutains over Haast Pass

Another huge waterfall

Same waterfall as above

The beautiful moutains and a river mouth

We briefly stopped half way in a village called Haast where we saw a rather amusing signpost at the Information Centre.

Any guesses as to what this road sign means?

We continued onwards, racing the sunset to get to Fox Glacier before it became dark. Part of the drive was along the West Coast and we could see the sea and the sunset over it, along with the pink mountains on the other side. The journey was well timed to see the beautiful sunset.

The West Coast

Nearly driving on the beach on the West Coast

Another river mouth as the sun begins to set

The moutains as we near Fox Glacier
A fancy bridge

The sunset over a river mouth

The late afternoon mountains

The pink mountain peaks as the sun was setting




Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Day 21 - Tuesday 26th June - Queenstown to Lake Wanaka

We woke to a covering of very slushy snow this morning which soon melted once the sun appeared.

Firstly we drove from Queenstown to Arrowtown where there is a big history of gold mining. Apparently gold is still occasionally found in the River Arrow, which set Luke off on a gold hunt again!! Here we didn't find any gold on our snowy walk along the river but we did see the one of the film locations for the "Ford of Bruinen" from Lord of the Rings.


A Routemaster bus in Arrowtown

Enjoying the snow in Arrowtown

Arrow River, Arrowtown - "Ford of Bruinen"

The ford being used across the River Arrow

River Arrow
 Onwards we travelled through the Kawarau River Gorge which has a lot of film locations for the "River Anduin". We also passed the suspension bridge where the first bungy jump happened, we were not tempted to pay the NZ$180 for the privilege off jumping off a bridge ourselves!!!

Kawarau River Gorge

Suspension Bridge where the first Bungy happened

Our next stop was an old disused gold mine where they did tours and a lesson on panning for gold. We did have a go at the panning and found one small spec of gold as well as a rock which looks as it contains a sprinkling too. Not enough to make us rich yet though!!

River Kawarau near gold mines

Old gold mines

Our guides piece of gold


We then drove straight to Lake Wanaka where we will enjoy our day tomorrow :)

Day 20 - Monday 25th June - Skiing on Coronet Peak

Queenstown in one of the skiing centres of South Island so we took advantage of a day skiing in the Southern Alps.

The skifields are quite remote and nothing like as commercialised or built up as the European ski resorts. They also tend to be smaller but there was enough for us to enjoy for a whole day skiing.

The scenery was spectacular and the snow fab!

Views from Coronet Peak towards Queenstown

Views from Coronet Peak over towards Lake Wakatipu

Views from Coronet Peak towards Arrowtown

Luke skiing with Lake Wakatipu in the background

We also have NO broken bones or injuries this time!!!

Day 19 - Sunday 24th June - Glenorchy

As it's the winter festival in Queenstown (where we stayed last night) the local Anglican church hosted a Worship for Winter event as their service this morning which we went too. It felt quite strange as we associate winter with Christmas and singing Christmas carols but they have their own themed winter worship songs.

After church we visited the arts and crafts market before going on a Lord of the Rings Hogan special tour!! The official tours are very expensive.

We headed out of Queenstown towards Glenorchy, first stopping off at Twelve Mile Delta. At Twelve Mile Delta we saw "Ithilien" where Smeagol catches coneys and Frodo, Sam and Smeagol watch the battle from the cliff top.

View of the snow capped mountains from Twelve Mile Delta

The cliff where Frodo, Sam and Smeagol watched the battle - Twelve Mile Delta

Twelve Mile Delta

Twelve Mile Delta

We continued to Glenorchy where the "Misty Mountains" are a backdrop over the village.

 
Glenorchy

Glenorchy and Lake Wakatipu

Past Glenorchy we headed towards a place named Paradise where one can see scenes of "Isengard".

"Isengard" near Paradise, Glenorchy

A bird of prey we drove past

Mountains near Glenorchy

Views of Lake Wakatipu on return to Queenstown from Bob's Cove

Views of mountains near Bob's Cove
We headed back to Queenstown where we equipped ourselves with ski passes and equipment for a day of skiing tomorrow :)

Day 18 - Saturday 23rd June - Manapouri to Queenstown

Today has been a rather wet day but has given us some rather dramatic scenic views.

We drove from Manapouri to Queenstown with a brief stop in Mossburn. A huge proportion of the drive was alongside Lake Wakatipu and was really beautiful, lots of steep mountains, lakes, clouds, rainbows and rain.

En route to Mossburn

En route to Mossburn

En route to Mossburn

A rainbow we saw en route

En route to Queenstown

En route to Queenstown

First view of Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu

Autumnal colours around Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu en route to Queenstown

Once we arrived in Queenstown we had a look round and picked up loads of information about what can be done in the area. At the moment it is their winter festival so the town is busy with skiers.

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