Our first adventure on the south
was a 15 mile paddle along the coast of the Abel Tasman National
group of four plus a guide set out while another similar group was
We took a side trip up
one of the
streams that emerge from the forest. The guys in the other
it was time for a swim. Actually the decision was made for
by the cross currents. We watched these folks
from a suspension bridge upstream.
At lunch the other group
with us and their guide gave a lesson in Maori warcraft/battle
technique. The picnic blanket later
served as an
sail with our paddles serving as makeshift but effective masts and
We then all joined in a
hike up a
trail where we learned about the birds, animals, foods, medicines and
materials that the forest provides.
Some seals and
cormorants on the
rocks on some of the islands we passed. t Our crew all survived
the trip and
were ready to tackle any invaders that we may happen upon.
Later in our visit we
toured a very
wet cave. We wore bathing suits,
two pairs of
long johns, farmer john wetsuit with a wetsuit jacket over that, double
layer of wool socks, and heavy boots. In addition we had a
rubber hood and
hard hat to protect our head and for most of the trip we wore neoprene
gloves. The hike in and back out
strenuous with all those layers.
At the end of the trip
we were served
refreshments while we soaked in a hot tub.
I got used to driving on
side of the road ... mostly. We have some one lane
Kentucky but apparently in NZ they are shared with trains as well. Who has the right of way
marked. A red circle and big
black down arrow
says yield. A blue rectangle and red up arrow says you can go. We never met a train but
what the sign said I would have yielded.
Lots of hedges, these
vines and just open fields.
A panorama of a glacier
fed lake. It really was the color
you see in
the picture, I haven't manipulated the colors.
Some other sights from
Some random unplanned
stops along the
way included a mountain top observatory. A craft fair where Nancy
the vendors and picked up some NZ wool slippers as souvenirs.
We found another hot
spring. This one a lot clearer
than the ones
we had visited on the north island.
Sea shore sights.
We noticed this rock on
the beach. We have no idea who had
written it or
This lone seal was
defending its spot
on the beach.
We saw immense tree
farms and this
timber ready to be shipped out.
Roads were not all what
we expected. Some were carved out of
the sides of
mountains. Others went under
bridges that rock
slides would pass over. This one was being
the mountain had collapsed under one of its supports.
The road signs are
nothing if not
We saw this group on
their way to Mt.
We learned some of the
songs and games at a cultural center.
During a night hike we
saw kiwi's in
the wild but weren't permitted to take pictures of them there so this
indication that they frequent the area will have to do.
These two dark pictures
using only the very little light that they tolerate in a facility where
captive birds are raised for release to the wild.
The next two pictures
were taken by a
wildlife specialist as part of a study. We could study details
And we finally found
this recipe to
properly prepare a kiwi.
Other birds we saw on
our travels. The cormorants were on a
just off the coast. Nancy discovered the
quail on a trail
we happened upon. It scurried into the brush while she was
stalking it but she did get this great shot. The Cape Barren Goose
was on another
trail. It was obviously very used to tourists.
The pukeko was in one of
areas. The black swan and kea
were in the
Maori cultural center.
We discovered this nest
near the Mt.
Cook visitors center.
I went fossicking and
found a gold
flake in this stream near where gold had been mined. The museum had models of
the area and
machinery that was used to extract the gold. The trail outside led
past some of
the abandoned equipment, like this water canon used to wash gold
carrying gravel from the hillside.
We stopped at the Franz
Glacier but decide to hike on the Fox Glacier which is a little further
south. The trail leading to the
face of the
glacier is not without hazards. We were told that rocks
the size of
houses occasionally roll across it.
Swimming here is
discouraged. Even walking down to the
edge can get
you into a lot of trouble if you happen to be there when the ice
shelf hanging over the water collapses and throws up a wave
will likely wash you away.
The trail, loosely
defined, to the
top of the glacier.
We looked back at the
glacier had carved. You can see we have
climbed quite a
way above our starting point. Look closely and you can
that are people on the trail to the glacier face.
Turning toward the
glacier we could
see just what we had in store. In the center of the
you may be able to make out some people. That is where we are
going. When we got to the
glacier itself we
donned instep crampons for surer footing on the ice. Some places the guides
ice anchors and climbing ropes for an additional level of safety. The guide was helpful
and was ready
to talk about anything from the local geology to world politics.
We were fortunate to
find an ice cave
that was safe to enter.
We pointed out a rock
over our trail
that seemed about ready to fall. Our guide said he
thought it was
secure but climbed up to test it with his ice ax. It came tumbling down
effort on his part. A room size rock, a hole
stream of water disappeared, and crags and crevices. Some views of the valley
from out on
A couple of shots from
We stopped at the
where we went into a room that simulated the incredibly cold and windy
environment there. Fossils collected in
indicate that it was once much warmer.
Penguins were being fed
learned about some of the many different ones from around the world.
At the time of our visit
we had not
yet planned our trip to Antarctica that we took only a couple of months
here to see
some pictures from