Tiki tour: Christmas 2011

Yup, finally sorted my photos :)

I had a brilliant trip with my parents and brother around the South Island.  BM kindly let me borrow the car and we took a ferry across and drove and drove and drove.  Our first real stop was at Nelson Lakes in St Arnaud.  Myself and my brother went for a quick kayak before we went on to Murchison to stay the night.  That's my brother above and the two of us below.  The little specks on the horizon!

We stayed in a really lovely cabin in Murchison - probably the nicest accommodation on our trip.

The next morning, we all crossed the swing bridge at the Buller Gorge

And my brother went on a Jet Boat - he was very impressed with the pilot/captain(?) and the amount of time they got on the water.

To get back across the gorge, myself and my brother took the cometline - where we were both strapped in and sent across.  The scariest part was where we approached the far side and didn't slow down!  Eeek! It bounced back out again and slowed down on the rebound but it was a scary few seconds :)  That's us getting strapped in on the other side.

We left Murchison and traveled to the West Coast and stopped at a few scenic viewpoints.

I loved the survey mark pointing to the South.  

We also stopped at the pancake rocks (Punakaiki) - I love these - so worth a visit.

That night we overnighted in Hokitika - I've already been there for the Wild Foods Festival (mountain oysters, Huhu grubs and other special delight) and need to post those photos soon!  The beach here is stunning.

The next day was an early start to get to the glaciers before the rain came in.  We walked up to the mouth of Franz Josef and the ice was stunning.  The tours to get on the ice were already booked out so we didn't get on - but the blue of the ice is such a wonderful colour.

From the mouth of the glacier flows a glacier stream - it looks so grey and cold.  Chunks of ice build up on the side of the stream and the glacier cools the immediate area so much that it doesn't melt.  One of the strange things about New Zealand's coastal glaciers is how warm the area is before you get to the ice.  

We had views glore and visits from local wildlife.  This one is a weka - a local flightless bird.   

One of my favourite silloetes is the nikau palms - so terribly exotic and different from Ireland. 

All in all - a truly wonderful trip and there were few family tantrums - that's New Zealand for you - a magical place!


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