17th December - 30th December 2000
Kaikoura - Whale Watching
One of the highlights of our trip was Whale watching at Kaikoura.
This is the first time I have seen whales and they were just as amazing as I had imagined.
The boat captain used GPS to fix the positions of whales we saw so that he and other boats could find the same whales again later.
We were also lucky to see some bottle nosed dolphins that swam along side the boat for a while.
We drove from Kaikoura to Omarama on Christmas Day. This picture of Lake Tekapu is at the foot of the Mount Cook range.
Unfortunately when we visited Mount Cook the next day it was wet and raining and we couldn't see very much of Mount Cook.
Queenstown is a great place. It is the centre of all the 'extreme' sports you can think of in New Zealand. Bungy jumping was invented here and you can also try jet boating on the Shotover River, white water rafting and tandem parachute jumps to name but a few.
It is also a lovely town to stay in for a few days and use as a base to visit Fiordland, although Milford Sound is close as the crow flies it is a long drive.
In the Kiwi Birdlife Park we saw two pairs of Kiwis, being nocturnal their home is in a darkened building which takes a few minutes to get used to the dark when you go in.
This picture was taken from the top of Bobs Peak - you can catch a Gondola up to the top or walk up.
Milford Sound has one of the highest rainfall records in the world, when we visited it was no exception.
When it rains literally hundreds of temporary waterfalls spring up to funnel water in to the fjord below.
There are more photographs of Milford Sound and the boat trip we took.
Our journey from Queenstown to Franz Josef on the west coast went via the Haast Pass. This is the only road across to the west coast on the southern half of the South Island.
There was a thunder and lightning storm and lots of rain, unfortunately we had to turn back when the road was washed away by the river over flowing.
We had to leave the car on the far side as having got across the partly washed away road we couldn't get back.
We got a lift to a motel and returned to this scene the following morning.
We took a Heli-Hike from Franz Josef village up on to the Franz Josef glacier.
We got a short sightseeing tour over the glacier before being dropped off for our hike.
The photo on the right is an aerial view of the glacier taken from the helicopter.
We put on hobnailed boots to walk on the ice with our guide Ade.
You can see me on the left in the 'Pinnacles' on the Franz Josef glacier.
This link has more pictures of Mountains and Glaciers.