Monday, June 14, 2010

New Zealand take 4

I think some of the best pictures that we got were from Lake Tekapo. This was about 3 hours south of Christchurch and our stop for the first night. We got there just as the sun was setting, and got a great look at the lake. We stayed at a chalet right across from the lake which was very nice. There wasn't much open in town when we tried to get something to eat, but were able find a chinese place and get some takeout, which was very good. We considered going to Mt. John Observatory to see the stars through a telescope, but chose not to pay the $80 and freeze and instead see what we could from our chalet. It got cloudy, so we didn't see much, but in the morning we did drive up the mountain to the observatory. The road was chained when we got to it, but a worker was coming right behind us and said go on up, so we did. As we drove up and up we got through the clouds and then got agreat view from above. The clouds were still all around the mountains, but it was a great view.
Something else we got to see on the west side of the island were the glaciers - Fox and Franz Josef. There are a number of glaciers coming off the Southern Alps, but these 2 are themost accessible to tourists. We didn't walk on them, as we didn't pay for an official tour, but we got close enough to see and appreciate them. It wasn't nearly as cold on the glaciers as it was in the south at M
ilford Sound, but we were well prepared. There was a glacier center in the village at Franz Josef glacier which had an ice wall which you
could climb up. I was looking forward to trying it, but then found the center was closed for the winter. This seemed strange to me, but most of NZ's tourism occurs in their summer and not the winter.
There is lots more pics I could show so look on the slideshow on the side for more pics in the next few days.