Monday, December 21, 2015

Final Hours in Queenstown

In this Series: 

   The Arrowtown Hike 3
   An Unplanned Hike in Arrowtown 2
  A Day in Historic Arrowtown 1

This is also the Christmas week in NZ, but December is also their summer. So summer activities during Christmas is much fun!

This is also our last day in Queenstown, we had a free morning so we will try the Skyline. For the last two days my sister has been asking me to a accompany here. She knows i am afraid of heights, and even just looking at the height of that mountain scares me. She knows i always forego taking the ziplines with my travel friends because of that height phobia. I am also scared of boats because of the feeling that the sea is deep! I am trying to conquer all of these, but it is still lingering in my head.

So i said yes, i will go with the Skyline. I am just envisioning that the views up on the mountain is so wonderful that i  will risk my fear. So we went, no hesitancy anymore. Our bags are already with us because we will go direct to the airport after this skyline ride.

 We passed by this Kiwibird Park, which we didn't enter because we seem
to already know what is inside. A peep and a little watching
the displayed photos suffice for our curiosity.

View from the bottom of the mountain. Are there 3 paragliders? Oh no, the
gliders copy the shape of the moon at the far left

Instead of the Kiwibird park we went direct to this, the object of our coming here today.
These are the Skyline cables to and from the top of the mountain. The incline is steep,
although not very obvious in this photo. At the left top is a mount where bungee
jumping is also done, however nobody is engaged while we are there.

i content myself in watching and taking the paragliders' shots

hu-wa-waw! it looks lovely but i cannot try it...for the life of me, huh!!!

the oldest cable car piece was displayed for photo shots

once-in-a while i also allow a tourist shot for posterity

the views are super beautiful at the top

After a few minutes, we just got our bags and go direct to the airport. The views are still beautiful, i already missed the past days.

We had pasta and coffee at the airport restaurant, delicious, but it ia a bit nostalgic.

I stared long at this capuccino before stirring, i imagined the landscapes, the mountains, the snowcaps, flowers, trees and our tramping. It was one of the best travels i had.

Nature Notes

Saturday, December 12, 2015

GBBD in New Zealand

 Previous posts for the last few months in this blogsite are devoted to photos, sceneries and experiences i had during my travel to New Zealand. It is almost about a year now because i was there during the Christmas season. I suppose the flowers in the wild are almost the same as last year. So i will be posting all those i found in their undomesticated setting.

The blooms in my own garden are posted in my other blog, which is devoted to all things in my area.

 Pohotukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) is a coastal evergreen tree endemic to New Zealand and is called NZ Christmas tree because it produces a lot of simultaneous red flowers during this period. It is amazing how they bloom at the same time all around the place.  The above photo is not from the wild, just posted to show the comparison. The photo below was taken earlier near the beach in Waiheke Island, so they are just starting to bloom. It is also very resistant to environmental conditions, trees below are already old and become bonsai-like because they are growing on the rocks.

 This is really in the wild, a very wide area growing lupines, we passed by during our trail hike or tramping in Arrowtown. They are growing so lush compared to those growing in other areas, even in South Island. There are those growing up to 5 ft and still growing! The colors are also very varied.

 These flowers i confess, i don't know, and i can't see anybody who knows it. Please tell me its ID if you happen to know. Thanks.

 This is blue salvia, i wonder if this is cultivated because they are just at the roadsides.

 Another lovely pink beauties, whose name i didn't know. 

 Many hills in the North Island are invaded by this lovely yellow-orange flowering bushes called brooms. They are invasive, but i found them very beautiful and smelling so nicely. The air near them is pervaded with very sweet scent when they are in bloom.

This is where we went trail hiking in Arrowtown, where we were enticed to continue walking more of the trail because of these growths. But under these bushes are feelings of tranquility and sweet smelling air because of the flowering brooms.

 We found this white flowering bushes on the way to Rotorua volcanoes. This is the manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), also called tea tree or jelly bush. The Maoris previously use the young leaves for tea. The very expensive manuka honey comes from the nectar of this flowers.

 New Zealand flax plants, Phormium tenax and Phormium colenso. Above photos are the green-leaved ones, there are those with variegated lovely pink or purple leaves. I took this photo at Waitomo on the way to the Glow Worms Cave.

 The weeds above are at the back of my sister's house. She was apologetic for not mowing it before i came, as she was too busy and the dandelions got to the blooming stage. I assured her it is very beautiful for me, and i had lovely subjects for photos. I can spend time here getting macro shots. Only the yellows are obvious, but there are also some species that are unnoticed discernably, but i also saw them when i got down and scrutinize.

 The above flowers are too small to be getting attention, but i really love it, among the much obvious dandelion flowers.

 This purple grass is common everywhere too. They are difficult to photograph because they easily sway with the wind. 

Dandelions at the back of my sister's house. Are there also people like me who found these weeds beautiful? They were my friends when i was left in the house the whole day, and i sincerely enjoyed them. They are wild but growing in not so wild environment. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Milford Sound Cruise

Series of 2 posts:

1. Queenstown to Milford Sound
2.  Milford Sound Cruise

        Finally, after a series of a very long preparation, long hours, long rides and many kinds of transport vehicles, we are now cruising at Milford Sound. I can already say that this is a dream come true. Imagine, a plane ride from Auckland to Queenstown plus another 5-hour bus ride from there to this jetty. But in my case, i will include all my rides that includes all those from Manila to Sydney, to Brisbane, Auckland and then here. If that is not long enough then i rest my case! 

Milford Sound Cruise is very famous at the internet, and to people in nearby countries. It really sounds awesome and unusual especially for us from the tropical setting. I observed the groups nationalities in our bus and in the boat and it is a mix of so many nationalities. Many are Caucasians plus a few Asians mostly Japanese. I am sure only my sister and I are from my country, didn't see any from our neighbors in Southeast Asia. I also heared a few conversations speaking either Spanish or Portuguese, and many Europeans. 

The cruise had a very wonderful prelude of those sceneries and natural landscapes we saw in the tour bus. So these are the culmination of that story.

We are just about a few minutes from the pier in this shot. The onward view seems not straight as the islands curve and not in a straight configuration.

How awesome it is to have 360 degree angle of view, and we seem to have difficulty which side to take the pictures.

We started inside the airconditioned boat, but after the free coffee and light snack almost everybody went up to the roof deck for a more open
 continuous view of the landscape. We are maybe the first 
persons to come here, we actually hurried our coffee and sandwiches. Eventually, this space is so full of people.

Mountains seem to have very unique characteristics not repeated among all the mountains. Look at the left which has more solid rocks that hinders more profuse tree growth, versus that at the right which is 
more biodiversity friendly.

Even in a range like the above, vegetation and shapes are so 
different among themselves. 

Inclusion of that hand is intentional, thanks to whoever owns it. The index finger seems to be pointing at the bald mountain whose snowcaps already melted. 

The boat goes back when it already reached the end of the sound and about to enter the open sea, already called the Tasman Strait. I can imagine it goes direct to Tasmania in Australia. 

That mountain range at the background still has the glaciers 
characteristics of this areas. 

This mountain seems more friendly to vegetation, 
it is lower so don't have a snowline.

I often take photos of my sister to show people at home. We didn't lack tourist shots, the term we call photos with us in there. 

There are zeals sunning themselves on some rocks.

Now that mountain has a snow line, but lost also its snowcaps. Look at that waterfalls at the left side, that is tall and big, but we are still away.

There's a lot of waterfalls at Milford Sound. They are mostly the paths of melting ice from the mountain tops. Bowen Falls is of the horsetail type, at 162 m high. It is seen at the right side 5 min after the boat starts cruising.  

Stirling Falls is the most magnificent waterfalls at Milford Sound. It is a plunge type with 151 meters. It can be seen at the right side 15-20 minutes after the boat starts from the jetty. Above photo is taken at the start of the cruise, we were much nearer here on the way back. 

Left: Palisade Falls is a ribbon type falls consisting of two parts. The 1st is at 55m high and the lower at 25 meters. It is seen on the way back after the Stirling Falls. It is more porminent after the rain, but sometimes the volume of water is less prominent. 

Right: I failed to locate the name of this not permanent falls.

Stirling Falls is one of the permanent waterfalls in the area. On the way back our boat come mear it so we can sample the water spray and take more photos. The guide, in jest, said it is the Niagara Falls of Milford Sound. 

This is the jetty or pier where we start and finish our Milford Sound Cruise. The total time is 1 hr 45 min. The culmination of this escapade looks like a very short one considering the long haul and preparations for this to happen!

another view of the jetty with the mountain spike at the background

a last peek at the pier and boats of Milford Sound

The descriptions of the individual points in the map are in the link below.

Related Posts with Thumbnails