Monday, July 25, 2011

Milford Sound took my breath away. Being a part of this place, if just for an moment in time, for me, was another instance of not just believing in the divine but knowing it to be true. We captured so many wonderful images which I wanted to hold in my memory forever and so I share them here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Milford Sound - part 1

This is my favorite photo of all however there were so many it was difficult to decide...

We arrived to rainfall and a bit of disappointment because of it. Our guides assured us that rain in the sound is spectacular because of the waterfalls it creates. Our home for one night was the Milford Wanderer. We ate two meals on board and slept on bunks in tiny little cabins. It felt like camp and it captivated me. No cell service, no cable, no laptops...just the three of us. Conversation was our entertainment. I highly recommend it.

After putting away our things and generally getting our bearings, we had the choice of a boat ride in Harrison Cove and history tour or kayaking. The water was 40F and so we chose the boat. Our Maori guide was a delightful storyteller and so we learned the history of Milford. He spotted penguins on the shore and quickly took us to the sighting. Totally FUN!

The next morning I got up just before sunrise (and the sun did rise on this magnificent day) and took a load of wonderful pictures. After breakfast, we sailed to the Tasman sea. It was choppy and would have been better done before breakfast. haha. The slow ride home took us past all the waterfalls we had been promised the day before as well as seals and dolphins that watched our every move.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Liberal Allowance of Time

Building the Homer Tunnel was begun by 5 men with pick and shovels as a Depression era project. It took nearly 20 years. The story is pretty amazing. Like every mountain passage world wide, crossing the ridge to the other side always holds great anticipation. This was no exception. In spite of and perhaps because of the rainy day, the views were all misty and spectacular.

Our final stop before Milford was the Chasm. Here the Cleddau River cuts through both hard and soft stone to carve the river bed up in new ways, creating some amazing waterfalls. On a plaque there reads this quote:

The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools,
but the gentle touches of air and water
working at their leisure
with a liberal allowance of time.
David Henry Thoreau

I am not sure who David Henry Thoreau is and wondered if it should have read Henry David Thoreau. Whatever!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Te Anau was the lunch stop on our way. It is the starting point for those tramping (hiking) to Milford Sound. Supposedly, this is an easy hike but takes 3-4 days. Too little time, to much to see! We horsed around in Te Anau, snapped some photos of the horsing around and then we were on our way.

Mirror Lakes was a scenic stop along the drive. It gets its name because the water is so clear that it reflects the Earl Mountains. On this particular day, it was raining, not an unusual thing for this region, and so we simply saw beautiful pristine lakes. Too bad :)

The sign noting the Mirror Lakes location is upside down, reflecting the name. Someone had a sense of humor..

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Road to Milford Sound

Leaving Queenstown on a southerly path, we caught our last glimpses of  Lake Wakapitu. We all found the landscape to be amazing, especially Caite.  First there were rolling hills like I have never seen. They looked as if they were carved, they were so smooth. Others had ridges of green grass. We passed cattle ranches and grazing sheep. Rumor has it that there are more sheep than people in New Zealand. However, the best was a reindeer farm. HUH! As we entered the Fiordland National Park, which is a World Heritage area, the terrain began to change.

Our first stopping point was Lake Manapouri, which still exists because New Zealanders took up the campaign to save the lake and surrounding communities. Political powers wanted to raise the water significantly and install a hydroelectric  facility. Yeah for the little guy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Queenstown is a charming place. Laid back in feel but the surrounding area is full of high adventure activities. It is near here that Caite did a bungy jump over a canyon. OMG! Glad I was not there to witness it. I love how the town is set into the hills and a short walk downhill brings you to waters edge. Coffee or tea, Wakapitu side, is pure delight. Note the enormous Fergburgers we found. Large enough to feed a family of four, we discovered only after they arrived at our table. Queenstown is truly the town with a view.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 2: St Clair Beach

It is hard to imagine when stepping into the Pacific Ocean at St Clair Beach that this is  the same body of water that laps our home state shores. Some 7500 miles have been traveled and November 1 went MIA. This place is truly magnificent, a bit wild and oh so moody.. Caite tells that early in her stay in Dunedin, in the winter months, they camped on this beach to watch for migrating seals. I love the colors of the water juxtaposed against the beige sand. Oh my!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 2: The University of Otago

The campus is beautiful. We took a walking tour and found the landscape and architecture to be a wonderful blend of old and new. The clock tower is the famous centerfold and so we snapped some photos there. When I spotted this bench, I just had to have my daughter pose.

Since it is November and moving toward summer down under, the students are sunning on the lawn. Rick and I are in polar fleece and leather while Caite is in shorts. What a hoot.

New Zealand Beginnings

This is the beginnings of the New Zealand trip Rick and I took last November. Our daughter studied in Dunedin, NZ for a semester and we took the opportunity to see her and the land.

Follow me as I build this photo book of our trip. The scrap booking style I prefer is a large photo on the left side and a collage of my favorite photos on the right.

This first image is of Rick sitting on the right side of the car, preparing to drive on the left side of the road. I think this was possibly the scariest thing I have ever participated in. Much worse than teaching three teenagers how to drive.

Thank God my daughter knew where all the pubs were in Dunedin. We needed something rather strong to calm our nerves. Ha Ha

Kia ora is a Māori language greeting which has entered New Zealand English. It means literally "be well/healthy" and is translated as an informal "hi".

Kia Ora!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Buss Baby

One of the things I miss most about living in St Louis is it's close proximity to Chicagoland and family. The Buss's would trek down the highway a couple of times a year for a weekend visit. Always a chance for the cousins to get to know each other and for the adults to compare notes about many things. These are great memories.