Coming home…

After many hours of conversation, lots of contemplation and prayer, several emails to those who hold my heart the decision has been reached to come home.  I really want to travel and take a major trip ab out once every 18 months and if I come home now and sock away the travel fund I can do that a few more times.  So, I’m going to choose a location/region of he world that I really want to see, give everyone advance notice – so those who want to go with me can save and plan – and take my time seeing the world.

Just thought everyone should have a heads up as I’ll be home on Friday January 3rd.

I’ll need a couple of things when I get home, to the greater KC area, someone(s) to pick me up at the airport, a place to stay for longer than one night and maybe a shot of Patron Silver Tequila 😉

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Milford Sound

At the southern end of NZ is a huge expanse of fiords, they call it The Fiordlands.  And one of the most popular for tourists is Milford Sound.  I am at a total loss for word as to how to describe this.  The valley was cut by glaciers and the towering mountains leave you feeling smaller, than small.  It’s bordering on feeling insignificant.  I tried and tried to wrap my brain around the first explorers of this land and cannot imagine what they felt as this land loomed above them.  The waterfalls, especially Lady Bowen Falls, is huge and yet the mountain she falls from dwarfs her in comparison.  It was a strange sensation to have almost no perspective to gauge the size unless a boat was near what I was filming.

Lady Bowen Falls

Lady Bowen Falls

Lady Bowen Falls

We started our day with a trip to The ChasmP1030534

Intensely beautiful and powerful – the water was nearly deafening probably helped by the fact that we’d had rain all night and that morning

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We were greeted by Santa for our Milford Sound cruise – Ha!

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And, here are some shots of the fiord, Milford Sound…

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Part two…

Along the way we saw a Kea – a wild parrot who has red under feathers but our little guy would absolutely not show them off for us.  He is spectacular though.

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And we went through this weird little blip in the road that had a H-BOMB as part of its welcome…

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…not too sure what to make of it but it may explain why almost everything we passed on that road was related to death…

SEE?

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The creek is dry…

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They advertised as having an emergency petrol station – hehehe

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Tonight we’re in a motel with a huge jetted tub!  So I’m off to soak for probably ever.

More either later tonight or in a couple of days when we get to Christchurch…

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Te Anau to Milford Sound.

A two hour trip that took us 9.5 hours.  This is not surprising as by now you’ve learned that we have to stop at every turn out and every bend in the road not to mention follow each sign post that looks remotely interesting.  I will say this, NZ is more like a National Park that a few people live in than a country with a few National Parks.  Everything is amazingly beautiful and the pictures absolutely cannot translate the majesty and magnificence we are experiencing.

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Our days are so full of beauty that we are nearly stunned at what surrounds us.  There are, however, drastic reminders that we are merely tenants, at best, on this glorious planet that is in a constant state of flux/growth/evolution/death/birth/rebirth.  Today we passed the signs of several landslides that were so recent as to have warranted the roads closed just a few days/weeks ago.  And, as we are traveling in a place that has only one road…if that’s closed you are stuck on whichever side of the landslide you happen to be on and wait for passage to be cleared or arrange helicopter transport, I would think.  It is mind-boggling to see the swath of destruction and feel so dwarfed by it only to be equally astonished at how small that looks in comparison to the surrounding mountains…I wish I could transport you all here to experience what my words so inadequately describe.

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There has also been random road entertainment – didn’t stop for the first two we saw, sneakers and then flip flops but this? This we had to photograph!

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We hiked to Humbolt Falls –  in glacier country there are falls literally everywhere.  It was billed as a 30 minute return hike but that would only be true for the messenger god Mercury who is blessed with wings on his feet and not true for me who lumbered along.  Regardless of how long it took, amazingly worth the trip!

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Mary had to jump on another swinging bridge we passed…

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And Mirror Lake was well worth the stop.

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We saw unending fields of yellow and huge expanses of purple/lavender/pink/magenta flowers that just took my breath away. 

 

 

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From Hector to Fox Glacier, Haast and through the pass to Wanaka…

After we left Hector, we passed the pancake rocks.  This was an amazing stop in our days travel.  We didn’t really know what to expect and spent  solid hour just lost in the raw beauty. 

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Here’s the first sighting of snow! 

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It’s amazing to me that we can travel just minutes and go from seaside and rainforest to glacier…

We were set for two days at Fox Glacier but the tour was too strenuous for my skill level and the bed was ungodly uncomfortable so we just took the ‘short’ walk to the terminus of the glacier and saw the cave from where the river emerges.  A very spectacular site even from the distance and I would not have traded the tramping in the rain for anything – even crossing the glacial run off!

As our night was so spectacularly miserable we opted to drive on to Haast and found a lovely accommodation with a beautiful conservatory to relax and play games in.

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Mary took time that evening to wander the beach and cam back alerting me to the fact that there was a sign saying the pass was closed due to a landslip (when part of a mountain crumbles it’s not a slip it’s a landSLIDE)  Any way we started to restructure our trip as the detour means driving up the way we came and crossing the island at the north but we researched the issue and found that the pass was open during the day (hopefully) so we braved it and headed out toward Wanaka…

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Here are the photos from the actual site about an hour in to the pass road…

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They have been working on it since September and expect to be completed the end of January…

We passed three lovely falls on this road, Roaring Billy Falls which had a lovely walking trail that ended in a bench and a not legal, but well traveled path to the river bed that walked us out to the falls – so lovely!

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Then to Thunder Creek where the sun came out and the water was that spectacular blue!

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And finally Fantail Falls that was across a creekbed where visitors had erected stone altars – they were more fascinating to me than the falls.

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The we drove to Wanaka and found this!!

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What a great place to spend a couple of hours getting rid of the road weariness –

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The illusion rooms were fabulous too.

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The hostel here is one of the loveliest we’ve stayed at and they have a wonderful sense of humor

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Right now it’s a lovely rainy morning and we are both catching up on our blogs before leaving for our long drive to Te Anau and then on to Milford Sound for a boat cruise.  Don’t know when we’ll have internet that allows pictures again but there will certainly be text blogs as long as I can connect!

FYI to everyone, I’m really getting road weary and seriously considering coming home after the trip to NZ finishes – no definitive decision today but the pull is really, really strong to be home.  Travel is awesome, and four months is either my limit, or my first transition point.

love to you all family, friends, dear ones and acquaintances…

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We have paid for internet and it seems to be strong enough for an actual blog post with pictures…

So, south island.

We arrived to Picton and were welcomed at Juggler’s Rest with FIRE!

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The sword was COOL or hot, as was probably the case 🙂

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The next day we drove to Hector to the Old Slaughterhouse… The small grey roof you see way up the mountain is it, yes, I really climbed up to it, three times!

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See, me on the trail…

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It was a magical and lovely retreat.

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The entire path up the mountain held little altars of heart shaped stones…

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We also say some incredible beauty around Hector visiting the Chasm Creek

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And we had to walk the swinging bridge *panic* that was scary!!!  I know it looks like a grin but it’s more a grimace!

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Amazing art just on the side of the road – we have been so blessed on this trip to find so many wonderful delights.  Not surprised, just so grateful.

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Another post soon to come want to catch up as best as possible while we have this connection!

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Some pictures of north island…completely out of order :)

 

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The Beginning

The Beginning

The End

The End

We have no idea...just saw on the fence as we were driving...

We have no idea…just saw on the fence as we were driving…

Remember the story of the hippie and the nudist?  This is the amazing shower!

Remember the story of the hippie and the nudist? This is the amazing shower!

Sleeping in the tipi

Sleeping in the tipi

Leaving the next morning in the pouring rain...

Leaving the next morning in the pouring rain…

Hop - the guide into the Waitomo Glowworm caves...

Hop – the guide into the Waitomo Glowworm caves…

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GLOWWORMS!

GLOWWORMS!

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Riverboat - Waimarie

Riverboat – Waimarie

Christmas in Wellington

Christmas in Wellington

 

 

 

 

 

 

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