Monday, April 2, 2012

Winter Escape 2012: South Island, New Zealand - Part Two

Whilst in Greymouth, we walked around the town which was originally named Prison Town until it was renamed by Governor Grey. Apparently, this Governor tended to talk a lot; hence the name Greymouth. It is a hilly town with many hills to climb up and down to get to any place.
The foot of Franz Josef Glacier

Our bus ride to Franz Josef took us through many more scenic and sprawling hills and mountains; we are driven along the West Coast going through the Southern Alps. While in Franz Josef we took a self-guided hike to the foot of the glacier. We walked along rocky terrain passing by some huge water falls dripping from the glacier melt which culminated into a gushing stream that looked more like a river. We dipped our hands into the cool clear fresh waters On the way to the foot of the glacier it was hot and sunny while on our return walk the sun went over the mountains and created dramatic shadows and in some pools of water we witnessed the reflections of the glacier. It was awesome.

Lake Matheson is our next stop; this Lake is known for its mirror reflections of the Southern Alps. It is here that we get a clear view of the snowy top of Mt. Cook glistening in the sun. We continue our ride through the Central Otago region which is dotted with the pioneer "gold rush" towns. Before we stop for the night in Queenstown we arrive at the birthplace of bungy jumping, the Kawarau Bridge. This bridge is 42 metres above the Kawarau River. Seven of our bus passengers do the bungy jump while the rest of us watch in awe. It looked dangerous; one of them screamed all the way down while the other six claimed it to be terrifying, yet exhilarating. Onwards to Queenstown.

Queenstown Scenery 
Queenstown is a picturesque town overlooking Lake Wai te paka. As we cruised around this Lake we noticed the early signs of autumn. The leaves are changing colour into that yellow, reddish brown or red foliage that is typical of autumn--a wonderful scenery for an artist to paint. Our cruise guide explained that a group of folk sitting in a restaurant were engaged in conversation about how gracious and lovely this town is, claiming that it was fit for a Queen to live in; hence the name Queenstown.

Statute of Robert Burns, Dunedin 

The city of Dunedin was a surprise to us. It was settled by the Scottish who fashioned it like Edinburgh in Scotland. Dunedin is Scottish Gaelic for Edinburgh. These settlers built a university and a School of Medicine, both of which have a world reputation. The architecture of the buildings and the street names resemble those of Edinburgh. The statute of Robert Burns stands tall near the City Hall.

Railway Station, Dunedin 

Our next night stop over was Lake Tekapo; here we were to see Mt. Cook in its full splendour as well as watch the night stars that would impress us. Unfortunately, the fog rolled in and the rain descended on us with no view of Mt. Cook and no night stars to gaze at. We head towards Christchurch which will bring us to the end of our NZ trip.

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