|Started off the day with a helicopter ride in the Southern Alps. Our pilot, Nathan, took us to the Franz Josef and the Fox Glaciers. We landed on Whitney Glacier where it was quite windy and cold, Nathan had a down jacket on. Then we were off to finish our flight to Mt. Cook. It was a great time. Why is the ice blue on a glacier? Because the air escapes and the ice becomes compacted, thus when it melts the rivers' water are blue.
As we headed to Queenstown our mileage check shows we have logged almost 3000 kilometers. We recap what our favorite adventures have been for this part of the trip…since Rotorua. We all agree it is this morning’s helicopter ride. Second favorite for Peter and Ali is their drive to Greymouth through Arthur’s Pass; for Verne and I it was the seal colonies.
We are seeing varying scenery again. We traveled through Mt. Cook National Park and Mt. Aspiring Park. At some parts the land is flat surrounded by mountainous area. Our first stop was Knight’s Point Lookout. Our second lookout was the Gate of Haast River. We passed over many one lane bridges over streams/creeks that are presently mostly dry river beds that must be huge flowing rivers during the wet season. There are 2 large lakes with clear blue water (you feel like you’re looking at the ocean), Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. We had a beer break in Wanaka, a nice little town on the lake.
We stopped at the historic Cardrona Hotel that Frommer’s said had the best coffee. The little town and hotel were very nice, the coffee, hot chocolate and beer were only fair.
Our last stop before the grocery and our hotel in Queenstown was the little tourist town of Arrowtown, an old gold mining town. Very touristy with lots of little shops in historical buildings.
We had dinner at Flames, a South African rib place. Peter arranged for dessert and the singing of Happy Birthday to Verne!
Our hotel is just below the gondola to Bob’s peak. Tomorrow another adventurous day is planned.
We continue to have beautiful sunny weather. I believe today was one of the warmest!
(Photos to follow)