Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Bark Off

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Today we went down town to see the bark off. The bark off is part of the Queenstown Winter festival. It was funny because if the dog didn’t bark on the hay bales, then the owner had to get on them and bark like a dog into the mic. There was a wide range of dogs, lots of Huntaways, a few Labradors, some fluffy dogs that I don’t know the breed of and a Chihuahua. The Huntaways barked and barked and barked and barked. Hardly any people had to bark but when they did it was super funny. There was one dog that when it hopped onto the hay bales it was quiet but when it hopped down it barked and barked. The picture is a human barking because his dog failed him. There are also some pics of dogs too.
G 🙂

Wildlife Centre

When we were in Te Anau, we walked to the Wildlife Centre. It was awesome. They had a lot of different native birds that you don’t get to see very much in the wild. My favourites were the Morepork and the Southern Kaka. The Kaka had a grey crest on it’s head.
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It was the first time I have seen a Morepork up close. That was cool because they are my second favourite bird. My first favourite bird is a cockatiel. They also had some really fat Kea there.
Emelia

Mirror Lakes

On the way to Milford Sound, we visited the Mirror Lakes. The sign was upside down, though when the ducks hadn’t stirred up the water, you could see the reflection in the water and it said ‘Mirror Lakes’. The reflections in the water were perfect. It said you could sometimes see an Australasian Crested Grebe but we didn’t see any that day. We did see NZ Scaup Ducks or Black Teal, which were quite small. They spent a lot of time diving and were under the water for quite a while. They must have pretty good insulation cos the water would have been freezing.
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Milford Sound was pretty but not that magnificent. There was hardly any snow on Mitre Peak, which was surprising because there was some on the ground still. All the pictures you see of it have snow. We didn’t go on a boat there cos we’d been on one at Doubtful Sound already. We were lucky to get to Milford Sound because the road had been closed. They had just finished extending the Homer Tunnel to stop rocks from falling on the road.
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Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound aren’t really sounds. They are fiords. Fiords are made by glaciers. Sounds are river valleys that have been flooded by the sea.
Emelia

Doubtful Sound

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At Te Anau we caught a bus to Manapouri then we hopped on a ferry to take us across Lake Manapouri. THen we got driven, on another bus, over the Wilmot Pass. When we had a photo stop it was snowing. We were going to have a snow fight with dad but when we were going to put our cameras back in the bus and go back out, he came in and joined us. So we sat in the bus and waited. Then we kept on driving down to Deep Cove.
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When we got to Deep Cove we got on the boat that was going to take us around Doubtful Sound. On the way we saw lots of waterfalls and some Bottlenose dolphins, also known as Common Dolphins. We went into Crooked Arm which is 15 kilometres long and the whole of Milford Sound could fit into that one little bit of Doubful Sound. WOW right? We went back across the Sound and hopped back on the bus and went down a 2 kilometre spiralling tunnel to the Manapouri Power Station. That was hot but not very good. All we could see were the exciters, which are the bits at the top of the turbine. We hopped back on the bus and went back down to the Lake. We got back on the boat and went back over the lake. Then we got driven back to Te Anau. All in all, it was a pretty good day. Seeing the dolphins was the best bit. Mum thought the tunnel was cool too.
G 🙂
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Trip to Te Anau

The drive here was awesome. We stopped at a place called Cosy Nook/Mullet Bay just past Riverton. This was the site of the Southern-most Maori pa. They used to go fishing in waka on Foveaux Strait – must have been nuts and brave. Not sure if they stayed there in the winter but would’ve been cold and horrible at that time of year. When they were attacked by another tribe, they used to escape onto an off-shore island called Matariki. The waves were HUGE and we could see Stewart Island from there, which was cool. We also saw Codfish Island, where they send all the Kakapo to live.

Then it was off the Lake Hauroko, the deepest lake in NZ and one of the 10 deepest in the world. We didn’t make it. About 10km short, Dad decided with no road-markings and the amount of snow there was, it was too dangerous to keep going so we didn’t see it, but we tried. 🙂
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The rest of the trip was uneventful until we hit quite heavy snow at Blackmount, about half-way through the trip. The snow made the scenery spectacular and driving in the snow was scary but fun. At times, Dad had pretty low visibility and was pleased he took the advice he got from Steve and Rodney to go slow, in the middle of the road and in the middle of the day. Once we got over that spot, there was hardly any snow around. G & E
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Niagara Falls and Bluff

Then we went to Niagara Falls. It wasn’t as big as I expected. Hmmmm. The photos will tell it all.
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Bluff was our next stop. It was VERY windy and even colder than Curio Bay. We went up Bluff Hill, where the cyclists on the Tour of Southland go. Dad said he can understand why some of the professional cyclists walk up it after riding all day, especially if it is windy. We had lunch at Stirling Point, the most southern part of the south Island. We watched the waves of Foveaux Strait get bigger and bigger. I was so glad we weren’t going to Stewart Island that day. We finished Aunty Robyn’s delicious fudge (she could sell it in a shop!) on our way to Aunty Kim’s. Aunty Kim made us some beautiful jewellery (She could sell it in Robyn’s shop, with the fudge and nuts!!!). Mum’s cousins are generous and lots of fun to be around. It was great to meet them – I was too young to remember them last time I saw them.
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Off to Te Anau next, if we can get through the snow!
Emelia

The Petrified Forest at Curio Bay

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So, the day after we drove down the Catlins, Mum took us to a petrified forest that she’d been to about 30 years ago. We were there at the wrong time because no one realised you could only see it at low tide. We walked around getting frozen and looked for half rotten trees that had turned to stone. You could see the grain in the trunks but no leaves or branches. Then the tide went out far enough for us to see what was left of the tree stumps. We saw a few of the stumps where the tree trunk had been broken off. Most of them were just little mounds of stones. Dad almost slipped over on the huge pieces of kelp – actually, we all nearly fell over once or twice. The kelp looked like octopus tentacles. There is a colony of yellow-eyed penguins there but you need to be there at dusk to see them coming ashore. The forest was destroyed by some huge event, maybe a volcano eruption, 180 million years ago. It was amazing to be able to touch bits of stone that were that old.
G 🙂

Dunedin – Part 2

Larnach Castle is the only castle in NZ and even then, it’s not a true castle, but it was pretty cool. It was built by William Larnach, a wealthy businessman and important politician. He was a close friend of Prime Minister Seddon. Larnach shot himself in the Parliament buildings. It is supposed to be haunted but we didn’t see any ghosts. We climbed a small spiral staircase to the turret. It was raining. There was supposed to be a very good view but we didn’t see anything. They had interesting gardens with Alice in Wonderland characters in it. The ceilings had cool carvings and the entry hall had a complicated mosaic on the floor. All of the rooms had little mosaic doormats.

Cadbury World was our next stop. We got to go through the factory and were given free samples as we went around. It was started by Mr Hudson who made biscuits. When he retired, he sold the company to Cadbury’s. The company is now owned by Kraft Foods, the American company, and is called Cadbury Ltd. At the end of the tour, we got to taste melted dairy milk chocolate – it was delicious.
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Then it was off the Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world. In the holidays, they will roll giant Jaffas down the street during the Chocolate Festival. They raise $50 000 for charity.

Next we head to Invercargill then on to Te Anau. The weather man says we should get some snow, sure hope so! 🙂

Dunedin – Part 1

We have done lots of things while here. The first thing we went to was an old house called Olveston. This place was built in 1907 and still has all the original furniture and wallpaper. It was called Olveston because Mr Theomin, the man who built it, had liked going to this town when he was little. There was an old Steinway grand piano there which Grace and I were allowed to play. The daughter came back from London when she was 17 and she got to decorate her room and stuff. She had her own sitting room and bedroom. Her hobby was mountain climbing and she’d climbed Mt Cook lots of times. She didn’t marry or anything and lived in the house till she died in 1966. She gave the house to the city that is why all the stuff is still there for people to look at.

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Then we went to Tairoa Head to see the Royal Albatross Colony. There is a book in the school library about them. It was awesome. We got to see an albatross fly in to feed his chick. The adults have a wingspan of 2.7-3m. The chicks are heavier than the adults cos they can weigh up to 12kg and the adults only weight 9-10kg. At the moment, the chicks are eating 2kg of food a day. We also saw a colony Stewart Island shags(which are more endangered than the albatross) and Mollymawks, which are a smaller type of albatross.

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The red outline shows the size of an adult albatross. The smallest one is a sparrow(behind her head), the orange is a red-billed gull, the yellow is a black-backed gull, the blue is a Stewart Island Shag. The blonde one is Emelia!