Monday, March 29, 2010

Franz Josef to Alexandra

What a change in terrain we experienced today. We started out on the West coast, which gets lots of rain. As you saw from the pictures yesterday they even have glaciers. We drove south for a ways and then headed east over the Haast Pass. Coming down the east side of the mountain range, the terrain changed to more what you think of in the western US. Particularly California or western Montana. Instead of being a general green color, it is much more rocky and brown. Very pretty, but very different.

We made a stop at probably our last overlook for the Tasman Sea. While we were there a bird called a Fantail put on a show for us. It was fun trying to capture a picture of him as he was really quick. It is a bug catcher, and there were so many sand flies in the area he was busy haveing a real feast. I also took a picture of the four of us.....probably the only one in captivity at the moment.

As we started down the eastern side the rivers were really wild coming down the mountain. The water has a real teal color for some reason. I'm sure there is a mineral in the water causing it, but havn't found a reference to it yet.

We took a short hike to a site called the "blue pool" again showing the teal color to the water. The water is as clear as can be, just with a blue-green color.

On the way over we stopped for lunch at a very small village. They had good food, but we got a kick out of the sugar packets and the small bush airport across the road.

On the eastern side there are many large, man-made lakes that we paralleled. Against the more rocky terrain, they were really pretty.

The area is full of orchards and wineries. For some reason, they are all covered with netting.

We crossed south of the 45th parallel today.......that is 45 degrees south. Of course we have been North of 45 degrees North a few times in our lives, but believe this is our first time to be this far south. Oh, yes we have seen the southern cross. It is magnificent.

Finally, I'm going to leave this blog for today with a few pictures of some of the roads. I will say the roads are really good, and very well maintained. Their standard however, is somewhat narrower than that of the US. Of course driving on the other side of the road makes driving the mountain roads very interesting.

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