Thursday, December 18, 2014

NZ Eye Candy

Before our flight from Christchurch to Queenstown, we met some members of the US Air Force in the same shuttle going to the airport.  They have their own terminal there and fly from Christchurch to Antarctica for their assignments. Maybe that's a future destination for us? Nah, too cold and we've already seen the penguins.

These are some of the magnificent views on our flight from Christchurch to Queenstown.  We are convinced that some of these could be talk material.

 These are our first views of Lake Wakatipu at Queenstown.  Although it was rainy and cloudy we pressed on with our journey.

This is the information center/restaurant/bar/bathroom at a small town called Glenorchy.  It's located at the far north end of Lake Wakatipu.

These "beautiful" yellow flowers are found along every roadway. Even on a gray day they brighten up the scenery.
This is a cool, old bridge we saw on the way to Arrowtown. Yes, we had to drive over it. Below see the ad for a superfast boat ride available on the Shotover River. The river was running so high due to the significant rain that this ride was closed for the day. Maybe you recognize one of these faces of Shotover ride wanna bees.

This is the cute old main street in Arrowtown, about 20 k's from Queenstown.  It was fun to walk and visit the unique shops there.
 And here's the old post office with individual mail boxes on the outside.
There were a lot of cute older homes with nice sized trees lining the roads.  Another "beautiful" setting.
And what old town doesn't have an old telephone booth with an old guy inside?

Packing, again!@#%&*$

The tram ride was nice and it took us way up where we had "beautiful" views of the area around Queenstown. What more could be said about what we saw?

Bungee jumping anyone?  Here's the place in Queenstown. We decided on the other way to go up high and come down slowly, the tram.

That's where we are-on the south island.  While it is located a bit south of Australia, this may not be to scale because this map is made with Jelly Bellys.  Taste and color vs accuracy.

We know these look like a postcards and anyone could use a point and shoot camera and do just as well.  But these views are "incredible".  Actually these mountains are the backdrop for the Lord of the Rings movies.  It was filmed here with The Remarkables as the majestic mountains.  We looked for hobbits but couldn't find any.

Possible activities include bungee jumping, alpine slide, skiing, tram ride, kayaking.  Being old, we chose the tram ride :)

 Hands up in the name of the...hey wait a minute, I'm the good guy, who are you?  Put that thing down.  You may hurt yourself.

 Such a good friend! I still love Jelly Bellys.  Haven't had many for the last year and a half. We managed to purchase a couple of big bottles of Jelly Bellys at Costco.  However, they went fast as "gifts" and "rewards" for the missionaries. Glad we could give them a treat.
Where would you like to go from here?  The directions are easy to follow.  These destinations just happen to be very far away from New Zealand. 

We had a wonderful opportunity to attend church in Queenstown.  The meeting places are in unique locations, like this one that is hidden at the end of this road down a hill. Meetings are held in a remodeled house. Close to 20 people attended that day.  The Branch President asked if there are any Sr. Couples willing to serve there.  He could use one couple in the branch to help the membership.  Any volunteers?  Please apply.

Can the scenery get anymore beautiful, including this lovely woman!  We will probably overuse the word "beautiful" because almost every photo was "beautiful" or more beautiful than the last one.

 We want you to know that we didn't photoshop this water.  What you see is what you get.  The water is very clear and "beautiful".
Waterfalls are everywhere along the road.  With all the moisture, no wonder New Zealand is so beautiful.

This is the Kea, the only Alpine Parrot in the world.  And it's only habitat is in New Zealand.  It enjoys hanging around people and walks right up to anyone in the area.  We're not allowed to feed them because they would die but he was willing to pose for a picture.  He was quite friendly.

This tunnel is part of the main road to Milford Sound.  As you can see it is a one-way deal.  So, we waited our turn for about 10 minutes.  Then it was about 4-5 kilometers to get out the other side. This tunnel was built by hard labor-pick and shovel and some laborers' friend, dynamite, in the early 1900s.

Well, here we go again, another "beautiful" shot.
 Here are all the passengers boarding the ship for a cruise on Milford Sound.  
From the ship we saw lots of waterfalls.  Here is a photo of one of them - upper and lower falls.

The ship stopped in a bay and we did a little touring around the area in a small watercraft.

This is called Mail Rock.  Anyone residing in the area, wanting to check for or send mail, had to paddle their little boats here to complete the transactions.  Since there weren't many residents and most lived far from here, up and down Milford Sound, it was quite the chore to obtain and send mail.

Here are some additional "beautiful" photos of the Milford Sound area.  We have a never ending stream of pictures related to this little excursion.
We passed two regular sized cruise ships in the Sound.  We were hoping to give you the right perspective as you look at this cruise ship carrying about 3000 passengers.  

A close up look at one of the falls. And above some seals basking in the sun.  Well, it was quite cloudy but they were basking.

One of the early explorers was afraid his ship might wreck against the rocks.  However, as he moved forward by the force of the waves, he found that the water way opened up and continued for many miles.  Milford Sound is actually a fjord.

So, here we are back at the wharf, after the wonderful cruise.  Can you see the reason we use the word "beautiful" repeatedly?

In New Zealand they raise elk to sell to restaurants and stores. It's called cervine.  They also raise regular deer for restaurants.  Maybe that is what we should do in Utah???

Even the view from the road is "beautiful".  This is Lake Hawea  which is right next to Lake Te Anau.  These two lakes are only separated by the mountains you see across the way. We were making good time, except for the long wait while workers knock loose rock from above to prevent damage to cars.  We were more than happy to let them do their job.

This area of New Zealand had more single lane bridges than we've ever seen.  We passed over more than 20 between Milford Sound and Queenstown.  There was a sign just before the bridge showing who had the right-of-way.  We just prayed that it was us because we were on a short time schedule and needed to push ahead!  Most of the time it was us.  ;)

Right next to the Tasman Sea is the rain forest.  Then not far away is the Franz Josef Glacier - and there is another glacier, Fox Glacier, about 23 k's from this one.  What a crazy place!
We would not have believed it until we actually saw it.  We're on a glacier, when we know of the rain forest that exists down below.  Quite the contrast! Yes, we did ride a helicopter, which was our first tourist ride in one.  It was very "cool".

Here we are in front of our transportation.  It was an amazing experience to see the glacier this way.

 Ahhhh! Snow balls.  We had fun being here with a family including two young children. Throwing snowballs with them was unique and enjoyable.

The views from the helicopter were stunning and "beautiful".

 New Zealand should be on everyone's bucket list.  This cute building is the tourist center in Rotorua.  Everywhere we went in NZ are wonderful, informative tourist information centers.  That made it very easy to get travel info, restaurant info, and what is best to see in a short time.  So NZ is extremely beautiful and easy to visit because of the helpful people.  YEA NZ!!!

The Thermal Pools near Rotorua reminded us of Yellowstone Park.  A lot of sulphur smell in the air.  Mmmmmmmmm...NOT.

 While the geothermal area is too hot for plants, when the ground is cool enough, even trees grow.  We walked in and out of the forest area surrounding the geothermal area.

The color of the water is an indicator of mineral content.  These greens are full of various minerals.  Elder Feil is singing "It ain't easy to be green...."

The Redwood Forest, New Zealand style.  Although they found they could easily grow the Redwoods and imported them from California, they grow too fast and so  their wood is very porous and not hard enough to use for furniture as we do in the US.  So while they are beautiful, they are not very practical for use.  An interesting example of how harsh living conditions help plants to develop great qualities - sounds like a talk?
The Mitai Village experience was a very entertaining and we learned about the Maori culture. We also were blessed with a wonderful meal.  We have enjoyed our Maori descendant missionaries and this helped us to understand more of the culture as well as the history in New Zealand.  

The view of Auckland from One Tree Hill is impressive.

This is One Tree Hill. We were told that the one tree actually was cut down by a deranged person.  It's still a nice area with a large park around it.

 More of the Mitai Village entertainment and sites. It was a fun event.
It was great to meet up with some returned missionaries from the Australia Sydney North Mission.  Here we are in front of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple.

And here we are again inside the visitors center.
 After the temple visit the routine includes a trip to Mamas Donuts.  But they close early on Thursdays, so our missionaries begged for any leftovers, we paid her the money and enjoyed the experience in the parking lot!  Always go with the missionaries - they know their way around!  
 A visit to this international garden was interesting and peaceful.  Wake up Sister Feil, we have miles to go before we sleep!

Of course, these permanent sentinels needed some addition of color.  Naomi and Molly provided the bright colors.

More bright colors added to these gate sentinels. The guards with the big tongues hanging out are scary.  Apparently, it is a signature pose for all Maoris.

Trying to blend in with the roses.  It has been a very fun and interesting activity in a "beautiful" country.
Maori names of towns on the way to Auckland and our next flight later in the evening. As we contemplate our final destination, before actually arriving home, we are grateful for our wonderful guides, Naomi Vuataki, Ammon Kiwa and Reuben Katene.  They made our visit to the Hamilton/Auckland area enjoyable. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings many people and cultures together.  As our knowledge expands about God's creations, we are acutely aware that he knows and cares about all lands and people. May each of us follow His example as we approach the Christmas Season. Poroporoaki from Aotearoa (Maori).
Koroua and Kuia Feil

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