Well Iain and I just got back from a quick trip to New Zealand to renew my visa, and I am here to tell all of you that if you have the chance to visit NZ, DO IT! This was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
Because of time limits (we only had four days, including travel!) we were only able to tour a small part of the South Island, but it was well worth it. We flew into Christchurch, and drove up to Hokatika on the West Coast where we only got a glimpse of the Pacific before forging on to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. This was the highlight of the trip, and where we spent the bulk of our time.
New Zealand is one of the only places in the world that has temperate rain forests skirting its glaciers. As you might expect, the walk to the glacier is brilliantly green and lush, with plenty of singing birds and budding flowers, even in the Autumn. But once you get a little closer, the vegetation shrinks to lichens and sparse ground-cover, and the scene is dominated by rocky cliffs and fallen boulders. Seeing the glacier for the first time was a moment to remember for the rest of my life…that spectacular icey blue like a glowing diamond peering out from the clouds hanging at the mountaintops just makes you want to get a little closer…
So we did, in a helicoptor! Some of you may know that, though my work regularly takes me 100 feet in the air to the tops of masts, I actually am a bit afraid of heights. It’s a little running joke of my life that I always seem to get myself into situations that involve serious heights without remembering my fear until it’s too late, like when I see the ground falling away beneath the chopper. Iain got some good shots of me with my “brave face”on, but within a few minutes, I’d gotten myself under control and was fully enjoying the magical experience.
It’s hard to imagine that there might be a more breath-taking view than the top of a glacier covered mountain, but on our drive back to Christchurch we stopped at Lake Pukaki, a huge glacial lake that reflects New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook. This was another keeper for the memory bank. Words cannot describe, so you’ll just have to check out the photo.
All in all it was a fabulous trip with just enough airport drama to keep things interesting. Now I just need to get back to see the rest of the country, and sit a little while longer at the shore of Lake Pukaki, the most beautiful lake in the world.
Right, so I’ll be posting a pic every few days or so for a while. Time to get posting again, so hopefully this will get me back into it. This first one is of Lake Pukaki, with Mount Cook visible in the background.