Sunday, July 24, 2011

Drive through Central South Island (aka the Southern Alps)

It's been a while since we had the computer plugged in to do a blog, so have more updates to offer than can fit in this one post, with Warren writing again.

This first picture shows Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain, over Lake Pukaki in the foreground. It was so nice to get a clear view. The lake has the most amazing turquoise colour due to the glacier runoff, although it's quite difficult to capture it in the same photo as the distant mountains. The Southern Alps are very young mountains, full of sharp edges which are a result of the tectonic activity which is so common. The earthquakes are relatively common, which is generally a good thing as it means the pressures are being relieved instead of building up for something major (although I'm sure it's all relative).

The above photo shows the road leading up through the Lindis Pass. This lovely drive was quite enjoyable since we knew the pass was open and most of the ice was gone. The largeness of the mountains cannot be adequately captured by any one photo, and even panoramic photos don't allow a good substitute for the three dimensional mountains which we have enjoyed.

We were able to have a couple of wonderful stops along the way (on either side of the pass), and we found a couple of fantastic shops that we would love to have stayed much longer to look around. The first was in Tarras, a tiny place with only a few shops, but also home to the House of Shrek ... the world famous sheep who just recently died from old age. The second stop in Omarama was also at a shop full of fabulous items, with many wonderful Merino wool products as at the Merino shop in Tarras.

This has to be the most scenic church in the world, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tekapo. While we were inside, enjoying the uncrowded atmosphere of a winter visit, we heard a couple discussing wedding plans with the church official inside ... can you imagine what a lovely place this would be for a wedding. It also would provide plenty of distraction from any sermon that was dull.

This is a sign which seems somewhat ironic given the beauty of the scenery through the countryside ... constantly changing and providing ample interesting views along the way. There are other signs about not driving while tired, a good reminder that it's as dangerous as driving under the influence ... but the idea of free coffee is really a quite inventive concept. This picture was taken in front of a paddock of sheep with young lambs, so we were able to get photos of a couple of them as well.

Well, that's a short overview of some highlights of our drive from Wanaka up through to Hanmer Springs. We're a bit behind on the blog posts, but will try to update the highlights before we head home soon.

Warren and Colette

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