Tuesday, May 1, 2007

South Island Picture Time- Part IV (Franz Joseph-Queenstown)

The last part of this post... basically this region corresponds with the transition from spectacular tropical rainforest mountains to spectacular alpine mountains, both of which are world-class, and thanks to that transition it was quite possibly my favorite drive in all of New Zealand. (I unfortunately don't have too many pictures of the drive itself, as I was basically sitting and staring in awe the whole time.) This is another place in New Zealand I want to take my family when they come, hinthintnudgenudgewinkwink...
The view at Thunder Falls, which would be spectacular anywhere else in the world but this is New Zealand where this was perhaps the hundredth waterfall I'd seen that day. And they were all this tall if not taller, and they were all spectacular... people in New Zealand have such troubles in life, don't they? I don't think anyone else in the world suffers from waterfall overdose.
What rainforest looks like when you're in the middle of it, for those who don't know. It's pretty cool. You should visit one.
A view of the tropical mountains. Not the best one, honestly, because I was staring so hard at everything by this stage that I sort of forgot to take pictures... you do get a feel for the steepness of the mountains though; this was taken perhaps halfway up a mountain for the record.
This, on the other hand, is what I mean when I say "alpine mountain." The other reason this drive was cool is because the first glacial lakes were showing up, and soon came out in full force. This one was the view from the town of Wanaka over, you guessed, it, Lake Wanaka. (This is another LOTR moment by the way, for those of you keeping track, but I don't recall which scenes were shot in Wanaka.)
A view from what is undoubtedly one of the best-placed rose gardens in the world. This was at a little fruit stand on the side of the road where we stopped to fight off the elements of scurvy, but the garden itself was very pretty too. Thanks to my lack of ever seeing roses as a child thanks to all the white-tailed deer, I am forever fascinated with roses and rose gardens.

Oooh, speaking of deer, one of the weirdest things to get used to in New Zealand is while for us the deer run amok and are a huge problem, here they just decided to corall the deer that were causing huge problems. So now you see paddocks filled with deer herds politely grazing on the side of the road (which is weird because I've never actually seen a herd of deer politely grazing, they always run away back home), and New Zealand is the biggest provider of venison and other deer products in the world market. Betcha didn't know that, did you? You also see other random animals being raised that don't count as "normal" farm animals, like ostriches and emu, and I'm pretty sure I saw antelope once or twice.
A side view of some crazy chick jumping off the Kawarau Bridge. I hear she thought it was pretty awesome.
A picture of everyone in our group, taken during my (fake) birthday party. It's kind of sad, I can name everyone in this picture and we saw incredible things together, but I've lost touch with all of them (except Amy of course) and only have a vague idea where most of them are in the world. Travel is an odd thing.

Believe you me though, the world is a great place and it is filled with kind, wonderful people. It's something worth remembering.