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Old 13th January 2011, 11:12   #31
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Default Re: From the Land of the Kiwis (New Zealand)

I was holding my comment till you finish the logs. It now looks like you are on another vacation?

Wake up and complete the story partner- we are still hanging in mid-air
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Old 13th January 2011, 12:53   #32
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Default Re: From the Land of the Kiwis (New Zealand)

Wow. Beautiful. Decided as this is going to be the place for a crazy honeymoon
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Old 14th January 2011, 12:07   #33
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Default Re: From the Land of the Kiwis (New Zealand)

Thanks everyone.

The last few days have been crazy because of the floods in Brisbane, promise to resume posting by this weekend, so there should be something to read from Monday.

@WhiteKnight: Stop hanging in mid-air, its not healthy at your age
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Old 15th January 2011, 04:36   #34
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Default Re: From the Land of the Kiwis (New Zealand)

Hi,
If you guys are still here in New Zealand,you should also visit my city-Auckland.I have been living here for the last 6 years.I immigrated in 2005.It truly is god's own country.I have been around the entire New Zealand and nothing beats Queenstown.Hope you drive through Lake tekapo and check out the church of Good shepherd.
If you guys do come up to auckland-I suggest going down to muriwai beach-32 kms west of auckland.Its breath taking.will remind you of the 12 apostles of australia.
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Old 15th January 2011, 13:00   #35
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Default Re: Nevis Arc

Superb travelogue Ruffii! That swing is really out of the world. We need more pictures. Now, don't blame La Niña and post the rest.
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Old 20th February 2011, 14:38   #36
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Default Doubtful Sound and Te Anau

Quote:
Originally Posted by SEAL View Post
Hi,
Hope you drive through Lake tekapo and check out the church of Good shepherd.
Seal, we did stay a night at Lake Tekapo and did walk up to the Church of the Good Shepherd, got some pics of it ... will post later in the travelogue. Unfortunately, didn't have enough time to include the Northern Island, maybe the next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deetjohn View Post
Now, don't blame La Niña and post the rest.
Thanks for pestering me to complete the travelogue. I promise to get it done in the next few days, really mean it this time.

@WhiteKnight: I'm going to post 2 days pic's at one shot, hope that makes up for the long delay

@MX6: But I actually liked the Reverse Bungy (its the one by this company, right ... G-MAX Reverse Bungy & GX-5 Extreme Swing. Home). It was quite a rush, maybe its better than the one in the US. Do you think its different from the one in the US?

Day 4 (Doubtful Sound) & Day 5 (Te Anau):

Today, we drive from Queenstown to Lake Manapouri (site of the power station), take a ferry across the lake, a short bus ride to the start of the Doubtful Sound and then board an Overnight Cruise on Doubtful Sound. This was without a doubt one of the highlights of the trip and was totally worth it. However for people on a tight timeline, I think visiting Milford Sound would make more sense because its easily accessible (its actually the more visited).

And yup, I didn't know what all this 'Fjord' and 'Sound' stuff was till I started reading about it, so here are some wiki links for those who'd be interested. Its amazing to just try wrapping your head around the fact that it was all created through glacial activity. Fjord - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ... Doubtful Sound - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. And here's the link to the Real Journey cruise we booked Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruises Fiordland New Zealand Fjords Cruise , we actually wanted to do this on the 31st night but we couldn't get anything after the 29th Dec (inspite of booking around August).

Well, the pics from these 2 days is almost 50% of the entire trip's pics so yup, its going to be a deluge of pics. I know most people talk about how pics don't do justice to the actual beauty of the place, well ... it goes without saying at Doubtful Sound, its not just the visual overload, its also the sounds (or something the total absence of it). Since it was raining the last couple of days, it had something of a mystical feel to it.

I'll try to write captions for most pics but believe me there are just too many (after I weeded out the remaining 1 K pics he! he!)

We spotted this ATM while walking around Queenstown and Div was quick to take a pic of it. I'm sure the Bank has her on their surveillance cameras now.

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A couple of pics from the balcony of our room at Shotover Lodge in Queenstown. The SUV almost looks like its lurking for prey, possibly a Toyota Prius.

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A few pics from the road to Lake Manapouri (a 2.5 hr lovely drive from Queenstown)

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And the customary ride pics of the Aurion. Well, it had absolutely nothing to complain about ha!ha!

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Few pics from when we stopped for a quick breakfast. The cottage actually had a sign saying 'Ye Olde Post Office'.

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Pics from the ferry across Lake Manapouri. There's a pic of a solar powered mini-light house kinda thing, wouldn't have known if I hadn't overheard someone explain what that was.

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The ride which got us across the lake.

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A map of the region (sorry, its too dark)

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It was next on to a bus for a short ride to the point where the ship was docked. A few waterfalls along the way.

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Old 20th February 2011, 15:19   #37
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Pics from the cruise, as we sail towards the Tasman Sea. Read this notice on board which makes you realise how serious they take conservation in these parts of the world. There's a species of dolphins native to these waters and none of the boats are allowed within a certain distance of them (when spotted) and none of them are allowed to initiate any kind of contact either. And to top it all, there's a penalty if any of the boats radio the others, on spotting them. Well, its alright ... its afterall their world we're heading out into.

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We finally exit the Sound and head out towards the Tasman Sea, the sea gets rough. We're heading out to see a group of seals which laze around on this rock.

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By the time we head back towards the Sound, its the evening and time for some activities. There's an option to go kayaking or head out on a light craft. I go on the light craft and here are some pics of the ship and the kayakers. They drop anchor out here for the night. I feel so small in the middle of nowhere, loads of waterfalls around and yup, there's a local version of our mosquito, the sandfly ... pretty irritating, especially as you go towards the shore. Its a lovely quiet evening.

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Last edited by RufRoc : 20th February 2011 at 15:27.
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Old 20th February 2011, 15:51   #38
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Default Re: From the Land of the Kiwis (New Zealand)

More pics of the kayakers and one of the biggest rainbows I've ever seen, wish I'd seen it sooner.

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Once everyone were back on board, including few people who actually went swimming in that cold water ... it was time for dinner, obviously my favourite part of any day.

There's also a presentation after dinner on the conservation of these places, alongwith a lot of information on the native animals and birds. Its quite interesting to learn about NZ's flightless birds and how most of them have been wiped out coz of animals that we've introduced into their habitat. While there were no land based mammals initially, rabbits and hares were introduced and then to control them, stoats were introduced (inspite of warnings), well the lazy stoats realised that the flightless birds made an easier dinner than speeding bunnies. You see stoat traps all over these places but I guess most of the damage has already been done. Its amazing how the locals hate the stoat he! he! (here's some interesting info on the Stoats: Stoats in New Zealand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

It was awesome just standing out there on the deck, in the dark and listening to all those sounds around us. It was eerily quiet once the engines were turned off. Was certainly one of those days you wish never ends. We finally get some sleep after a long day, the day starts early tomorrow, with breakfast at 7 AM.
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Old 21st February 2011, 09:03   #39
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Default Re: From the Land of the Kiwis (New Zealand)

Now, what can i say about this thread. I am speechless.
Nature truly at its best.

Thanks for sharing the pics.
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Old 21st February 2011, 11:56   #40
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Default Re: From the Land of the Kiwis (New Zealand)

Absolutely breathtaking pics RufRoc.
No wonder Peter Jackson choose NewZealand for Lord of the rings !
We want more snaps please.
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Old 21st February 2011, 14:11   #41
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Default Re: From the Land of the Kiwis (New Zealand)

Thanks guys, there are loads more pics to come.

Day 5: (The morning at Doubtful Sound and evening at Te Anau)

Here are some pics from the morning we woke up. There was a slight drizzle the whole time but we just couldn't get ourselves to go back in ... well, who would want to when this is what surrounds you

There are kayaking and camping trips into these places too, now thats what I'd like to do the next time. Can't seem to find this pic I'd taken of a couple of kayakers packing up their gear after spending the night on the banks.

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The best constipated look I could manage. In the background Amruta secretly checks me out while Anmol falls asleep standing up.

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Last edited by RufRoc : 21st February 2011 at 14:18.
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Old 21st February 2011, 16:34   #42
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More pics from the morning on the cruise.

At one point during the cruise, they stopped the engines, requested people to stop taking pics and to just stand there and listen to the sound of silence, something to take back with us even if its just a few moments of silence. It was amazing, like a reminder that the world can actually be so quiet when you're away from the hustle and bustle of life. Some of the people had their eyes closed, some just stood there staring into the distance, some had big smiles plastered on their faces. I was lost in deep thought too, trying to figure why my stomach was growling even though it just had breakfast. Well, what do I say, everyone has their own problems to grapple with, mine kinda seems to revolve around what I'm going to eat
next ... I know, its a hard life

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Pics of the cabin and the ship's interiors, taken just before we disembarked. The people waving to us as we leave on the bus, are the ship's crew. Real friendly folks.

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Couple more pics of the Kea, taken by Div. Remember seeing this postacard towards the end of the trip, a Kea pecking at a traveller's backpack with a quote below saying 'A travellers backpack - the Kea's favorite food'. Its quite true, you just can't leave anything unattended, they can be such a nuisance and it doesn't help that they ain't one bit scared of us.

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Old 21st February 2011, 18:41   #43
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Awesome thread RufRoc. The pictures are simply amazing.

If i can ask and if you are willing to share - How much would be the expense for this 9 day trip - Car Rental, Motel?
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Old 21st February 2011, 20:46   #44
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Absolutely love your narration style. The photos have exceptional clarity. Do you touch them up? Nothing beats an outing when you have an adventurous partner Keep it coming!
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Old 22nd February 2011, 14:28   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
Awesome thread RufRoc. The pictures are simply amazing.

If i can ask and if you are willing to share - How much would be the expense for this 9 day trip - Car Rental, Motel?
Thanks. If its just the car rental and motel, this should give you an idea. You can get pretty decent self-contained accomodation for between 80$ - 120 NZ$ (per room). We got some outstanding value because we booked early. This might go upto around 160-180NZ$ depending on the place and the tourist season. I used this site wotif.com to shortlist motels/B&B's and then checked out reviews on tripadvisor.com.

To give you an example for car rentals, the Toyota Aurion which we'd rented would be a Class D car and cost us approx 1200 NZ$ including complete liability coverage for 9 days and when split between 4, works out pretty reasonable. At the lower end, a Hyundai Getz or a Toyota Corolla Hatch would work out to around 50 NZ$ per day and then maybe an additional 25 NZ$ per day for the complete liability coverage. I used this site vroomvroomvroom.co.nz to compare and book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdna View Post
Absolutely love your narration style. The photos have exceptional clarity. Do you touch them up? Nothing beats an outing when you have an adventurous partner Keep it coming!
Thanks rdna. The pics ain't touched, after every trip I keep telling myself that this time I'll spend some time to do some post processing but it just doesn't happen.

Day 5 (... contd)

After getting off the ferry across Lake Manapouri, we had an hour's drive to Te Anau, a big tourist town. Just love how all these towns have an awesome lake to go with it. We had the afternoon to ourselves, so after checking into our motel right across the lake, we walked down for a late lunch before we got onto a short tour to the Glowworm caves (more about this later). And once we were back, it was a lovely walk along the lake, thanks to those long summer days. I had to keep looking at my watch to remind myself that it was past 9 PM.

Te Anau is quite touristy because its where most tourists halt before heading off to Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound or sometimes both.

Real Journeys - the tour company through which we booked the cruise.

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Catchy stuff on some campervans owned by wickedcampers. They are the budget option for campers and all their vehicles have really funny stuff on them. Here are a couple that Div shot.

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A few pics at the Red Tussock Motel in Te Anau.

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Pics from a walk around the town centre.

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Our dinner stop for the evening, where we had some really fresh seafood, prawns, oysters and calamari.

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Pics from the walk around the lake.

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Lovely colors in the sky as we walked back to our motel.

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Spot the red Swift in the pic?

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