Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Queenstown, April 2016

Our final two days in Queenstown were an exploration of the township and surrounds, which included viewing the fabulous painting by Tim Wilson that was reported in the Herald. This painting has just fetched the highest price paid for an artwork by a living New Zealand artist, a Sheikh from the UAE paid $575.000 for this painting entitled ‘Summer Rains’ - an impressionistic landscape of Doubtful Sound. This painting took 2 years to complete and it quite spectacular. It changes dramatically as the light changes on the painting. We visited the Goldfields and did a little panning for gold, visited Carrick winery to see the lovely sculpture exhibition there as well. We lunched at Mt Difficulty vineyard and passed through Arrowtown and travelled beside Lake Hayes. We also went on a visit to Cardrona and watched the ‘highflyers’, a visit to Millbrook and a farewell lunch at Jack’s Point. A fabulous way to end a very enjoyable holiday!! The final image in this series is of a sculpture done by local artist Mark Hill that is sited at the Queenstown airport, this sculpture represents the Maori Chiefs assembled as a welcoming party to welcome all the visitors from afar!!

Dave and Wendy at Mt Difficulty

These are the gold fields, places my grandfather started life in NZ

Time to farewell Queenstown!

Hollyford, Martin's Bay Spit, April 2016

Day three on the Hollyford ...Today it was time to explore Martin’s Bay Spit, a famous landmark separating the powerful Tasman Sea from the Hollyford Valley, and a coastal landscape that’s a world away from the previous days. We travelled by jetboat to the Spit. The day was initially very cold, wet and felt a little like we were on the north pole! Most keep on their lifejackets to protect themselves from the freezing wind. Kahu our guide talked about lifestyle of the early Māori and their pounamu trails that pass through the valley. This was also a chance to explore the isolated beach and sand dunes giving some of us the chance to reflect on this intrepid journey. We also visited the site of the MacKenzie house. We stood under the most incredible macrocarpa tree, and listened to the stories of the families of old. The tree was teaming with birds in full song. After a walk along the beach we returned to Martins Bay Lodge for lunch.

Hollyford Tramp, April 2016

Day two on the Hollyford... First stop was Lake Alabaster and learning the history and geology of the area. This was totally spectacular. The lake was so still land the fabulous atmosphere of the mist lying quietly across the space. We then crossed one of Fiordland’s longest swing bridges before walking to board our jet boat. Then it was off to enjoy a scenic ride down the Hollyford River and along Lake McKerrow. After calling in at the early pioneer settlement site of Jamestown, we walked through ancient Podocarp forest amongst native forest giants, some up to 1000 years old. Thunderous surf on the West Coast was a prelude to a bay of boulders where the rare Fiordland Crested penguin is a seasonal visitor. Further on Long Reef plays host to a rookery of native New Zealand fur seals. This evening you’ll be hosted at Martins Bay Lodge, close to the mouth of the Hollyford River. Again a beautiful meal in a lovely lodge before settling into bed!!

Hollyford Tramp, April 2016

Early start departing Queenstown, travelling alongside Lake Wakatipu we headed towards Te Anau where we picked up the final members of our group. We then travelled through the Eglinton Valley on our way to the start of the Hollyford Valley. We visited Gunn's camp and museum before heading alongside the swift clear waters of the Hollyford river looking up at the Southern Alps including Mt Tūtoko and Mt Madeline. We tramped through the native beech forest and beside the impressive tumbling waterfalls. The landscape was stunning. Through paths of rock, mud, stone and tree roots we climbed. It was a very long first day and I know that I was very happy to see Pyke Lodge that evening. A beautiful meal was cooked and enjoyed with wine and good friends. Later there was an opportunity to feed eels and visit the glow worms.... Sleep came very easily that evening!!!!

Wendy and Dave

Gunn's Museum

The Hollyford

Waterfall on the Hollyford

Peter, Robin, Wendy and Dave

Queenstown, April 2016

We enjoyed a lovely time in Queenstown exploring the township and also enjoyed dinner at two of Josh Emett's restaurants - Rata and Madam Woo. Very excited that he is bringing Madam Woo to Hamilton!!

South Island April 7, 2016

April 7, 2016 · Hamilton ·
I thought it was time to add a few photos of our wonderful trip to the South Island. Primarily to walk the Hollyford, but also to enjoy the south. A few photos to start the beginning of our trip south. On the way we passed Mt Taranaki (it was such a clear beautiful day) we also passed over Cook Strait, then we saw the Awaroa Inlet (the place we all contributed to, in order to keep it in public hands), such a pristine piece of beach and bush in the heart of the Abel Tasman Park and flew down towards Queenstown across the heart of the South Island.