Author Topic: New Zealand with some Seoul  (Read 28285 times)

Offline morgs

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #100 on: December 05, 2014, 03:49:19 AM »

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #101 on: December 08, 2014, 07:56:45 PM »
Part 6: Franz Josef

We bid adieu to Queenstown and headed towards Franz Josef. As usual with the South Island, the views were spectacular but since we left in the evening, we didnít have too much sunlight. Eventually we were driving in complete darkness and through forested areas. The combination of the two meant that it felt as if it were raining bugs.



Bug massacre


We made it to Franz Josef in under 4 hours and checked in to the Alpine Glacier Motel. Again, not too great, but not too bad either. There arenít really too many options.



The next day I walked over to the office of the Franz Josef Glacier Guides where I had pre booked the Ice Explorer excursion. We geared up and took a short helicopter ride onto the glacier. We hiked around a bit with our guide who was constantly carving steps for us. It was pretty cool to be up close to the blue ice and to take awesome pictures inside some of the crevasses.





Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #102 on: December 08, 2014, 07:57:58 PM »




Included in the price of the excursion was free entrance to the Glacier Hot Pools so we figured we might as well take advantage. On the way towards the pools, we stopped off at the West Coast Wildlife Centre which of course had kiwis but also informative displays and mock ups which the kids enjoyed.



We then went to the hot pools planning to get a private pool which they offer, but they claimed that it was too hot to be safe for my wife who was pregnant.

That night, I drove a half hour to the city of Okarito where I had booked a kiwi tour. It is one of the few places in all of New Zealand where itís possible to see kiwis in the wild. The eccentric owner Ian leads nighttime tours to spot the rarest kiwi in the world, the Rowi, aka the Okarito Brown Kiwi, with fewer than 400 remaining due to introduced unnatural predators.



You need to be extremely quiet and have a ton of patience. Most of the time youíre just standing still, waiting anxiously for the kiwi to emerge from the bush and come onto the path. We tracked one kiwi for a full 2 hours. Itís hard to describe the excitement of locating one (they are very sparse, one pair per square km), hearing its calls and the crunching as it walks, and the exhilaration when it finally emerges.
In the end, we left at 7pm, came back at midnight, and ended up seeing 2 of them. In my opinion it was certainly worthwhile.

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #103 on: December 08, 2014, 08:00:12 PM »
As is my custom, I subscribed to the local Groupon type deal sites months before I left to see if they had any relevant deals. As luck would have it, there was a deal for a 40 minute scenic helicopter flight + snow landing operated by Glacier Country Scenic Flights from Whataroa, a city about 20 minutes north of Franz Josef. I bought it after confirming that the kids would be free.

I scheduled our flight for the following day while we were on the way to our next destination. However, when we arrived at the specified time, the owner delayed us for no reason other than to try to get other passengers to go up with us since he wasnít making enough on us alone. After about a 2 hour delay, he finally found a couple willing to go, put them in the front and squashed us all in the back.

The flight itself was very nice with awesome views including Mt. Cook which we hadnít yet seen. It was also neat to land on top of the glacier. In hindsight I wouldnít have gotten the discount had I known he would have delayed us. It would have been worth it to pay the full fare to go on time and to have better visibility sitting in the front.









Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #104 on: December 08, 2014, 08:01:36 PM »


Talk about living in isolation




Mt Cook


Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #105 on: December 08, 2014, 08:02:40 PM »








We then continued on to our next destination, HokitikaÖ

Online TimT

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #106 on: December 08, 2014, 08:24:00 PM »
Awesome scenery pics.

Offline Yaalili

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #107 on: December 08, 2014, 08:31:18 PM »
Awesome scenery pics.

+1. Too bad that helicopter guy "scammed" you a bit, leave feedback on TA.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #108 on: December 08, 2014, 09:00:09 PM »
Wow!! What an amazing TR. I'm glad I just found it now so I didn't have to wait so long between installments  ;). I can't wait for the rest! The pictures are amazing.

Offline smart brit

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #109 on: December 08, 2014, 09:53:56 PM »
I just can't get over it! With a pregnant wife and kids!
Absolutely awesome

Offline sam28

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #110 on: December 08, 2014, 10:59:30 PM »
wow  no words its amazing this pictures . the tr keep it coming .

Offline morgs

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #111 on: December 09, 2014, 02:08:10 AM »
Absolutely amazing-please keep going-enjoying every minute!!

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #112 on: December 11, 2014, 06:44:41 PM »
Part 7: Hokitika & TranzAlpine

We continued on until we reached the town of Hokitika and went straight to the National Kiwi Centre. Besides for kiwis (no pictures allowed), they had other animals as well, such as the ancient tuatara which resembles a lizard but is actually more closely related to dinosaurs than anything living today. The main attraction, though, are the giant eels which are about 2 meters long. They are also pretty old, the oldest of which was 120 years. During feeding time, they allow visitors to take part in hand feeding them which the kids enjoyed.







Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #113 on: December 11, 2014, 06:45:23 PM »
We then drove out to the Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve, a little bit out of the city, to enjoy the beautiful scenery and turquoise river. Beware of the sandflies, though. I got bitten and the scar of that bite was still visible a year later.







Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #114 on: December 11, 2014, 06:46:27 PM »




We then drove back into town and went shopping where we bought stuff that were on the list including bread and found something very interesting. Itís called kiwi berries; they taste exactly like kiwis but are in berry form. Not sure if itís available in the States.



Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #115 on: December 11, 2014, 06:47:11 PM »
We then checked into our lodging, the Shining Star Beachfront Accommodation. Had the schedule been arranged differently, this would have been a great place to stay for Shabbos, especially a two day one. It had two bedrooms and a kitchenette. It also had a huge playground that was empty that the kids enjoyed, as well as farm animals. It was also a minute walk to the beach where we went out searching for jade.




« Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 07:20:13 PM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #116 on: December 11, 2014, 06:47:41 PM »
It was also located across the road from a glow worm dell which I visited after dark. Although nothing like what we saw in Waitomo, it was still quite beautiful. I was able to get a slightly better picture, but not great. I did manage to get a pretty decent shot of the stars, however.






« Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 06:50:56 PM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #117 on: December 11, 2014, 06:48:36 PM »
The next day we drove up to Greymouth, returned the rental car at the train station, and boarded the TranzAlpine to Christchurch.

Itís important to note that if you book your tickets ahead of time outside New Zealand, you will automatically be charged a higher price. In order to get a lower price, it needs to be booked from a local IP address. I tried a program to change my IP to a NZ one whilst in Israel, but it didnít work. So as soon as we arrived in Auckland, I booked the tickets. After booking the tickets online, I called them to reserve seats. From Greymouth to Christchurch the better views are on the left side. I had read online that those seats were A&B but on my train that wasnít the case so YMMV. They have a designated cabin without seats for photography, so I requested a car next to that one.

I booked the TranzAlpine due to the recommendation of a distinguished and esteemed DDFíer, however after spending so much time driving in the South Island, the views were not as amazing as what I had already seen. So I guess for someone visiting for short itís a great way of getting a glimpse of the beauty of NZ, but for someone who spends as much time as I did, I would say pass.







Up next, ChristchurchÖ

Offline Yaalili

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #118 on: December 11, 2014, 07:17:14 PM »
The Hokitika water scenery place is something, the water is so blue, nice.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #119 on: December 11, 2014, 08:15:46 PM »
The Hokitika water scenery place is something, the water is so blue, nice.
+1, reminds me of the Lake Piru and Lake Louise near Banff, AB.