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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 13: Lake Tekapo

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10, 11, 12.

MOUNT COOK → LAKE TEKAPO & CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD, via SH 80 & SH 8

Drive from Mount Cook to Lake Pukaki via state highway 80. Then drive from Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo via state highway 8.

Lake Tekapo & Church of the good shepherd

Lake Tekapo is surrounded by rugged mountains, wide open skies, tussock vegetation, and at times, brightly colored lupins.

Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo is part of UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.

Lake Tekapo has been ranked one of the best spots in the world for stargazing. Most of the areas in the Northern Hemisphere had too much light pollution which prevented good stargazing, whereas the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, of which Lake Tekapo was part, had used special shields and lightbulbs for 30 years to point the light downwards in order to preserve the night sky.

Lake Tekapo (and Lake Pukaki) are my most favorite lakes in New Zealand. The view of the lakes and surrounding area are so breathtakingly beautiful. I was mesmerized by the view. The color of the lakes are turquoise (bluish-green color). Lake Tekapo gets its intense milky-turquoise color from the fine rock-flour (ground by glaciers) which is suspended in the water. The lakes looks much more impressive when you see it in person than it does in photograph or video. But you have to catch the lakes on a sunny day to get to see its mesmerizing color.

There are lots of beautiful lupin flowers on the shores of the Lake Tekapo when I was there on December (summer).

On the shores of the Lake Tekapo, you’ll see the Church of the Good Shepherd, where the altar window frames a perfect view of the Southern Alps beyond the lake.

Built as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie region, the Church has been home to thousands of weddings, and has seen more than its fair share of visitors to its grounds.

The foundation stone was laid by HRH the Duke of Gloucester, on January 15 1935. The builders of the Church were instructed that the site was to be left undisturbed, and that even the matagouri bushes surrounding the building were to remain.

Videos (Lake Tekapo & Church of the good shepherd):

video by Mark Gee

video by Fraser Gunn (beautiful night sky in the Tekapo – Mt Cook area: milkyway, aurora, etc)

Photos (Lake Tekapo & Church of the good shepherd):

Church of the good shepherd

lupin flowers on the shores of Lake Tekapo

lupin flowers on the shores of Lake Tekapo

lupin flowers on the shores of Lake Tekapo

we slept here, in front of Lake Tekapo

in front of Lake Tekapo

we had breakfast here, in front of Lake Tekapo

 

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? Final part

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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in new zealand, travel

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 12: Mount Cook

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,11.

LAKE PUKAKI → MOUNT COOK, via SH 80

Drive from Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook via state highway 80.

MOUNT COOK

Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand.It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island.

Mount Cook and it’s surrounding alpine peaks were used as backdrop while filming the movie “The Hobbit”.

There is a village at the base of Aoraki/Mount Cook. The village provides a range of accommodation from an international style hotel to motels, backpackers and camping.

When staying in Aoraki/Mount Cook village, you become immersed by mountains.

To know more details read it at this link: Aoraki/Mount Cook

Video by Raw Cinematics

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? part 13 (Lake Tekapo, via SH 80, SH 8)

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in new zealand, travel

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 11: Lake Pukaki

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10.

LAKE OHAU → LAKE PUKAKI, via Glen lyon Rd

Drive from Lake Ohau to Lake Pukaki via Glen lyon Rd.

LAKE PUKAKI

Lake Pukaki is a glacial lake. It is the largest of three lakes (others are Lake Tekapo and Ohau) occupying ancient glacial valleys in the Mackenzie Basin.

Stunning Lake Pukaki was chosen as the filming location for Laketown in the movie “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”.

Lake Pukaki (and Lake Tekapo) are my most favorite lakes in New Zealand. The view of the lakes and surrounding area are so breathtakingly beautiful. I was mesmerized by the view. The color of the lakes are turquoise (bluish-green color). These lakes looks much more impressive when you see it in person than it does in photograph or video. But you have to catch the lakes on a sunny day to get to see its mesmerizing color.

Mount cook with snow on its peak (even on summer you can see the snow on its peak) on the background of Lake Pukaki adds the beauty to the lake scenery.

There are spectacular views of the lake on the drive on State Highway 80 to Aoraki/Mount Cook Village, and also along on the road between Twizel and Lake Tekapo Village.

Photos (Lake Pukaki):

Click the link (word with color) to see a great photo of Lake Pukaki with snow-capped Mount Cook in the background 

video by Richard Magid

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? part 12 (Mount Cook, via SH 80) 

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in new zealand, travel

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 10: Twizel “salmon”, Lake Ohau

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

OMARAMA → “High Country Salmon” Twizel, via SH 8

Drive from Omarama to “High Country SalmonTwizel via state highway 8.

TWIZEL

Twizel – the region’s main country town – appeared in movie of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy as the location for the Pelennor Fields. This was the largest scene filmed in the Trilogy with over 1500 actors and crew involved. Twizel was also being used as filming location of The Hobbit movie.

“High Country Salmon” Twizel

I recommend you to stop at “high country salmon” (salmon farm) to purchase fresh salmon. You can eat the salmon in the restaurant or take it with you to the hotel or car or wherever you want to eat it. Their sashimi (fresh raw salmon fish sliced into thin pieces) and their smoked salmon are very delicious. I love their sashimi and smoked salmon. You can also feed the fish in high country salmon.

To know more detail, go to their site: high country salmon.

Open: 8.00am – 6.00pm
Phone: T: 0800 400 385. M: 021 400 385
Address: State Highway 8, Twizel

Photos (High Country Salmon, Twizel)

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“High country salmon” Twizel → Lake Ohau, via Glen lyon Rd

If you want, you can go to Lake Ohau after visiting high country salmon because its location is near to high country salmon. Drive from “high country salmon” Twizel to Lake Ohau via Glen lyon Rd.

LAKE OHAU

Lake Ohau is a glacial lake in the Mackenzie Basin of New Zealand’s South Island. It is fed by the Hopkins and Dobson rivers, which have their headwaters in the Southern Alps, and has its outflow in the Ohau River.

Lake Ohau is the smallest of three roughly parallel lakes running north-south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin (the others are Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo).

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? part 11 (Lake Pukaki, via Glen lyon Rd) 

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in new zealand, travel

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 7: Queenstown

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

TE ANAU → QUEENSTOWN, via SH 94,SH 97, SH 6

After using bus (tour bur) from Milford Sound to Te Anau, you will need to sleep at Te Anau. Then the next day, drive from Te Anau to Queenstown via state highway 94, then state highway 97, then state highway 6.

QUEENSTOWN

Queenstown is the Adventure Capital of the World. It is home to a huge choice of adrenaline activities. It was also used as one of the filming location of the movie Lord of the Rings.

The town is built around an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, and has spectacular views of nearby mountains such as The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, Walter Peak and just above the town; Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill.

Things to do and see in Queenstown:

Lake Wakatipu
Skyline gondola & luge
Kiwi Haka Maori culture performance (in skyline)
Water adventures : shotover jet boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, white water rafting, river surfing and sledging
Bungy jumping & Nevis Swing: AJ hackett
Skydiving: Nzone
Salmon fishing
Paragliding, parasailing
Skiing
Hiking
Biking
Glow worm
Scenic flights
Dining out at wide selection of top restaurants
Cafe, bars & clubs
Visit neighbouring towns: Arrowtown, Kingston
And many more….

Photos and videos:

Me, skydive 12000 feet (freefall at 200 km/hour), Queenstown:

 

Nevis Swing (AJ hackett):

My sister and her husband tried the nevis swing together (tandem). For you who don’t know about Nevis Swing, it is the world’s biggest swings.

Nevis swing video:

other Photos (Queenstown):

shotover jet boating

shotover jet start point

For more detail information, go to these sites:
Shotover jet: http://www.shotoverjet.com/
Bungee jumping & Nevis Swing: AJ hacket : http://www.bungy.co.nz/
Skydive: http://www.nzoneskydive.co.nz/home
Skyline gondola, luge,kiwi haka maori culture performance: http://www.skyline.co.nz/queenstown/
video: Skyline gondola & luge, Kiwi Haka Maori culture

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? part 8: Arrowtown, Cromwell “fruit town”

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in new zealand, travel

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 6: Milford Sound

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5.

TE ANAU → MILFORD SOUND → TE ANAU, by tour bus

at Te Anau, book a “Milford Sound” package tour (for the next day) or you can book in advance when you are in your countries or in New Zealand’s other towns. But even though you book from Queenstown, you had better book the trip “te anau – milford sound – te anau” instead of “queenstown – milford sound – queenstown”. I recommend you to go to milford from te anau instead of from queenstown, so that you are not to tired of doing a long trip to milford sound. it takes you 4 hours from queenstown to milford sound, but it takes you only 2 hours from te anau to milford sound. If you go from queenstown to milford sound, you will be quite tired because of a long trip from queenstown to milford sound. Included in the tour package: bus from Te Anau to Milford Sound and back to Te Anau, lunch, and Milford Sound boat cruise.

MILFORD SOUND

Rudyard Kipling called Milford Sound the eighth Wonder of the World.

Milford Sound is a fiord. Milford Sound is a body of water carved out by a network of glaciers that once flowed to the sea. What’s left behind is a sea flooded inlet of water surrounded by staggeringly steep cliff walls. Glaciers once carved a path through this ancient, lush rainforest. Located on the remote, pristine southwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Milford Sound lies within the World Heritage area of Fiordland National Park.

Milford Sound’s raw natural beauty has inspired poets, painters and authors. Visitors travel from all of over the world to witness its staggering beauty on a clear day.

Milford Sound is by far the best scenery I’ve ever seen.The scenery took my breath away. I was blown away by the view. It was breathtakingly stunning! so spectacular! It’s difficult to describe the beauty of Milford Sound. Milford Sound scenery looks much more impressive when you see it in person than it does in photograph or video. Even professional photographers cannot adequately capture the majesty of the landscape. My photographs of Milford Sound were not good to show you the beauty of the scenery, so I searched the internet for photograph or video of Milford sound to show you the beauty of Milford Sound, but the beauty captured in those photograph and videos were nothing compared to the beauty that I saw with my own eyes. It’s 50 times more beautiful seeing it with your own eyes than in the photo or video. But you have to see Milford Sound scenery on a clear day (good weather and clear blue sky) to get to see its mesmerizing scenery.

I was so lucky when I was taking a boat cruise from Milford Sound marina to the open sea, it was on a clear day (good weather and clear blue sky) so that I was able to see a stunning scenery of Milford Sound. A person once told me that when the weather is not good, the Milford Sound scenery is not that impressive. The weather in Milford Sound is famous for its ability to change (deteriorate or improve) in a very short period of time. Milford Sound is a rainy area of New Zealand (rainfall is quite consistent around the year). When you get there, I hope that you get a good weather and clear blue sky so that you can see the mesmerizing scenery of Milford Sound.

Dolphins can occasionally be spotted in Milford Sound, as can penguins (rare). I didn’t see any dolphin or penguin, but I did see some lazy fur seals sunning themselves on rocks.

Milford Sound cruise is a “must do”. Getting out on the water is what a Milford Sound trip is all about and there’s no better way to appreciate the natural spectacle of the fiord than taking a scenic cruise. The journey from the Milford Sound marina to the open sea is a visual treat.

So you had better take a boat cruise to see the beauty of Milford Sound scenery. You can stay inside the boat or outside the boat. I highly recommend you to go outside the boat (on the boat deck) while the boat is going from Milford Sound marina to the open sea because you will see Milford Sound stunning scenery if you stay outside. You can book a Milford Sound cruise from real journeys

Important notes:

For Milford Sound tour: book ahead in high season. If you’re planning to go during the high season, particularly during a holiday weekend, be sure to book in advance. This is a popular trip and your tour may be booked full if you don’t get a chance to reserve your space in time.

In winter season, you often cannot go to Milford Sound, because occasionally the Milford road is closed due to snow.

What to pack to Milford Sound:
Sun/rain hat & rain coat
Wind jacket (coz it’s very windy)
Camera
Binoculars, if you want to keep an eye out for birds and marine life.

Photos and videos (Milford Sound):

Even though it’s 50 times more beautiful seeing Milford Sound scenery with your own eyes than in the photograph or video, these photos and videos can give you a glimpse of Milford Sound

These are some good photographs of Milford Sound scenery: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3

fur seals at milford sound

fur seals at milford sound

Video:

video by devinsupertramp

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? part 7 (Queenstown, via SH 94,SH 97, SH 6)

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in new zealand, travel

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 5: Te Anau

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4.

WANAKATE ANAU, via Cardrona Valley Rd, Crown Range Rd, SH 6, SH 97, SH 94

Drive from Wanaka to Te Anau via Cardrona Valley Rd, then Crown Range Rd, then state highway 6, then state highway 97, then state highway 94.

TE ANAU

The township sits on the edge of Lake Te Anau. Te Anau is the perfect place to stay when visiting Milford Sound. It is recommended that you take a night out in Te Anau, before you go to Milford Sound the next day. Guided tours to Milford Sound depart or stop at Te Anau.

Instead of driving by your car or campervan  from Te Anau to Milford Sound, it’s better that at Te Anau (or book in advance from your countries, or from New Zealand’s other town) you book a “Milford Sound” cruise package tour. Included in the tour package: bus from Te Anau to Milford Sound and back to Te Anau, lunch, and Milford Sound boat cruise. If you book it in Te Anau, you can ask information about that tour in your Te Anau hotel (if you sleep in a hotel) or in Te Anau Top 10 holiday park (if you sleep in top 10 holiday park). When you go by that tour bus, you can left your car / campervan at the Te Anau hotel or holiday park (the place you were sleeping before going to Milford Sound).

Things to do & see in Te Anau:

Lake Te Anau
Te Anau glowworm caves

Photos (Te Anau):

lots of flowers along the roadside

lots of flowers along the roadside

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? part 6: Milford Sound.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in new zealand, travel

 

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