GRAND PACIFIC TOURS
HPP TOUR to NEW ZEALAND - March 13th - April 1st 2017
Installment #3 of 4
Picton to Fiordland
After a very comfortable and enjoyable ferry crossing we landed in Picton. We then coached (with a new driver Alex) to Christchurch where we welcomed nine more people to tour with us.
Christchurch is still recovering and rebuilding after the last earthquake. We toured the city on our coach, quite difficult at times as so many streets were one way or still closed off (tragic to see the destruction of such a beautiful city and with such a devastating loss of life).
Next morning we boarded the TransAlpine, renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world (fortunately for us the service had only recommenced two days prior after repairs for damage caused by fires during the summer). We travelled to Arthurs Pass located in the centre of the Southern Alps via massive viaducts, river valleys, spectacular gorges and snow capped mountains. The many photographers spent most of the journey in the viewing carriage, a bit windy though.
Alex and our guide Kenn were still both fountains of information, history and more bad jokes.
Destination Franz Josef. The weather Gods were smiling on us allowing us the joy of flying by helicopter to Franz Jozef Glacier where we landed, had time to walk carefully! (3 people still slipped and fell) and take photographs. Cloud and fog stopped the afternoon flights but the morning was clear and we did it! Totally amazing scenery. Looking from our helicopter, the helicopters below us looked like Match-box toys but when we landed; yes, they were real. We could tick that wonderful experience off the bucket list.
In Queenstown some enjoyed the thrill of a jet-boat ride. Some did the heritage tour of Skippers Canyon, where Linda did a photo pose (like Rose in the movie Titanic) on the edge of a cliff. We were all glad to see her get back on the bus safely.
In the evening we cruised across Lake Wakatipa aboard the steamship TSS Earnshaw to Walter Peak Station and enjoyed a beautiful dinner at the Colonels Homestead. On the return trip we sang along to the piano as Terry, Joy and Jo danced and conducted the songs. Great night!
Te Anau; the gateway to Fiordlan - some visited the Glow Worm Caves, others watched the movie/documentary Fiordland. We all boarded the coach for a wonderful drive to Milford Sound where we boarded a ferry to cruise the sound, another amazing experience.
One more instalments folk
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