Today we woke up early to make the drive from Bonavista to Twillingate. This was a rather long drive, much of which was on the Trans Canada Highway. There was some construction and many signs warning of the dangers of moose. Cynthia was in charge of the highway photography.
We stopped in Gander for lunch, but it was a mostly unremarkable town so we quickly moved on to Twillingate. We got checked into our hotel and found our way to the harbour where we booked a tour with Iceberg Quest to go out on a boat and get a closer look at some icebergs.
Before the tour we drive up to Crow Nest for some nice views
Then it was off on a small boat to chase the icebergs at sea.
This first photo is by Cynthia and gives you a sense of the scale
The icebergs are really interesting up close. And they look completely different from different angles.
We really enjoyed the tour. It lasted about 2 hours and when we got back to shore we treated ourselves to a nice dinner. Tonight we rest and in the morning we drive to Gros Morne National Park.
We really managed to hit the high spots on day 1 in Bonavista yesterday. So today was very casual. We got up very early and walked about the harbor and then went back to Elliston to see if there might be more puffin activity in the early morning. Turns out, this was a VERY good time to see them as they had not gone out to sea just yet and there were dozens of them near the viewing cliff.
We cam back to town and drive around a bit to see the icebergs that were floating around the peninsula.
Later in the day we took a drive out to Trinity to see the small historical town, but the day began to turn a bit overcast and the drive, while pleasant, was not very photogenic with all the fog. We had some lunch and drove back to Bonavista and called it a day. Tomorrow, Twillingate for more icebergs!
This morning we got up an drive to Bonavista. On the way we stopped in the unfortunately named town of Dildo
Dildo is a very cute little fishing village and was a great place to stop for some coffee and some photos.
We drive on and stopped in Port Rexton for another short phto break
It was a fairly easy drive on into Bonavista and we checked into the hotel. While in Bonavista we wanted to see two things. The Bonavista Lighthouse. We ended up having fantastic light when we drive to the top of the peninsula
And the other thing we wanted to see was the puffins. There’s a place in Elliston where you can hike out and stand on the edge of a cliff next to a small island where they have their nests.
There’s about 6-8 icebergs floating around the peninsula, some are very close to land, but not always easy to get to the piece of land that they are close to due to the terrain.
Tonight we rest and prepare to do some exploring in Bonavista and the surrounding area tomorrow.
The time difference between Houston and Newfoundland is 2 1/2 hours. We’re adjusting well, but we’re already early risers and with the sun coming up around 5:00 am we’re out of bed by 6:00 am.
This let us get an early start on exploring as we went to Cape Spear which is the furthest east you can get in North America.
We saw our first icebergs!
And we had the entire site all to ourselves
After visiting Cape Spear we had some breakfast and made our way to Bay Bulls to take a whale and puffin watching tour with Gatherall’s
We say thousands of puffins and other seabirds as well as about 4 or 5 Fin Whales, the second largest mammals on the planet. Sadly, no good photos as they only briefly ever broke the surface.
I did manage to get some photos of the Common Murre
At one point thousands of them left their rocky perches and took to the sea
We drive for a bit more and headed up to Pouch Cove, a small and picturesque town north of St. John’s
After this we were pretty wiped. We had an early dinner and called it a day. St. John’s and the surrounding area has been just lovely.
Tomorrow we head to Bonavista.
We had a 7:00 am flight from Houston to St. John’s with a connection in Toronto. Flying Air Canada our bags were checked through to to our final destination without the need to claim them and recheck them. We grabbed our rental car and made our way to the hotel and got checked in. A great day of travel without incident.
After checking into the hotel we drive up to Signal Hill, the sight of the reception of the first transatlantic wireless transmission on 12 December 1901.
There’s a great view from up there of Fort Amherst, St. John’s
We even saw a giant Newfoundland dog
From there we went back to the hotel and had dinner and we’re calling it a night. Tomorrow we drive to Witless Bay to take a boat tour to see whales and puffins.
We’re headed to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
I was watching TV when I heard the very plaintive squawking of a Mockingbird in distress coming from tree in the front of the house. The last time I heard something like this it was a Blue Jay trying to fend off the neighbor’s cat that was stalking her baby who had fallen from the nest. The Mockingbird was very agitated and did not fly away when I approached. I could not immediately sort out the threat until I peered into the tree noticed a mottled lump amongst the branches. I ran inside to grab my camera and a flashlight and was able to capture these images of what I found staring back at me. Cynthia quipped “It appears you have been accepted to Hogwarts”
The parade was moved from the usual route due to construction on Allen Parkway. The new route took the parade up Smith St. and past the old Enron building.
Rosco, my 1971 Oldsmobile Convertible, was in fine form this weekend. While the east coast was blanketed in snow we were basking in sunshine…
We made the drive from Lake Tekapo to Christchurch today. This drive was not all that spectacular. The landscape was pretty flat. The weather was very good and we made good time and were able to check into our hotel early.
We found some lunch and then went walking around the city center. I’d forgotten that Christchurch was hit by an earthquake in 2011. They are still restoring the Christchurch Cathedral and the repairs look like they will take another several years.
We fly home tomorrow and we’re looking forward to being home. We’re tired after logging well over 3,000 miles of driving. It has been an amazing trip.
All photos can be found on my Flickr page by clicking
We woke up to what looked like more rain, but as we drove on to our next destination, the weather turned fine and we had a glorious day.
Our first stop was to see the Moeraki Boulders, some unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the coast of Moeraki and Hampden.
I wanted to try some long exposure techniques so I brought out my tripod and filters and these are some of the results
I may have gotten a little wet in my efforts to get these shots
We continued up the coast and I spotted a sign pointing to something called Steampunk HQ in Oamaru so we stopped to have a look. It was pretty cool to see.
From there we turned inland and drive to Lake Pukaki and followed the coast to Mt. Cook. The scenery was just spectacular
Mt. Cook was covered in cloud and fog so we didn’t really get to see it. We turned around and drove on to Lake Tekapo and found our hotel.
Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki are the most amazing shade of turquoise blue I have ever seen. It’s due to the the glacier run off…something called glacial flour which is a term for the byproduct of the rocks being ground to powder by the glaciers.
The Lupins here are in full bloom and all over the place. It really is quite beautiful
Tomorrow we drive to Christchurch for our final day in New Zealand before flying home on Tuesday.
We had an extra day scheduled in Dunedin that included some time on our own in the morning and a tour of the Penguin Place Yellow-Eyed Penguin Preserve and a cruise in Dunedin Harbor in the afternoon.
The weather was not so great and we were not very enthusiastic about our prospects. And we are getting very tired. We decided to take the morning and just relax. We got a little bored and walked over to the Dunedin Botanical Gardens which were nice, but then it started raining so we went back to the hotel.
At about 1:00 pm we were scheduled to be picked up by the tour operator so we decided what the heck and bundled up and met the bus and went on the tour.
The first stop was the preserve where we learned about the plight of the Yellow-Eyed Penguin. Turns out there are only about 700 on the mainland so the one we saw yesterday was really a rare sight.
At the penguin preserve they give you warm rain coats for the rainy days. This made things much better.
After they give their presentation they take the group through a series of blinds where you can observe the penguins.
THe next part of the tour was a trip out on the harbor on a small boat. Again we were provided with warm jackets
It was a little gloomy and wet, but we had a good time. We got to see some wildlife which was nice and Cynthia really enjoyed herself.
We got back to the hotel pretty late and had some dinner and went to bed.
Next stop, Lake Tekapo
Today we woke up to a bit of rain, which was disappointing as the drive was through a spectacular piece of the Southern Scenic Route. Happy to say that after a few hours it cleared up quite nice. The wind, though, was very strong. At one point we parked to take in the view and when we opened up the doors of the car the crosswind was so strong it flung the doors open and almost sucked all our loose items out and into the sea.
Along this drive we encountered Niagara Falls
A rare Yellow-Eyed Penguin near Curio Bay
The beautiful Matai Falls
And toward the end, before finding our way to Dunedin, we drove several miles along a gravel track and hiked for a bit to visit the lighthouse at Nugget Point
From which we had some spectacular views of the ocean
We have a full day tomorrow to explore the area around Dunedin and we’re hoping for favorable weather
Today we drove south to Invercargill. This is the furthest south we are traveling on this trip. More fine weather and stunning scenery as we drove
When we were filling up with petrol before getting underway the gas station attendant asked about our journey. He indicated we should stop at two places along the way. The first was a place called Monkey Island
And the second was a tiny fishing village called Cozy Nook
Both of these locations were well worth a stop and we enjoyed them immensely.
We made good time and were in Invercargill just after lunchtime so we decided to drive onto Bluff. Bluff is pretty much as far south as you can get on the mainland. There’s not much there, but Stirling Point is quite pretty on a pretty day with its lighthouse, giant anchor chain sculpture and an amusing signpost.
We then drove back to Invercargill and checked into our hotel. Once that was complete it was off to E. Hayes & Sons Ltd which is like a cross between Academy and Ace Hardware. We wanted to see Burt Munro’s “World Fastest Indian” motorcycle which is on display in the store.
They had quite a collection of other unique motorcycles on display as well
I don’t think I ever knew the Chevrolet made a motorcycle
All in all, a great day. Tomorrow we drive to Lake Tekapo
This was the day I really wanted sunshine, and New Zealand delivered! We woke up to clear skies and a bit of frost and the forecast indicated the sunshine would continue and it would get a bit warmer.
Our schedule was to drive the Milford Road for 2 hours to meet our ship to cruise around Milford Sound (actually it’s a fjord) for 2 1/2 hours.
We decided to allocate 3 hours drive time just to be on the safe side.
We got underway and as we climbed into the Southern Alps we were in great spirits as we marvelled at the scenery. We came to an overlook and decided to pull over because there was a great view. When I got out of the car I noticed a Kea Parrot on the railing.
I was really hoping to see these birds. The Kea is the only mountain parrot in the world and is only found in New Zealand.
Kea Parrots are known for their destructive nature and they frequently chew the rubber bits off of cars, causing extensive damage if left to their own devices. As we got back in the car and were getting ready to leave we heard something on the roof. The Kea and hopped on to the top of our car and was up to no good.
We shoo’d him off and got on our way before he could cost us our deposit on the rental.
We arrived at the terminal to catch our cruise and got checked in
The weather continued to shine and we had an awesome time cruising around Milford Sound.
We really enjoyed the cruise and we enjoyed taking a leisurely drive back to Te Anau.
Tomorrow we drive to Invercargill. This will be the furthest south we get before turning back to drive up the east coast of the North Island.