There were storms on the island of Cape Breton. Lightning lit up our hotel room all night long. Cynthia slept like a log but I watched from the window for a while. It was pretty to watch, but was dashing hopes for a good day on the trail.
We got up and had breakfast and got on the road. We immediately hit some fog and also road construction.
As we drove we went in and out of the fog as we went up and down the mountains. It was not encouraging. But we kept driving. Eventually we did clear the fog and the rain stopped. And the view improved.
We kept driving and decided to go ahead and take the entire loop around the Cabot Trail. That’s over 200 miles in total so it was a full day.
We had a good time, stopping now and again to see what there was to see
And even to goof around
It turned into a beautiful day and we had a great time
When we finally returned to the hotel that afternoon we took a hike on the Middle Head Trail that is on the grounds behind our hotel.
It was beautiful, but we were pretty tired so we only walked for a mile or so before turning back. This was a find end to this fantastic journey. Tomorrow we drive back to the Halifax area so we can pack up and get ready to catch our flight home.
After staying up past our bedtime last night we woke up at the crack of dawn to get packed and go to the airport to catch our flight from Deer Lake to Halifax. We were on the road by about 6 am.
As we drove out we encountered some sheep which always makes Cynthia happy. She was able to photograph these guys while I pulled over to the side of the road.
A little further down the road Cynthia began to shout “A MOOSE, A MOOSE! I SAW A MOOSE!” I made a u-turn and drove back and sure enough there was a young moose grazing by the side of the road. I pulled over and Cynthia took this photo.
Seeing a moose was something Cynthia really wanted to do and we had begun to think we would not see one before leaving Newfoundland.
We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Deer Lake is a small regional airport so it’s not very crowded. The flight was only an hour to Halifax.
We arrived and picked up our rental car and made our way to the hotel. We were too early to check in so we parked and did a little exploring. We were pretty tired and had dinner plans with some friends that evening so when we got checked in we just relaxed until time to meet up.
After dinner we went back to the hotel and went to sleep.
Today we made the 4 1/2 hour drive back to Gros Morne. We didn’t do much on this day other than get back to our accommodations. It was important to get a little rest for the trip out to Western Brook Pond.
When visiting Western Brook Pond you have to drive to a parking lot and then hike in 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) to the pier to meet the boat.
We got an early start with the sun shining and blue skies blazing, but by the time we made the hike a bit of fog and gloom had settled in.
Undaunted, we boarded the boat and proceeded on a 2 hour tour of the fjord lake. It was impressive to see, but not the most photogenic outing of the journey due to the inclimate weather.
Toward the end the sun made an effort to come out, but it was ultimately too late to be of much photographic benefit.
We hiked out the 3 kilometers back to the car and then made our way back to the hotel. We needed to get organized for our flight to Halifax the next day so we took the rest of the afternoon to do that and then treated ourselves to a show by the Anchors Aweigh band who play Newfoundland folk music as well as some traditional Irish tunes. The show was amazing and we stayed for the whole thing, even though that meant that we were out pretty late and having to get up very early to make our flight.
In St. Anthony our main goal was icebergs so we booked a reservation with a local tour company and boarded a boat and headed out on the North Atlantic.
After the boat tour we went to L’Anse aux Meadows, site of a viking settlement. The archeological site itself was rather unremarkable, but there was a reconstruction of the dwellings and there were reenactors who told the tale of what it was like in those times.
All in all, a fantastic day. Tomorrow we drive back to Gros Morne National Park, a 4 1/2 hour drive, and take a boat out on Western Brook Pond which is not a pond, but a fjord.
We left Twillingate pretty early, mostly because we’re old and we wake up pretty early, but also because it was going to be a long day of driving. Before getting out of town we took advanatage of the morning light to get a few parting shots of this charming little town.
The drive across this part of Newfoundland was pretty uneventful.
We arrived in the Gros Morne area and were greated by an interesting batch of fog that was coming in over the harbor.
It has been a long day. We had a nice dinner and are looking forward to a relaxing evening before heading north to St. Anthony, a town on the northern reaches of the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.
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.
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.
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.
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
Sadly, The Fanz Josef and even the Fox Glacier were a bust. Rain was coming down pretty steady and it was just not conducive to making the trek out to see them. Even the helicopters were grounded. We had a long drive ahead of us and decided to make our way to our next destination which was Queenstown.
Despite the rain and gloom, there was still some amazing sites to see, especially the clouds and mist as it came over the mountains.
The rain did begin to subside as we moved on and we made a few stops along the way, like this one to see the Thunder Creek Falls
As we drove down the Haast River we had our first Lupin sighting
Our midpoint on this leg of the journey was Wanaka where I wanted to see the most photographed tree in New Zealand
We also saw some purple lupins, Cynthia’s favorite.
We then made our way up New Zealand’s highest sealed road, Crown Range Road which rises up to 3530 ft above sea level
We then descended into Queenstown just as the sky began to clear.
Also, today is Cynthia’s birthday. To celebrate we had dinner at an amazing restaurant called the Blue Kanu which serves food that mixes both Pacifica and Asian style, and blending the two cultures it aims to create a style and feel that they call “Polynasia”. Simply put, it was fantastic.
Tomorrow we explore Queenstown.
We were not holding out much hope for today as it the forecast called for rain and possibly hail. But when we woke up there was some sunshine and a patches of blue sky. We decided we would go for it and make the drive some 60 miles to Abel Tasman where we had a cruise and hike booked for the day.
We made our way to Kaiteriteri and checked in and quickly boarded our boat, a medium sized catamaran that would take us up the coast to a series of secluded bays.
We were scheduled to get of at Bark Bay and do some exploring, but the weather was still “iffy” so we opted to stay on the boat and just ride the route till we got back to the point of origin. We did see some nice things like a seal colony
And Split Apple Rock
We ended the cruise about mid-day and drove back to Nelson and explored a bit before having dinner.
Tomorrow we drive to Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks and the weather looks to be great.