Planet Earth flexes her biceps in New Zealand’s South Island – oh those salaciously shifting teutonic plates!
The above photo is one of a trillion I’ve been taking on our Oceania voyage, the trip I’ve always dreamed of taking; the landscape more salubrious than the Green Lip Mussels I purchased in a Kiwi run-of-the mill grocery store, pictured to the right bathing in locally produced blue cheese and Sauvignon Blanc.
I planned our itinerary in early Spring of last year; we’re in summer on the South Island and the best, most reasonable, accommodations are snapped up fast. My plan was concocted after reading dozens of travel forums, Trip Advisor reviews, and studying a well-reviewed hiking book. Certainly there are countless ways to approach this landscape based on what one prefers on a vacation – ours is suited to our love of hiking, wildlife and my desire to have a small kitchen at most of our stops. As well, aside from Queenstown, we wanted to avoid the the cities and large organized tour groups.
After a brief respite on Kauai, we began our journey on the Otaga Peninsula then onto the Catlins; both areas dripping wildlife, eye-candy allure. Environments of fur seals basking on rocks; sea lions fighting on the beach; Royal Albatross swooping above; hector and bottle-nose dolphins dancing in the Pacific waters…all yours to be had, if quiet, down under. Then, traveling counter-clockwise, we headed to the Fiordlands, our base for hiking various “legs” of the Kepler and Routeburn tracks. Here are a few pics, to date, from some of our hikes (my highlights from the Catlins in the penguin slide-show below). Sadly, we lost our “good” camera the second day of our trip, as mentioned.
But for me, most enchanting of all (if enchantment can be quantified) was sitting on a stump in a petrified forest in Curio Bay, watching the rare yellow-eyed penguins in there native habitat of water, bush and nests.
Far better than prime-time, we watched a family drama unfold – well over an hour: a mother returning from sea, a belly full of fish to feed her fledglings. What could be more thrilling than sitting in an ancient, petrified forest in the South Pacific ocean, with penguins chattering several feet from your feet?
As they say on the South Island: Sweet ass!
Here’s a “Penguin Prime Time” slide-show imagined after reviewing my pics, accompanied by a couple of glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s far better suited to a pre-schooler personality, so please forgive me this indulgence keeping in mind that it’s the wine channeling Penguinese!