Friday, January 31, 2014

Around Wanaka

We'd spent some time in Wanaka in 2009 and came to like the place very much. It's often characterized as a pint-sized Queenstown, not on steroids. Part of Wanaka's charm lies, however, in its not trying to be a Queenstown. Just a friendly little place, with all the amenities, in a killer setting and with access to much more. Our stay there was cut short to three days, and I didn't get hardly any shots of the town, but we'll be back through in a couple weeks, and I'll do better.
Lake Wanaka

With its backdrop of Mt. Aspiring and Mt. Aspiring National Park

Up closer

Wanaka is far more a family place than Queenstown; the Glendhu Holiday Park
lies some miles outside of town but can accommodate as many as 3,500 campers,
families and boaties mostly; it goes on for more than a kilometer of the huge
lake's shore; we spent one wet night there, in a cabin

Across the highway, a sea of sheep

Back in the campground

Tawana and Wes: didn't we borrow one like this from you
in c. 1969? 

Back in Wanaka town, at the huge athletic fields by the lake

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Zealand Out-Takes, 1

So we have been here for two weeks, and it's time for a post of pix that didn't quite make the prime time.
At an impressive junque shoppe somewhere on
the Canterbury plain

In Geraldine, the world's largest jersey/knit sweater (certified
by Guinness)

Same shoppe, the Medieval Mosaic, the world's largest
replica of the Bayeux Tapestry...done in sheet metal
mosaic...including a conjectured final 24 panels (missing
from the original); obviously a must-see for us

Up closer; where else but New Zealand?

One of my favorite panels, Harold taking an arrow in the eye

In case you have never seen a Guinness
certificate (I never had), go to Geraldine,
where Michael and Rachael have two

Apparently we're not the only Mark and Vicki pair around;
here, in an alley in Palmerston South

The Canterbury Plain and much of eastern South Island are
flattish and wind-swept; you're almost always in sight of a
wind-break; here, an aerial view on our approach to landing
in Christchurch

Here, not far from Ranfurley, the longest wind-break we've
seen so far...more than a mile, up and down hills...

Grim reminder...drop, cover, hold...drop, cover, hold...

Fruity Cromwell, en route to Wanaka

Kiwis obviously spend their off hours thinking
up ever more adventuresome things to charge
tourists for


In a land awash in sheep, treats for the dogs

And finally, something that probably warrants its own post,
the great Bra Fence in Cardrona; where else but New Zealand?

Sort of reminded me of the great shoe fence we saw south of
Dunedin five years ago (
2009/02/to-dunedin-otago.html); only more colorful

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rural Art Deco Of Ranfurley

For reasons of weather, or rather our interpretations of New Zealand weather forecasts (we have since learned to disregard them), we decided to head back inland, to Wanaka, near Mt. Aspiring and more of the mountains, a place we had much enjoyed in 2009. We had seen all the east coast from Dunedin south, all the way to Invercargill, and, though it is spectacular in places, we didn't need to see it again.

Our route took us through tiny Ranfurley, deep in livestock country (two veterinarians!), picturesque if a bit stark, and reminiscent of some of the hamlets and villages of central and eastern Montana I once knew. Bigger than Two Dot is Ranfurley, though not nearly as big as White Sulphur Springs. But Ranfurley has a claim to fame apart from its location and commerce: it is the center of New Zealand's rural art deco scene. Seriously. There are just the two art deco buildings in Ranfurley, the Milk Bar and the hotel, but they are the real deal, and the Milk Bar's collection is as amusing as it is impressive. They even have an annual rural art deco festival in Ranfurley. I'll just let the pix say what I mean.

YEPs Of Katiki Point

Yellow-eyed penguins. Lighthouse-keepers of yore nurtured a colony of the rare birds, and the Department of Conservation has taken over, providing a blind for visitors to use to view them. We did this sort of thing five years ago, on the south coast, watching the birds swim onto the shore, pause a bit to acclimate, and then head for their nests to feed their mates and young. Still a thrill to see them in the wild!
Seals blind needed

Hard night's day

It's early, only 5:30, but some are coming ashore...we're in


And thus

And thus

Moeraki Lighthouse...all in all, it was a pretty good day...
rock art, Oamaru, Moeraki Boulders, and YEPs...we drove
a bit further on, to Palmerston South, and spent the night
in a motel there