Farewell to Kiwiland 

I write this now in my last day in New Zealand, which is sad considering the wonderful times I have had here but also exciting for the adventures that are sure to lie ahead. I am flying to Melbourne tonight for a two and a half week trip to Sydney Carins and Brisbane as well. After that I am going to Bali and Lombok in Indonesia then Singapore, Phuket, Siem Reap, Chiang Mai, Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Bangkok before flying to Cape Town, so I have a lot of awesome times sure to come in the coming months that I will be sure to keep you updated on. Here are some photos from my last days in New Zealand. Enjoy!

Reflective pools on the road to milford sound
Lake Marian with clouds obscuring the snow covered peaks around but every few minutes you were reminded of their presence by a rumbling avalanche from the prior nights snowfall
Playing around with raindrop photography on the lake
The violent and powerful falls of the chasm
The 160 meter tall Stirling falls in the milford sound that I got to kayak under. It was very cool to be so overwhelmed by the power and size of the falls only to kayak away and realize how small it is compared to the massive sheer rock faces jutting out of the sea
Clouds obscuring the peaks but luckily holding their rain. Milford sound gets 8 meters of rainfall a year which is just astounding.
Stumbled upon a Guy Fawkes day celebration with all of the staff of the tour companies of the sound and saw some impressive fireworks and met some very interesting people around a roaring bonfire
The typically cloudy sound again the next morning
Tunnel driving back up from the sound
Some nice late day light action on the boat out to see the te anau glow worms
A cave waterfall in the glow worm cave. The worms are really cool creatures only found in nz that glow in their larval stage. They are highly cannibalistic and build sticky dangling nets with a paralytic venom infused silk. They are also different colors to different people. I saw them as being blue and they were really cool to check out
Rewarding hiking above the treeline after a long ascent up on the Kepler Track
Views weren’t shabby
Alpine Mosses and shrubs come in a wide array of hues

View from the summit of Mount Lux more, the highest peak in the Kepler range

The track traversed Ridgelines for most of the second half of the time above the treeline
The occasional marker kept you on a path that was hard to not follow as it went down steeply in both directions. The first day on the track I walked 32 kms with about 1500 m of climb and 1250 m of descent, so my legs were pretty dead but I had 35 kms on deck for the coming day.
Lots of green action
Even the bridges were green
Boardwalks across the fragile mossy wetlands
A rainbow welcoming me back to the carpark after a long day but it felt very nice to cover 67kms in 2 days although I don’t think my legs would have agreed in the moment.
1000 year old totara trees
Some cool rocks

A giant shimmering paua shell. The paua is a type of coastal invertebrate that is known for its shining blue shell

The wing of a parakeet at the invercargill aviary
A parakeet that looks like it was tie-dyed
After probably 10 minutes of trying to get a good picture of this guy I got one that really captured the beauty of its eyes
Went to the southernmost point in NZ which is as south as I will get in my trip as far as I know
The beautiful curio bay
The multitiered McLean falls from below
And from above

I probably spend a good half hour just chilling on top of this waterfall and it was magical

Me and the fall
The cathedral caves which are two sea caves that met at the back so they make a v shape with the two points in the two shadows in this photo
The view out of the right opening in the above picture.
The view in the same side
I got some serious facetime with a little blue penguin deep in one of the secret caves of cathedral caves beach. This photo was taken with no zoom and I was probably 3 feet away from this guy and he just stayed there it was really cool
Some cool reflections further down the beach
Waves going all types of ways for some reason

A tasty dinner of rice beans and avocado with the view a couple of steps from the campsite
Jack’s blowhole is a sea cave that collapsed in through all of this depth somehow but it’s mighty pretty.
A yawning sea lions protests as my presence forces him to rise from his slumber
The islands of nugget point bustling with bird and seal life
The steepest residential street in the world in Dunedin, which I drove up and down despite the protestations of my car
The beautiful rock formations at tunnel beach
Some more cool rocks
Me and Louie from Tahiti and Mathilde from France who I went to the beach with
Me and the coastline 
Birds n’ bluffs
Birdwatching at the only permanent settlement of the royal albatross in the world. This is no royal albatross as I didn’t get a good picture of one but a couple did close flybys and they are so massive it’s hard to really describe.
Some more cool coastline
A common sheep’s greeting
Hiking up to the meuller hut in the Mt Cook National Park with inadequate footwear
One of the steepest ascents of the hike was on snow which was a good test of my sneakers
Once over the ridge you were brought face to face with some Glaciers and mountains hiding in the clouds
The fierce sunrise the morning after a night full of pounding rain, lightning, booming thunder and rumbling avalanches
Glacier and ridge views on the walk back down
A big Rock slide from the rain the night before
Regrouping and taking in the view before half sliding half walking down the slope
The Alpine parrot called the Kea took some interest in me as I walked down
Glacial lakes and big ol peaks. Mt cook, the tallest mountain in NZ is just above the clouds above the far lake
Descending the stairs that had been so grueling on the way up
The stunning glacial lake formed from the outflow of the Tasman glacier to the left in the photo, which is the longest glacier in NZ
Shades of blue
Menacing clouds over the much larger lake pukaki
Some wildflowers by Lake Tekapo
Jade green hills and crystalline waters near Akaroa on the Banks penninsula just south of Christchurch
The hills come with golden peaks too courtesy of the invasive (and very prickly) grouse plant
I have started a biscuit company in my time here and it has come to be pretty successful

I have had an amazing time in NZ, seeing and doing so much that I didn’t even think possible, and as I am sitting in the airport waiting for my flight I am sad to be leaving all of that behind but the road ahead of me is also quite bright, so I guess you would call it bittersweet. Until next time New Zealand


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