Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Zealand Road Trip - December 7, 2007 (4)

December 7

This was the day we departed from Dunedin. It took awhile to get all of Craig's loose ends tidied up. While he was doing that, Joe and I poked around the Otago Museum. It's old and musty. Nuff said.

This was also the day we finally recovered Joe's lost luggage. With luggage and kid in tow, we set off for points south, making a lightning start at the crack of noon, or thereabouts.

Along the way we made a few stops. The most interesting follow.

Purakaunui Falls Walk

Just like the sign says! We walked through some nice forest - not quite tropical, but it seems so to us, and came out at a nice little waterfall.

Purakaunui Falls.

The guy with the teeth is Traumador, Craig's alter ego. He accompanies us and you can see his adventures posted on another blog.

Sheep across from the parking lot. Now here is the thing about sheep in New Zealand. Sheep are all over the place! There are about 40 million of them. We decided early on that we would not try to get a picture of each one. We did learn that there are 19 varieties of sheep. We also learned that the number of sheep has been declining in New Zealand as the Kiwis are having success with the exportation of dairy and deer products. So cows and deer are replacing sheep.

Here is another sheep website.

Petrified Trees at Curio Bay

New Zealand is straddled on two tectonic plates and is largely composed of volcanic mountains and other formations resulting from the tectonic activity of the two plates. At Curio Bay there is a 160 million year old petrified forest that is the result of a lava flow essentially flooding the trees existing at the time. When you are there you can see the fallen tree trunks and the stumps that remained when the trees were snapped off. Aside from that, it's quite a beautiful, though rugged place. It was also very windy, which is why I'm holding my hat and wearing a fleece (the wind was cool). We found it was usually quite windy by the ocean where it was not protected.

The water, by the way, is actually that aquamarine blue, no enhancements needed. The ocean is a shade of that blue everywhere. The water (fresh water and ocean water), with few exceptions (usually estuaries) was always beautifully clear and clean looking.

Those bumps are the tree stumps.

Craig is indicating that the long formations are the tree trunks that were knocked over by the lava flow.

Nothing obvious in the pix - you had to be there, but it's still striking.

Florence Hill Lookout

This is a lookout near the southernmost tip of the South Island. Nice, eh?


We ended the day in Invercargill, the most southern major centre. This is the water tower taken at about 10 pm that night.

No comments: