I have not been able to write much in the last four or so days due to the on-line access but we sure have done alot and traveled through alot of very different eco systems in this fantastic country. The last I wrote was from Rotorua (Steam vents everywhere!) where we traveled south to Lake Taupo. From there we drove east to the Hawkes Bay Region to a little Art Deco town called Napier. This is a very big region for the Vino so needless to say we had a couple of real fun days wine tasting and getting to know the area. From Napier we traveled (drove - I'm doing all the driving which is still quite a challenge on the left side of the road) south again to the capital of New Zealand - Wellington. This is a very busy city although not very big. We stayed at a popular downtown hotel called the Museum Hotel right across the main center of town. This is where we caught the Interisland ferry the next morning to the south island and the port town of Picton. From Picton we got a fresh rent-a-car (another Toyota Corolla) and drove to Nelson which is the largest town closest to the Able Tasman National Park. We spent a couple of days both hiking in the park and again checking out the local vinyards cellar doors. Gotta sample the goods prior to indulging... Able Tasman was abosolutely spectacular for hiking. We caught it on a very crystal blue day. After the approx 12 km hike into the Anchorage Bay - we payed to ride a water taxi back the the trail head. Well worth the 20 or so bucks.
After our stay in Nelson we headed south again but down the western coastline to a cool little resort called Punakaiki. This area is famos for the flat Pancake type rock formations on the coastline. A couple of small kine costal hikes at sunset time and again early in the morning before we got on the road. We have been doing alot of driving as this country is really pretty big even if it looks small on the map. Lots of two lane highway in twisting coastal and mountain roads. I have to say that the roads are in very good condition so it helps the driving.
From Punakaiki we drove south along the coastline to the Franz Joseph Glacier where we took a small hike to get as close to the ice as possible. Only guided hike to go on the glacier as it is very dangerous or rent a helicalopter....... Tomorrow morning we get up to a very nice breakfast at this cute B&B (Holly's Homestead) then off for another short hike up to the Fox Glacier which is about 30 km away on the way to or next stop in Queenstown. Please check out the few new photo albumns with oics of the places I just mentioned. I hope the pics give a good representation of where we stay and what we stay doing......... Enjoy.,,,,,,,, Vince