Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu
View of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Years Adventure

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 
During our New Years break from the archives we went on a fun road trip. We started off by driving to Mt. Cook. The view is beautiful this time of the year, with the sun shining on the snow capped peaks. However..... Mother Nature was not helping out when we got there, all we could see were clouds.


Nice lodging facilities near Mt. Cook visitors center.
Our first view of Mt. Cook..... it's there somewhere!!

No problem..... we will drive to nearby Lake Tekapo, where we are staying overnight. The night skies at Lake Tekapo are incredible. The stars are so bright that they have an observatory nearby for star gazing. However..... Mother Nature was not helping out there either. In fact, Sister Edward got up several times during the night and went outside to see if the clouds had gone away..... no luck. We have learned one thing about New Zealand, though..... wait a little while and the weather will change. 

Thursday, December 31, 2016
When we got up the next morning, the clouds were mostly gone and we had blue skies. So we drove up to the observatory and snapped some panoramic photos of Lake Tekapo.

The view from our room looking out at Lake Tekapo.
Lake Tekapo from the beach near our room.
The observatory high above Lake Tekapo.
Looking down on the town of Tekapo where we stayed overnight.
A view towards the other end of Lake Tekapo.
Panoramic photo of Lake Tekapo. The blue lakes are amazing to gaze at.

After taking in the beautiful views of Lake Tekapo, we decided to backtrack over to Mt. Cook and see if it was visible.

MT. COOK (Encore) 

Much to our delight we discovered that Mt. Cook had come out of hiding and was nestled among some low hanging clouds. This view is across Lake Pukaki. The view was definitely worth the drive back.
The day before, after leaving the visitors center at Mt. Cook and approaching Lake Pukaki, we saw the most amazing sight. Usually a georgeous lake will surrender its beauty to the grey skies on a cloudy, overcast day.  Not Lake Pukaki. As we saw from a distance, the bottom of the clouds directly above the lake took on a turquoise hue from the beautiful, clear blue water below.
Happy that we got to see Mt. Cook after all, we continued on our journey. Our next destination was Christchurch.

So many beautiful scenes of nature as you drive though the New Zealand countryside.


We arrived in Christchurch on New Years Eve afternoon. We went to dinner with Elder and Sister Ward, our friends doing Records Preservation in the Christchurch Archives, and Elder & Sister Poulsen, another senior missionary couple from Utah serving in Christchurch. After dinner, the Wards took us on a quick tour of downtown Christchurch. We then spent New Years Eve at their flat, playing games and visiting. It was a very fun and relaxing visit. We appreciated their hospitality so much..... what wonderful people!! 

Friday, January 1, 2016
In September 2010, Christchurch experienced a 7.1 earthquake. Then in February 2011 another earthquake happened. This one was only 6.3 on the Richter scale, but the damage was so much worse than the previous year. 185 people were killed as many buildings collapsed. As part of their rebuilding program from the devastating earthquakes, Christchurch has upgraded their tram system around town.

Christchurch has the most amazing tram station.
The indoor main terminal is so nice to stroll through while awaiting the next tram.
View from the seat behind the tram operator. He provided colorful commentary as we rode along.
An all-day pass allows you to get on and off wherever you like. This time we boarded a tram with both indoor and outdoor seating. It is so nostalgic to ride down the streets of Christchurch in such a beautiful reminder of the way things once were back home.
Took advantage of a stop to jump off and snap a photo of Sister Edward stylin' on the tram.
The tram route took us past many unique buildings. Sadly, not all of them look this good.

As we rode along the tram route we were able to see the amazing things Christchurch is doing with their town. It is definitely a work in progress.

We had lunch in the Christchurch Museum. We then spent a few hours looking at all of the wonderful exhibits they had on display. Like the museum in Dunedin, Christchurch has a very unique experience awaiting.
Christchurch also has a canal system where you can go on a gondola boat ride.
As we rode the tram we were reminded that Christchurch is still a city healing from the devastation that occurred in February 2011. There is new construction and repairs to existing buildings going on everywhere.
Some residents are frustrated because they think that tourists come to their town just to see the aftermath of the earthquake. We felt it was more of a celebration with them of the human spirit.....  how they had come together to overcome their tragedies. What you see here is the "Container Mall"
Christchurch built a mall out of shipping containers to temporarily house the businesses that were displaced by the earthquakes..... and in doing so, getting them back into business as soon as possible.
All around town the sides of buildings are painted with murals. Sister Edward especially liked this one with penguins. I wonder why?
Many buildings are awaiting a decision on their fate. Until then they are reinforced to keep them from suffering further damage.
This building is a good example of how they keep the facade from collapsing.
Other buildings are beyond repair. They are awaiting their demolition.
Stacking shipping containers is another way they have to prevent buildings from collapsing. This facade is awaiting a decision on its fate. Because of historical factors, some buildings and facades have more importance than others.

Later in the afternoon, we took a ride up a gondola to a peak overlooking the valley and ocean. 

The top of the gondola, with Chrishchurch in the distance. The road you see leading up to the gondola also leads to a tunnel through the mountain to the port city of Lyttleton.
Looking off the backside of the mountain to the port city of Lyttleton.
Christchurch from a distance. You can see several cranes doting the skyline.

Saturday, January 2, 2016
We arose early Saturday morning and made our way to the KiwiRail train station where we caught the Trans Alp train to the west coast town of Greymouth. After about an hour layover, we returned to Christchurch. We especially enjoyed the scenic views without having to drive a car to see them.

The KiwiRail Trans Alp train has newer excursion cars that make looking at the beautiful scenery fun.
Many majestic views to enjoy as we traveled along the route.
The train features an outdoor car for photo taking without windows. After going through a few unannounced smoke-filled tunnels that idea was abandoned.
Even on a grey, cloudy day the water running in the riverbeds has a gorgeous blue hue.
When we got to Greymouth, everyone got off the train. The crew then took it to a nearby railyard where they repositioned the locomotives to the other end of the train for the journey back to Christchurch. Who is that person peeking around the station platform post.
Even though it was raining, we enjoyed the views these beautiful passenger cars provided.
On the return journey we discovered that nobody else was enjoying the lounge car.....  so we took up residency there.... really nice!!
One thing Elder Edward has learned during his many years of railroading is that everything you see is unique only to those who are on the train. The simplest views can be breathtaking if you consider that they are a gift from our Heavenly Father. We enjoy views like this, with their many different shades of green, as much as the beautiful lakes that dot this beautiful country.
On a clear day there would have been a blue sky in the background, but it would not change the inherent beauty of this mountain, with its tapestry of trees and bushes..... truly spectacular to enjoy.
Sunday, January 3, 2016

We got up Sunday and went to church with the Wards in Christchurch. After church, we drove to the harbor side town of Akaroa where we had overnight reservations. Even though it rained all day long, we made lemons out of lemonade. We had a wonderful drive and a nice walk with our raincoats on.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Like Lake Tekapo, when we got up Monday morning we had blue skies, and an opportunity to see a few things before our return trip back to Dunedin.


The harbor at Akaroa was beautiful. This barbeque pit looked like it was made out of old whaling vats.
Sister Edward playing hid and seek again. I always seem to find her.
Akaroa reminded us of a quaint old village.
We got a chance to stroll through the shops along main street. Sister Edward was thrilled to find some New Zealand themed material to bring home for future sewing projects.
Another interesting facade that added to Akaroa's charm.
Across the harbor on the left you can see a small, white lighthouse.
No shortage of wildlife to photograph.
We found our way to the lighthouse before we left.
Very relaxing morning!!
Elder Edward found a new friend on the mountain overlooking Akaroa.
Looks like a future sweater.
Our last view of the harbor leading to Akaroa from the Pacific Ocean.
Well, that's some of our holiday adventure photos. We stopped in Oamaru on the way home and went to dinner with Elder & Sister Osburn. It was fun to spend some time with them. It was also good to get back home and get prepared for Tuesday morning. The archive was open for business and we were back to taking photos!!

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