Continuing our tour of New Zealand, as we left Queenstown and headed North, we drove through Alpine looking landscapes that were simply breathtaking. It’s unfortunate that my photos just don’t do it justice.
The brilliant colors and rich textures are unlike anywhere else I have been in the world.
These are some sort of wild flower that grows all over New Zealand.
Just driving down the street reveals nature’s artwork.
Our next stop was Franz Josef Glacier which was a major disappointment. The glacier has melted to the point where you can no longer see it from it’s original viewing platform. The local town is laughable. We stayed at the nicest hotel ($300 USD/night) and it was a shitshow!
Fortunately the scenery prior to and continuing north from Frans Josef make up for it. The following day we drove to Picton to ferry across the Cook Strait to Wellington, the capital city of Wellington on the North Island.
At least we were back in civilization spending the night at The Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington. The next day we headed North to Hawk’s Bay for New Year’s Eve.
I must comment on the friendliness of the locals and the abundance of my favorite, seafood. As an island country, fresh seafood is everywhere and we didn’t hesitate to partake. The Green Lipped Muscles are huge and amazing.
Dinner that evening was dockside with an amazing sunset view.
Eye candy everywhere!
The laid back lifestyle of NZ is particularly conducive to the consumption of alcohol, and there is no shortage of booze.
The landscape is markedly different on the North Island but is nevertheless still remarkably stunning.
I thought it was interesting that the South Island is dominated by sheep but we drove past several cattle farms on the North Island. I grew up in the Midwest where cows were everywhere but I have never seen herds of cows so laid back that they just laid around on the ground, chillin’.
Although it looks like a little chapel (and maybe it originally was), this is actually a wine tasting room.
The wine country of New Zealand looks very similar to the wine country of Northern California.
Even inland, there is water, water everywhere.
Imagine a world without water.
Our final day is in Auckland. It was too bad the weather didn’t cooperate. Grey skies don’t make the best photos.
Auckland is located right on the water and has many newly constructed buildings with water views. Several other buildings are under construction in this rapidly growing city.
We took a cruise to a resort island to tour one of the local wineries.
Auckland is a main port of call on New Zealand cruise itineraries.
This was the view from the winery on the island.
Our last day in New Zealand was representative of the entire trip. A little rain, a little wine, water everywhere and beauty around every corner. If you ever have an opportunity to visit New Zealand, jump at it.