New Zealand, the South Island. Travel to that Gem Down Under....
South Island interesting pictures
Part 2 South Island
New Zealand has two distinct Islands with different flavors. They are divided by a stretch of water, the Cook Strait and joined by a high speed ferry, landing at Picton. Though much larger than the North Island, its population is a fraction of the North Island's. South Islanders often jokingly call themselves the Mainland!
The South Island shares the same ability to grow and prepare first class wines. The Northern tip is favored with a mild climate perfect for fruit growing, especially grapes. The Marlborough area is world famous. Many wine tasting cellar doors offer the traveller a chance to taste the Vintage. Fruit is sold straight off the farms by the road side.
As you drive south towards Dunedin there is so much to see. The coast line on the east side of the island has mile upon mile of unspoilt coast line with magnificent beaches full of wild life. You pass Kaikoura, home of Whale Watching. The town also sports many good sea food restaurants. On the North West tip is the much favored town of Nelson. Sporting activities like kite surfing. Cycling, swimming and sun bathing abound here. It has a mild and sunny year round climate and is an ideal place for retirement.
Carry on for while and you reach Christchurch on the Canterbury plains. This city was designed in England, unfortunately by someone who was not familiar with the southern hemisphere. Instead of houses built to take advantage of the natural sun facing North into the southern sun, they were designed to face south as they are in the northern hemisphere. The position of the sun takes a while to get used to if you are not from the southern hemisphere. Christchurch is a university city with all that goes with it, boat races on the River Avon, coffee bars and a lively atmosphere. There are lots of shops aimed at wealthy Japanese tourists selling cashmere, merino and Alpaca garments of superb quality. It is also home of the Britten Motor Cycle designed and raced by the late John Britten who sadly passed on at the untimely age of 45. The cataclysmic earthquake has destroyed so many of its old buildings and is still shaking. Many areas will never be rebuilt.
Back on the road you pass over the Canterbury plains for many miles until the rising land of Otago start to greet you. At Timaru you may branch west to seek out the southern Alps with its superb ski fields. Queenstown and its accompanying Lake Tekapo is not to be missed. Air Safari is based here with wonderful air trips to explore the Southern Alps and the amazing Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Follow the grand Traverse to the Western slopes of the Southern Alps. A trip not to be missed. Every passenger is ensured a window seat for greatest enjoyment.
On the Western coast, there are deep fjords and wonderful walking paths. The Milford Track being one of the most famous so much so that early booking is advised . Further up the West coast is the town of Greymouth famous for logging. It is near the steep and spectacular Arthur's pass. The area was chosen for his final home by Jacque Cousteau, his Oceanographer son still lives there.
Going back to the east coast continue on to the Moeraki boulders. This is an amazing collection of perfectly round big boulders which gives the impression that a giant has just abandoned a game of Marbles. To be seen to be believed!
On to Dunedin, a town purported to be more Scottish than Scotland. It boasts the famous University of Otago. It has a beautiful Botanic Garden. On the Otago peninsular, at Taiaroa Head the homes of the giant Albatross and the yellow eyed penguins may be found. The beach boasts a hot water area where you can dig your own hot pool. The shopping is second to none. Dunedin also boasts New Zealands's only Castle, Larnarch's Castle. You may catch the train back up to Picton from the architecturally splendid Railway station.
Further South is the city of Invercargill and on to Stewart Island and next stop Antarctica. There is so much to see and do in the beautiful South Island. This just a taste of these southern delights.