Kiwi Jack: Chapter Two

You guys got probably a lot more text than you had bargained for last night, so I’m going to keep it relatively short today and just show you a bunch of pictures.

After my “relative” disappointment in scenery for the first 90 minutes or so outside of Christchurch yesterday, we moved into the foothills of the Southern Alps and stayed at a “Holiday Park” on the banks of Lake Tekapo last night. Basically a stones throw away from the shore, we of course awoke to some amazing scenery, even though the cloud cover continued over much of the country today.

We then moved on to the most photographed church in New Zealand…if you have been paying attention to my Facebook page for the last few months, you’ll have seen another shot of this church under some amazing stars. That shot came courtesy of Fraser Gunn, a professional photographer at whose mountain-top cafe we visited this afternoon (see mountain top shot further down).

As an aspiring (read: wannabe) professional photographer, I had a lot of fun playing with the interesting but awesome quality of light created by these low-hanging clouds. Here’s a statue to the sheep dog who, you might imagine, is a very important figure in a country with 80 million sheep (roughly a 20:1 sheep to human ratio).

Here’s the promised shot from Fraser’s cafe. You can see a quick pocket of visibility to some of the snow-covered mountains to the east.

Lake Pukaki and more fun with quality of light vs. clouds vs. crystal clear water.

In the early afternoon before beginning some…erm…MODERATE wine tasting from some of the best Central Otago has to offer, we saw a great break in the clouds and caught this shot of the Southern Alps from the car. Though I have yet to traverse the world, I’ve been to a lot of places, and the only spot that is even close to this is the Grand Tetons, just north of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Today’s final shot is my personal favorite from this trip so far, though my wannabe photography doesn’t even come close to matching the amazing beauty of Lake Dunstain, 60 klicks east of Queenstown. Very few places in the world (and virtually none on the east or west coasts) feature lakes where you can still see perfect reflections of the wild around them. Check out this spot, and tell me you don’t want to come and see it for yourself.

Queenstown tonight, tomorrow and possibly Monday after the cancellation of our white water rafting trip due to the lower than expected temperatures (down to close to freezing tonight in Queenstown). Though if you know me, you know I’m loving every minute of it.

Tomorrow’s a rest day featuring the New Zealand Wine Center, where you can taste over 80 different varieties of Kiwi wines. Self-back-pat for booking our hotel just 5 blocks away from this mecca of the vine. If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, you know why.

10:12pm, August 4
Queenstown, New Zealand