Sydney, Australia

New Zealand 2024 - Part 2

January 26, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Click here for Part 1.

We stay in Aoraki near Mt Cook in the Aoraki Court Motel. We had a late second lunch upon arrival, watching two avalanches coming down from the remaining snow on the mountain.

 

We do the Hermitage Big Sky Stargazing at 0:30 am with clear skies in the unique location beneath the mountains in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. The two guides explain by pointing with lasers into the sky. They also had two telescopes on tracking mounts. We learn that the closest star system in the night sky is called Alpha Centauri, and it is one of the pointers that help us find the Southern Cross. The light you see from it has taken nearly 4.5 years to reach the Earth! In addition to the Milky Way, there are two other galaxies to look for on nights in New Zealand, called the Magellanic Clouds. We went to bed at 2:30 am.

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In the morning (well, 10 am), we did the Hooker Valley Track but turned around after 1.5 hours (about half the way in). The swinging bridges were a bit scary, and no one obeyed the 20-person limit as the track was super crowded.

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We read at one spot, “The rumble and crash: Shhh! Listen of an ever-changing landscape: Can you hear the rocks and snow tumbling down from the mountains above? The rushing of water? It is the sound of change-of glaciers retreating and mountains being torn down by water and ice. A hundred years ago, the Mueller Glacier filled the valley floor. You could have walked onto the glacier from near here. Today the glacier is all but hidden up the valley. Glacial ice left behind is still visible at the far end of the lake. Piles of rock rubble (moraine) dropped by the glacier mark its past extent.” 

On Tuesday, 2 January, after Checkout, we met up at the Activity Retail Centre in the Hermitage lobby at 7:30 for the Glacier Explorer. Our guide tells us a bit about Aoraki: 300 people live in the village during the summer and only 100 in the winter, as there are almost no winter activities available. The area is government owned and all services are run by eight companies. The highest mountain is Mt Cook, which is 3724 metres high. It is also called the Cloud Piercer, as its peak is above the clouds for every two of three days. We are told that the Waitaki Hydroelectric Power System connects the three big lakes by man-made canals. Two lakes have a bluish colour from the glacier water. The contributing rivers have a milky, chalky colour from the rock ground up by the glaciers. However, the big particles sink to the bottom while the smaller ones stay at the surface. We learn that the last ice age was about 18,000 years ago, with the Tasman Glacier about 100 km long and 4 km wide. During the glacier’s movements, it “plugs” big rocks as glacier till and deposits these on the floor after melting as “abandoned glacier till”—sometimes up to 400 m deep. The valley receives up to 7 metres of rain per year, resulting in, among many other things, the Wakefield Waterfall, which is the highest waterfall in the park.

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After a short bus ride and a 20-minute walk, we embark on small zodiacs with outboard motors in groups of 12 people with a guide/skipper. We are told that the Tasman Glacier is currently 27 km long, the longest in NZ. Its black surface comes from all the water melting while the till stays at the top, forming now a 2-3 metre layer of rocks and gravel. The glacier was 100 meters high only 80 years ago at the terminal phase (and there was no “Tasman Lake) and now is only 30 metres high. It retreats 150 meters per year at the 1.5 km wide terminal phase. Interestingly, there are another 270 metres of ice below the water's surface, which sometimes results in big breakaways, creating an ice shelf reaching 200 metres under the surface. We stayed 600 metres away from the calving area.

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We also stopped at some floating icebergs to observe the bluish ice crystals from close up. I have the GoPro with me and record some short videos.

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After returning to the car, we started our drive to Wanaka, where we have an Airbnb in Albert Town. We stop by in Twizel at the High Country Salmon Farm. We have a Salmon Plank with various samples of their salmon dishes, from sushi to salmon pate.

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After arriving in Albert Town and unpacking, we drove the two kilometres into Wanaka, where Gisela went shopping while I sat at Lake Wanaka writing these lines. We have dinner at Bombay Palace’s second-floor balcony, allowing us an unobstructed view of the Lake. The food is delicious, and the service provided by the friendly staff is superior. I leave a nice review on Google.

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The next morning, Wednesday, we go for a hike at Diamond Lake Conservation Area. The climb is steep, but we are rewarded with an excellent view of Diamond Lake and Lake Wanaka. “Diamond Lake Conservation Area is part of a spectacular mass of rock shaped by glacial action. Native forests and shrubland nestled into bluff systems add an attractive component to the landscape. The lake is impressive with its dramatic backdrop of high schist cliffs. The summit of Rocky Mountain (775m) provides excellent views over Lake Wanaka and its two largest islands, Mou Waho and Mou Tapu. From this vantage point to the west rise the peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park with the distinct shape of Mt Aspiring/Tititea dominating the sky line.”

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In dense traffic, we stopped at Lake Hawea before returning to Airbnb. We go to the nearby Clutha River for a picnic in the evening. Across the river is a densely packed campground, but our side of the river is thankfully deserted.

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The next morning, we drove 100 km to Queenstown to our hotel, Villa Del Lago, with a view of Lake Wakatipu, just 2 minutes drive from Queenstown.

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After arriving, we walk 3.4 km to eat at Pedro’s By The Lake. I have a glass of El Coto (Rioja -VIURA Easy drinking dry white with a rounded texture and notes of pear.)

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We have a variety of different tapas. We watch people do fake skydiving.

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We then go to Queenstown into the Kiwi and Birdlife Park. We watch the Kiwi show: “Kiwi numbers have plummeted - from millions 200 years ago, to about 70,000 today. Many of the places they lived are now cities, towns or farms. Kiwis are killed by stoats, dogs, cats, ferrets, pigs and possums.” “Kiwi are Unusual, More Like a Mammal Than a Bird: Kiwi is New Zealand's most ancient bird and a biological oddity. Because New Zealand had only three native land mammals (tiny bats), kiwi evolved to fill a mammal's niche. Unique features of kiwi are feathers are shaggy, like coarse hair; bones are heavy and marrow-filled; they have a mammal's low body temperature;  live in burrows; chicks hatch fully feathered, but they take 3 - 5 years to attain adult size; only bird with nostrils at the tip of their bill.”

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At 4 pm, we watched the general animal show with a Tuatara, New Zealand's Living Fossil: “When it's cold, tuatara go into a form of hibernation called torpor. They retreat to their burrows, barely move and slow their breathing and heartbeat right down to save energy.” They can get 150 years old and do not belong to the family of reptiles, lizards, or crocodiles but form their own family. They have one individual Tuatara in another zoo, which is 130 years old. The tuatara has a third eye, a photoreceptor, on its forehead.

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They then showed us Australian Lorikeets that were introduced into NZ.

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The other introduced species is opossum of which there are 80 million in NZ now. They are trapped, and then their fur is mixed with Merino Wool for socks and other wool products. Later, we see socks in a local store. “Possum Merino: 33% NZ Possum Fur, 44% NZ Merino, 7% Silk, 16% Synthetic Cushioning. The sole and heel areas are cushioned with a plush zone for enhanced comfort and wear.“

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They also show us a Weka and Kereru at the show. Wekas are flightless birds with a great homing instinct. They can walk great distances and swim across rivers and streams, some have been known to swim distances of up to a kilometer to get home. Agricultural development and the introduction of mammalian predators were the reasons for a drop in the number of Weka in the late last century. But the biggest problem was between 1915 and 1925 when many vanished…many probably due to disease.”

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We also see a Kea in an enclosure and read: “Kea have the same problem-solving (and mess-making) ability as a 4-year-old child! We are given many toys and enrichments to play with so we don't get bored.” We read, “The young Kea learn by mimicking what their parents do and playing with each other. Once they are two or three years old and on their own, Kea spend a few years hanging around in Kea gangs. These are the Kea's 'teenage' years, and it is these gangs that are most often seen around places such as ski fields.” “Kea are cheeky and inquisitive, the clown of birds and the only alpine parrot in the world - definitely worth protecting!”

We tasted different kinds of honey and learned that bees make 22,700 trips to produce a jar of Manuka honey.

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We learn about the Haast’s Eagle, the now-extinct biggest bird ever that lived on Earth with a 3.5 m wingspan. “Believed to have gone extinct in 1400. The largest predator among New Zealand's animals, it is believed to have weighed up to 17.8kg with a 3 metre wingspan. Its feet & claws were as large as a modern-day tiger's. Moa were the eagle's main food source, but Maori tales suggest they attacked human children. The extinction of the moa led to the extinction of the eagle.”

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We learn about NZ birds and how they are protected: “New Zealand.. land of the flightless birds? 32 of the 60 species of flightless birds worldwide are from NZ - that number has now halved to just 16, due to extinction. New Zealand is spending millions of dollars to create a safe haven for our native species.”

On Friday, we start at 6 am with a tour to Milford Sound https://www.viator.com/tours/Queenstown/Doubtful-Sound-Wilderness-Cruise-from-Queenstown/d407-2264RJ301. Our tour guide, Cameron, picks us up from a hotel 20 min walk away from ours. Cam talks a lot; some of it seems odd, like that Albatrosses are extinct except in New Zealand, that Americans pay $100k to hunt deer on NZ farms, and that Fungi caused the development of humans because when monkeys ate magic mushrooms it opened up their minds and allowed them to discover things.

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We stop at Garston, a district that “was established in 1858, made up of two sheep stations - Glenquoich and Greenvale. Garston is renowned for being the most inland village in New Zealand and is nestled in the Upper Mataura Valley in the Southern Lakes district. It was named after a suburb of Liverpool in England. The valley in which Garston lies is flanked by the Eyre Mountains (1968 metres) to the west and the Slate Range (942 m) and Hector Mountains (1675 m) to the east.”

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We stop at Lake Te Anau, the second largest lake in NZ. “While we may not see them, the dark waters conceal a wealth of underwater life, including both introduced and native fish. The natives: New Zealand's long-finned eel/tuna is one of the largest freshwater eels in the world, growing up to 2 metres long. Adult eels breed only once, at the end of their long lives, travelling thousands of kilometres from New Zealand to spawn deep in the Pacific Ocean. Young eels make the return journey. How they find their way upriver to this remote place is a wonder. Koaro are among the native fish whose juveniles are collectively called whitebait. Unlike some of its relatives, the koaro can spend its whole life in freshwater and is well suited to rivers like the Eglinton/Upokororo. Newcomers: Trout are also likely to live in Mirror Lakes, although they tend to prefer faster-flowing waters. Brown trout were introduced to Fiordland in 1867 as an angling fish; rainbow trout followed in the 1880s.“

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We also stop for breakfast and get packed lunch. We see the white flowering Manuka trees which make the Manuka honey, well, with the help from the bees. We learn that Beech trees are “climbing” up the mountains with their roots. As they are all vertically interconnected, tree avalanches rip out trees on a stripe of mountain denuding it from vegetation. It takes 150 to 400 years until it is covered again.

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We arrive at Fiordland National Park, the biggest national park in NZ, and one of the largest in the world. We stop at Mirror Lakes and at Falls Creek, a beautiful stream and waterfall. At one stop, we see Keas and take pictures of them eating and flying. 

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Shortly before arriving, “the road climbs through a cascade-tastic valley to the Homer Tunnel, 101km from Te Anau and framed by a high-walled, ice-carved amphitheatre. Begun as a relief project in the 1930s and completed in 1953, the tunnel is one way (traffic lights direct vehicle flow - patience required). … Dark, rough-hewn and dripping with water, the 1270m-long tunnel”.

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When we come out of the tunnel, we see the “Wall of 1000 Waterfalls“. When we arrive at the Milford Sound, we embark our ship, the Milford Cruises. The captain, Roger who was born in Stuttgart, explains that the top layer of the water is freshwater with tannins (brownish) and the lower sections consist of saltwater. When there is no rain for 3 weeks, the Fjord water turns blue. We see a pod of Dolphins and some Fur Seals.

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We learn that the Fjord was formed by glaciers. It is 300 m deep, but at the entrance to ocean it is only 60 m deep. I chat with Roger, the captain, who has been doing this job for 30 years—one week working and one week off.  We then start our 4-hour drive back. “Milford Sound receives an estimated one million annual visitors which is an almighty challenge to keep its beauty pristine. But out on the water, all human activity - cruise ships, divers, kayakers - seems dwarfed into insignificance.”

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We encounter dolphins.

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On Saturday, we do a wine tour with Altitude Premium Small Group Travel. “Throughout the day, you can enjoy tasting over 18 spectacular cool-climate wines, with the option of a scrumptious lunch. You will be well looked after and hosted by an Altitude wine guide and cellar staff, and educated and entertained with local winemaking facts and stories. Your Wine Tasting Journey Begins: Start your day being met by your wine-certified guide at or near your Queenstown accommodation. From there, we’ll travel a short distance to the Gibbston wine region, home to top-rated wineries, award-winning winemakers, and, of course, delicious Pinot Noir. Gibbston Valley Winery: Our first location is the iconic Gibbston Valley Winery. Gibbston Valley is one of the region’s founding wineries and it’s here that we will join a guided tour through New Zealand’s largest underground wine cave and enjoy tastings of some of their world-famous wines."

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"Kinross: Kinross is a fantastic location to try a range of different wines from multiple winemakers. Along with producing their own, they will also showcase wines from smaller producers and share their incredible stories. After your wine tasting, we allow extra time to enjoy lunch. Kinross has a range of delicious dishes on its menu, including pizzas, platters, smaller bites, and mains. This is ordered and paid directly on the day, giving you the flexibility to order what you would like based on your taste and budget."

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"The Church Cellar Door: We finish our tasting tour at The Church Tasting Room. This is a picturesque location, in a small refurbished church sitting on large sweeping grounds. This is the tasting room for Mt Edward Wines, who are a family-run producer in Gibbston growing small batches from single vineyard sites. Their wines include Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay, and Chenin.”

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Later, we have dinner at finz Seafood & Grill Restaurant. Gisela had half a crayfish, and I had pan-seared scallops and a whole sole.

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As the sunset is only at 21:35 pm at the 43 degree latitude in Queenstown, we walk back to the hotel when there was still light outside.
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After checking out, we have breakfast at The Boatshed and a stroll through the nearby Marina. We returned the rental car (initially, there was no empty parking spot at Sixt) and then checked in (20 min for baggage drop and 30 min for security).

More pictures here


New Zealand 2023 - Part 1

January 26, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

After some chaos at the check-in, we make it to Christchurch almost on time. The flight was extremely bumpy—to the degree that we could not read anymore, and the crew stopped serving food. Strangely, there were clouds outside at the cruising altitude of our plane, which I had never seen.

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In Christchurch, we see a passenger being asked to put on a jacket and walk with it through security at the airport. The biosecurity dog then finds an apple in her jacket pocket. The dog gets a treat. We picked up our car at the airport and drove to the Wyndham Garden Christchurch Kilmore Street. We do a small excursion in the city, admiring the large murals, the historic tram, the Weeping Willows of Christchurch, and the artsy elephants, and we have dinner at a wine bar.

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On the 28th, we drive to the Akaroa Marine Reserve with our rental car—a 1.5-hour drive from Christchurch “Shore Excursion Guided Sea Kayaking through Akaroa Marine Reserve”. After arriving in Akaroa, we look around in the little town and then meet with our guide, who operates out of a van with a trailer full of "safe stable NZ-made sea kayak(s)”. 

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We have “a spectacular tour through an untouched marine reserve which now exists in a flooded volcanic crater from millions of years ago. The geology and scenery will blow your mind during this intimate sea-kayaking safari. Paddle along through the clear turqouise waters of the pacific, you get the feeling you are in a postcard! Your guide will keep watch for sightings of native New Zealand marine and bird life” We do not see the famous Hector Dolphins, white-flippered penguins and the NZ fur seals, but a lot of kelp and mussels. It was nice that there were only 8 people in our group. John, our guide, originally from Vancouver Island, tells us about the geology of the waterway we are kayaking: The 9 million-year-old volcano is 50 m deep in some places. He also shares marine biology facts about the importance of kelp and that a single mussel filters 50 litres of water per day. The Dolphins are hunting with echo and therefore don’t mind the cloudy water, while the sharks don’t come in as they need clear water to see their prey. We find giant big black mussels, twice the size as what we buy at the fish market. We also venture into a 10-metre-long cave accessible only from the water with our kayaks.

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After two hours of paddling 3.6 NM, we have lunch at Bully Hayes, eating Battered Chatham Cod and a Chowder.

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The town was first a French settlement which is still reflected in the French culture and cuisine. Later, the British arrived and took over the administration, allowing the French settlers to stay. We also see remnants of the long whaling history that has shaped the early stages of the settlement.

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We take the scenic route, called the tourist route, back to Christchurch, from which we can see the entrance to the bay. The fields are full of sheep and cows (and we saw rabbits). We also note a lot of patches of Scandinavian pines which grow faster here than in Scandinavian countries, but they mess up the environment as their needles create acidity which kills runoff the marine life.

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Next to the roads, we see a lot of Fingerhut and Lupinen—the latter also a pest in NZ. On our way back, we stop at Little River where we walk around at the Silo Stay (https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/HotelHighlight-s1-g1600810-d6353495-Reviews-SiloStay-Little_River_Canterbury_Region_South_Island.html) which I think would be ideal for international students in Sydney. We also look at galleries but cannot go into them as they all close at 5 pm. 

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On Friday (29th), we visit the Antarctica New Zealand Centre in the morning ($69 per person). Christchurch is one of the main gateways to Antartica. From the early 1900s, British expeditions used the port of Lyttelton on their way to Antartica. In 1995, Christchurch became the base for the US Antartica Program known as Operation Deep Freeze. “New Zealand is a key international player in Antarctica. Scott Base was built in 1957 but Christchurch's Antarctic heritage dates back more than 100 years. Scott Base is Antarctica New Zealand's research station and the hub for science activities in Antarctica year-round. Up to 86 people can sleep at Scott Base at any one time but more than 350 people visit each year. Antarctica New Zealand is the government agency which supports science and peace within the Ross Sea region of Antarctica.“

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We learn about the legacy of adventure “A century ago Antarctica was in the grip of the 'heroic-age' of exploration. The early expeditions typified leadership, courage, passion, sacrifice and sometimes tragedy. Led by explorers including Ernest Shackleton, Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Ronald Amundsen, their legends were writ large in the Antarctic continent. From their simple wooden bases, they set out to explore the continent. A century on the expedition huts still stand, crammed full of supplies and equipment. They have been described as the most evocative heritage buildings in the world. The Antarctic Heritage Trust cares for this extraordinary legacy on behalf of the international community to benefit both current and future generations.” We go shortly into a -8C climate chamber and watch (from the outside) a -18C windshield storm.

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We then watched the feeding of the Blue Penguins, which are only 30cm high and weigh 1 kg.  “The breeding season starts around August and September. The female Little Blue penguin lays two white eggs, which will take about 20 days to form inside her. Males and females share incubation equally in 1-12 day shifts. While one of the couple stays with the egg, the other parent is at sea. The changeover of nest duties between the adults occurs at night when the parent at sea returns to the nest. The incubation of the Little Blue penguin chick lasts on average 37 days.”

HEI_3428HEI_3428 We watch a 4D movie about the Antarctic station with moving chairs and water spray getting onto our faces during the voyage over the ocean. We also learn that at its deepest, the Antarctic ice is 4.5 km thick.  At the end, we watch a guide showing his 5 Huskies who can wrap their long, bushy tails around their faces for extra warmth while they sleep. 

Later in the afternoon, we went to the Christchurch Bonatic Garden, passing on our way by a building of Canterbury College where Ernest Lord Rutherford , father of nuclear physics, studied.

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On Saturday, (30th) at 6:45 am, we walked to the bus interchange for a 20-minute drive to the railway station, passing our hotel (no pickup from our hotel available). We board the train with assigned seats. The departure time is between 8 and 8:30 (not exactly determined). 

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The train commentary tells us that there are 360,000 residents in Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island. Located in the Canterbury region which stretches to the Southern Alps—mostly processing agricultural products. The Arthur Pass is 900 metres high.

Passing through the plains, we see a lot of agricultural supply shops where one can buy tractors and plows. The landscape is “on the move,” geologically speaking. Some plains are 400 metres higher than others, shaped by earthquakes, erosion and volcanoes. Some birds, which lived here before their extinction by humans 700 years ago, stood 3.5 metres high. Now, dairy farming is the big business here. We see the biggest milk processing plant for milk powder, which can process 600 million litres of milk per day.

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Sheep farming in the Highlands is still done by Stochmen on horses with dogs. Mostly, Merino sheep are raised here in harsh conditions at high altitudes. Some of the meandering rivers run underground. The olive-green alpine parrots, the Kea, can sometimes be seen at the station. The 40 cm bird is among the most intelligent animals on earth, able to solve sequential tasks.

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The Arthur’s Pass National Park is a 90.000 hectares alpine park founded in 1920. The Forrest is made up of Mountain and Silver Beech, which can live up to 400 years. 

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We do a 45 min walk to the Devil’s Punchbowl with 450 steps on the way. The driver tells us that the Keas will come to parking cars to eat the windshield wipers and other rubber as the rubber includes Zink which tastes sweet on their palates. We see a lot of lichens and moss in this temperate rainforest. 

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Afterwards, we have lunch in the village: beef pie and quesadillas. During the lunch break, the driver tells me that the train killed 10-15 sheep which were grazing on the tracks while we were going towards Arthur’s Pass. We also manage to take some pictures of the Keas which try to steal food from the tourists.

We stop at Lake Pearson in the afternoon. Another stop is at Stockhill where the Disney movie Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was in part filmed (Battle scene).

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We learn more about the underground rivers: “Beneath your feet, a mountain-fed stream runs underground. Take time out from your journey to see why this spectacular limestone landscape has inspired generations of other travellers.”

On our way back we stopped for 50-minutes at Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area “The majestic limestone formations of Kura Tawhiti are of outstanding cultural and ecological importance. This area has special significance to Ngãi Tahu, with ties that stretch unbroken from distant ancestors to present generations  (authority) over the lands and waterways of this area is still held by Ngãi Tuahuriri, who are the descendants of Ngãi Tahu ancestor Tuahuriri. Kura Tawhiti has Topuni status (a symbolic cloak of protection), which is a legal recognition of the site's importance to Ngãi Tahu.” The basalt rocks are amazing in size and arrangement—as placed there on purpose.

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We read about extinguishing species: “The first iwi (tribes) to hunt moa in this area also had to contend with the threat from pouakai (Haast's eagle) - the largest eagle known to have existed. Fully grown pouakai weighed up to 15 kg with a wingspan of up to 3m and had talons that could pierce the skin of a moa and sever its spinal column. When moa numbers began to decline, pouäkai also targeted humans as prey, attacking and killing both children and adults. To escape this threat, iwi learned how to snare pouäkai and kill it.“

On our way back, we hear again about the importance of dairy farming for the region and seed and grain production for NZ. Farmers grow hedges to break the wind as the plains lack surface features.

In the morning, we leave for Mt Cook—a 4-hour drive of 330 km. We stopped at a few sightseeing spots, like Geraldine (skipping Fairlie) and then Lake Tekapo.  We had lunch at Lake Pukaki, which was very windy. The terrain is officially protected as an International Dark Sky Reserve—the world's largest Gold Status International Dark Sky Reserve. “At 4367 sq km, the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve lies in the heart of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.”

We stop at Lake Tekapo and have lunch while the wind blows like crazy.

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Continue to Part 2.


Pyrmont Peninsula

August 15, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

After moving to Pyrmont in March 2021 while being severely travel restricted due to COVID-19, here is an account of our new neighbourhood. We live in Jacksons Landing which constitutes the northern tip of the Pyrmont Peninsula. Jacksons Landing is a community of 2,500 residents in more than 1,000 apartments, terraces and townhouses on the site of the old Colonial Sugar Refinery (CSR) industrial complex. The redevelopment of the CSR site of over 11 hectares commenced by lendlease in the early 1990s, and the first residents moved in during 2000. 

The modern landscape, society and economy of Pyrmont were shaped mainly by two industry groups: sandstone quarrying and the Colonial Sugar Refinery complex. It was a long tradition for sugar plantations to distil rum and other by-products of sugar. Eventually (from the 1930s) Caneite and other building materials were processed, using bagasse, the cane from which sucrose had been extracted. For a hundred years the CSR Company processed sugar here, distilled rum and industrial alcohol, and transformed sugar cane refuse into building material. CSR was founded in 1855 by a Danish gentleman named Sir Edward Knox and commenced operations in 1877. CSR was not only a sugar refinery, it was also a distillery which at one stage supplied half of Australia’s industrial alcohol needs. It also supplied a third of Australia’s rum. As Australia’s second-largest industrial complex (behind BHP) CSR even had the resources, the engineers and the skills to produce fuel, and weapons, during the Second World War. More about Jacksons Landing here and about its First People.

Part of the Evolve Building, part of Jacksons Landing, with ANZAC bridge:

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Distillery Hill building, part of Jacksons Landing:
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Antias' architecture by Architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer "reflects its industrial heritage through the use of industrial forms and materials such as rust weathered steel cladding. Such cladding is a direct response to the site: it echoes the site’s industrial aesthetic, associates the building to the Eastern Knoll sandstone cutting by use of tone and colour, and expresses the steel sheets at a scale compatible with the Anzac Bridge." (source).

DJI_0014DJI_0014 L_GI0955L_GI0955 IMG_1505IMG_1505 The building is named after a street name of a street that doesn't exist anymore. The building is overlooking the ANZAC Bridge--sunsets and thunderstorms can be observed.

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Aerial Shots of Antias and ANZAC Bridge

The ANZAC Bridge, crossing the Johnstons Bay, is an eight-lane cable-stayed bridge that carries the Western Distributor (A4) across Johnstons Bay between Pyrmont and Glebe Island.

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Here illuminated for ANZAC Day in 2021. 

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We often enjoy the Pyrmont Waterfront Park with its two iconic spheres--old digesters used to produce hardboard. In 1936, CSR expanded its operations to produce caneite and particle board which are both building materials. The wood chips were expanded using high-pressure steam, releasing the natural lignins in the wood that turned them into fibre that was pressed into boards for use as a building material. 

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Quarrying was carried out on a modest scale by the 1830s, when sailing ships could take on ballast at the tip of the peninsula, anchored in deep water and loading local stone. "Master masons such as the McCredie brothers branched into building: Charles Saunders levelled Glebe Island and Darling Island, then supplied stone for Sydney’s new University, its Railway Station and its new government offices. Eventually, Pyrmont sandstone was celebrated in Italianate wool stores and the Queen Victoria Building." (source

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Often, the sandstone is exposed and integrated into the modern architecture or Jacksons Landing.

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Sydney Harbour is a working deep-water harbour with commercial ships often mooring at Glebe Island and many marinas along the Blackwattle Bay.  HEI_7600-2HEI_7600-2 HEI_7284HEI_7284https://www.superyachtfan.com/yacht/moatize/ HEI_7255HEI_7255

Fisher boats deliver fresh fish to the Sydney Fishmarket, the second biggest fish market in the world after Tokyo. 

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Expensive day-charter boats are moored in Jones Bay Wharf at its Marina. The Jones Bay Wharf is a unique example of early 20th-century waterfront technology and represents an integral part of Australia's maritime history. Its survival serves as a key reminder of Australia's development as a trading nation and its association with important events such as World War II and the immigration boom. the combination of reinforced concrete, steel and hardwood made it a highly innovative structure for its time. The quick and efficient loading of cargo at the wharf was made possible by its rail connection, overhead lighting and modern handling facilities including several internal lifts and a mobile gantry. In the 1940s, Jones Bay Wharf was adapted to serve as a modern passenger terminal to accommodate a post-World War II immigration boom. Modifications enabled the boarding and disembarking of passengers on the upper level, while their luggage was handled on the ground level. The wharf operated as a passenger terminal until the 1960s when a new passenger terminal was constructed at Circular Quay. 

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View of The Crown and the Sydney Harbour Bridge with the Darling Harbour waters used for recreational stand-up paddle boarding. 

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Everyone enjoys the spectacular view:

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During a walk along the foreshore through Pirrama Park and the Pyrmont Waterfront Park, one can see the remnants of the old timber and bollards as well as modern art installations, such as Tide to Tide which is a kinetic sculpture that translates the eternal return of the tides as well as the more unpredictable wave wash and wind chop of Sydney Harbour into movement.

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Fish cleaning station for amateur fishers:

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Timelapse video of Johnston Bay with ANZAC Bridge during a storm in October 2021:

More pictures here.

 

This is a photographic diary of our adventures in Australia with emphasis on Sydney and its surroundings.
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