A Kiwi Christmas Adventure

I made the decision to spend Christmas in New Zealand when an invite from good friends coincided with October’s compulsive quilting experience. Random, you say? Not entirely. They were feeling generous and I was feeling impulsive – nothing surprising on either count. So I went!

The trip was beautiful (is NZ ever not?). It was also simultaneously restful and full. Bruce and Lee planned a scenic drive through some of the south island’s most unique and important natural attractions, balancing adventures with down time while still figuring in Christmas for all five of us. (They have two young boys – 6 & 4 years old.) We experienced fresh-water ocean, electric-blue lakes, and glacial rivers; snow-capped mountains and sheep-filled grasslands; glacial fjords dense with rainforest and limestone caves glimmering with phosphorescent light; coral reef, fur seals, kea birds, distant avalanches, and last but not least, a virtual trip to the South Pole via the Antarctic Center in Christchurch.

In between these various adventures, we spent a lot of time sleeping, coloring, drinking tea, playing Rummikub or Uno, sharing random YouTube videos, squirreling around on playgrounds or in the yard, wrestling with the boys, and generally enjoying good company.

I got back to South Africa last Saturday, just in time for jet lag to kick my butt before New Year’s. And kick, it DID. No, I did not make it to midnight. And, while I strategically invited friends over for brunch on New Year’s Day, I was unfortunately lured into a “nap” after they left. I went to sleep at about 3pm thinking “just 45 minutes” … next thing I knew it was 1:00 in the morning! It’s alright though. I think I’m almost recovered – which is good, since school starts Monday.

Anyway … on to the pictures!
And a big THANK YOU to Bruce, Lee, Liam & Julian for a beautiful Christmas.

Fur seals sunbathing. Though there was a fair bit of drizzle that day too.
I don’t think they minded.
The river running down that hill is following the path of a fault line.
Milford Sound
Kea birds are almost as pesky as monkeys!
Mount Cook peeking over a ridge line. Apparently it’s rare for it to be cloud-free.
Hooker Valley lake and glacier at the base of Mt. Cook.
I love the cloud formation – looks like a flowing veil.
Foxglove. Not to be confused with Lupine. I now know the difference.
More Mt. Cook.
Lupine (mostly). Not to be confused with Foxglove.

7 thoughts on “A Kiwi Christmas Adventure

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  1. I’m glad you had a fun adventure and great time with friends.
    A couple of questions…what are the animals on the rock and what is the name of the area of the fresh-water ocean?

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    1. Ah! I’ll go back and put captions on those pics. The rock has some lazy fur seals sunning themselves. As for the “fresh-water ocean” – it’s all through the fjordlands. We were in Milford Sound in particular. To say it’s freshwater ocean is slightly poetic … the truth is, that side of the island gets so much rain per year (on the order of 21-27 FEET), that it changes the top layer of ocean in those bays and sounds formed by the fjords. That freshwater top layer changes the way in which sunlight penetrates the ocean, allowing deepwater ocean species to survive closer to the surface. Hence the unique coral reefs that we got to view. 🙂

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