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Old Jun 10, 2006, 6:13 PM   #1
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3 weeks of road tripping in the South Island - this will be in several parts with pictures. All pictures are clickable thumbnails.

I used my faithful Canon S1 IS for all the pictures, some pictures have had the levels tweaked etc. No tripod / beanbag either - I just used handy rocks or clumps of grass

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And so it all began, I was aiming to fly into Nelson from Auckland on Origin Pacific.

Lesson #1 - the bike is included in your baggage allowance which totals 15kg. $5 per kilo for anything over. Total checked baggage (including my bike) was 35kg. I was let off $70 lighter

Just as we took off from Auckland, a child a couple of seats ahead of me threw up. The cabin was filled with a smell that terminated any hunger pangs I may have been having at the time. The rest of the flight was pretty sweet until the approach into Nelson which was very rough with a very strong crosswind - shades of Wellington style landings

After landing I gathered my gear and dragged it all over to the Air NZ terminal where the rental agencies were. No dramas getting the car sorted, but lots of dramas getting it all to fit in!

I stayed that night in a cabin at the Top 10 campground in Motueka. Top 10 campgrounds are usually pretty good with clean facilities so thats why I prefer to stay in them, less chance of getting attacked by a mutated shower curtain.

I had a quick spin on the bike around the back streets of Motueka the next morning before pointing the car inland down the Motueka Valley Highway - it was very picturesque (sp?).




After checking into the motel in St Arnaud, I put the bike together again and headed out to the Teetotal flats MTB tracks. DOC have put these tracks together around the old Teetotal road. I rode around for a couple of hours initially on the loop track, but then started following random sheep tracks. I got pretty wet fording some of the streams and swampy bits. Otherwise it was well worth it.



The next day I threw some lunch and a drink into my Pikau and headed up onto the tops for the day. The motel owners suggested driving up Mt Roberts to the top carpark and walking from there - it was a very quick way to gain altitude. The walk up through the beech forest was great, as I climbed I could see the Murchason valleys etched with fog.

Once up on the tops I headed for the ski field and the ridgeline above it. There was a fair bit of cloud around which made it pretty cold at times so I ended up wearing my Krank jacket - yet another use for it!



I sat on a mountainside with peace of mind and vision clear
walked for days with no-one near






After a great day on the tops I returned to the carpark in the late afternoon. I picked up a 6 pack of beer from the shop but was too tired that night to even drink one.





Next day I headed south to Fox Glacier. The day was one big blur of driving. I managed to get the rental car down to 9.2 litres per 100km, which was essential given the arse reaming petrol prices on the west coast.




I dodged rain all the way from Greymouth south, it was freezing cold everytime I stopped to take in a view or to have a leak at the roadside.

The next morning dawned fine and clear - I'd splashed out and booked a heli-hike on Fox glacier today and I'd been praying for fine weather.

Lesson #2 - they will let you take your own boots if you want, instead of wearing the 'loaners' they have for punters. I then wished long and hard for my Merrells which were safely back at the motel.

The helicoptor flight up the glacier was nothing short of brilliant.




After checking out the top ice fall and the spectacular Victoria falls we landed on the ice and joined the rest of the heli-hiking groups that had been ferried up the glacier. We were given crampons and an alpenstock (stick with a spike on the end) and instructed how to walk.




The woman in front of me was one of those people who never listen to instructions so I spent much time waiting while she got stuck climbing up ice steps and falling down holes. At the first chance I jumped ahead of her and instead got to follow a pretty South African woman. Much better.




We saw ice caves, crevases, waterfalls, cracks, ice, and ummm ice. All in all it was an awesome way to spend a couple of hours. Talking to the guide later he was saying that very few New Zealanders go on these trips (I was the only kiwi in the trip of 33, made up of 3 groups with a guide in each group) It was so worth it!

The flight off the glacier was less spectacular - flying down the other side of the valley back to Fox township. Back at the motel I put the bike together once again and went out for a lazy spin down the road. I was rewarded with some great views of the glacier and southern alps.



The rest of the story with heaps more pictures at http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopict-40368.html

Cheers,

G
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Old Jun 11, 2006, 11:59 AM   #2
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Great pictures - nowhere else can equal NZ scenery. But the one that really made me sit up was the one you took on the road to the west coast of the South Island. That view seems to demand people to stop & photograph it. It was about 14 years ago when it did that to me ....

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Old Jun 15, 2006, 2:18 AM   #3
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Graeme, your enjoyable narration is surely a good company for the beautiful images you've displayed.It has quite a humorous and humane tone especially the part cencerning you getting rid of the 'clumsy woman' to follow the more 'presentable' South African one(the blond in the 9th photo?). I hope you did not forget the poor woman in the mountains somewhere:G
Ah, I also checked out the link you provided but there was nothing more about the untold part of the story!
Meanwhile I should say this series of yours undoubtly serves so well to the purpose Travel Photography.
Thanks for sharing


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@ HERB: This cool and smooth image which you've posted really makes sense. I think it was shot by a film SLR.
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Old Jun 15, 2006, 12:01 PM   #4
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Bahadir -

Thanks! And you're correct.- it was shot on film with an Asahi Pentax (since traded in for an Olympus C2100UZ).

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Old Jun 15, 2006, 3:13 PM   #5
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Magnific serie of pictures, I really really like the last one, great composition
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Old Jun 15, 2006, 4:04 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback, Herb. I'm pretty much used to seeing the 'silky' images from film SLRs thanks to my father's 38 year old camera he bought one year prior to my birth :-)
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Old Jun 16, 2006, 5:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback - the road trip story continues on the link after a couple of replies in the thread. I'll past a link to each post below (it took me a day or two to write it all and get the pictures organised!)

http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopict-40368.html#826893

http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopict-40368.html#828064

http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopict-40368.html#833874

http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopict-40368.html#828064

http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopict-40368.html#833930

http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopict-40368.html#835219

http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopict-40368.html#836454

http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopict-40368.html#837649

Kind Regards,

Graeme
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