photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Mike Johnson | profile | all galleries >> Australia and New Zealand Adventure >> Christchurch-Kaikura tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Christchurch-Kaikura

10/2-06 – Late morning plane to Christchurch. Plane was about an hour late but we still got to the Heritage hotel by mid-afternoon. The hotel is right on the central square of the city. Across the street is a 19th century cathedral and a large square. We wandered along the Avon river and ended up having dinner at an Irish pub, The Bog. Oh, and it rained all night.
10/3/06 – To get this out of the way, it rained almost all day. Up early for a 7:30 pickup to go to Kaikoura for a whale watch. It was about a 2 ˝ hour drive north to the coast. We rode through a lot of sheep farms and the driver pointed out the new growth industry – wine. A lot of land had recently been planted in vines. Kaikoura is a quaint small town on a peninsula. It is rugged coastline with a backdrop of mount Kaikoura. We went out in a cool catamaran that was packed with high tech gear to find the whales and a guided talk showing our progress on a large plasma screen connected to the gps system. Very cool. We went out a few miles and almost as soon as we got over the continental shelf, where the depth changed from 300 feet to 5,000 feet we saw our first sperm whale. These are much larger animals than the humpbacks we saw in Hervey Bay, Australia. Unfortunately, they didn’t breach so we had to do with spouts and tails. But it was exciting. We tracked 5 different whales until they dove to feed. We also saw Dusky Dolphins and Wandering Albatross along with hundreds of sea birds. On the way back we went by a seal colony. Lunch in town, bought a couple of books at the used book store (we have read a lot of books while in travel mode), and then back on the bus. We stopped at a Winery with a fantastic ocean view and tasted their whites. Then, as we were leaving Kaikora we stopped at the seal colony and I got some great shots.
10/4/06 – Up early. Surprise, it is raining in Christchurch today. Well, after breakfast and checkout we board the Great Sights bus for our ride to Queenstown. We stopped at Mount Cook about halfway to Queenstown. Another surprise. As we entered the foothills on the way to Mount Cook, the skies cleared. As we stopped for a photo break at Lake McKenzie we had blue skies and puffy clouds. We arrived at Mt. Cook and Mike signed up for a helicopter ride up the valley and to the mountain. The ride lasted about a half hour but I enjoyed it. We stopped on a pile of snow and got out for photos and to see the snow. There were four Japanese tourists on my flight and everyone seemed to enjoy the feeling of being on the top of the world. Even though the mountain is only 12,000+ feet high, it seems higher. The receding glacier left a very visible trail down the valley and along the mountain walls. I met a woman who was going to camp in the mountains for the next few days and heli-ski. Apparently, this is a popular place for heli-skiing. There was a small village at the base of the mountain, but no ski area.
Whale watch briefing
Whale watch briefing
Sperm Whale head
Sperm Whale head
Whale watching
Whale watching
Sperm Whale
Sperm Whale
Sperm Whale spout
Sperm Whale spout
Sperm Whale tail
Sperm Whale tail
Dusky Dolphins harass Sperm Whale
Dusky Dolphins harass Sperm Whale
Dusky Dolphins harass Sperm Whale
Dusky Dolphins harass Sperm Whale
Whale tail coming up
Whale tail coming up
Whale tail
Whale tail
Whale tail
Whale tail
Whale tail
Whale tail
Diving
Diving
Wandering Albatross
Wandering Albatross
Taking off
Taking off
Sperm Whale
Sperm Whale
Winery tour
Winery tour
Winery tasting
Winery tasting
Fur seal colony
Fur seal colony
Bird Rocks
Bird Rocks
Dusky Dolphin
Dusky Dolphin
Dusky Dolphin
Dusky Dolphin
Cruising
Cruising
Banking
Banking
Sperm Whale
Sperm Whale
Whale tail
Whale tail
Whale tail and gull
Whale tail and gull
Fur seal colony
Fur seal colony
Sleepy seal
Sleepy seal
Fur seal colony
Fur seal colony
What are you looking at?
What are you looking at?
Turf battle
Turf battle
Seal fight
Seal fight
Christchurch Cathedral
Christchurch Cathedral
Dinner at the Bog Irish pub
Dinner at the Bog Irish pub
Dinner at the pub
Dinner at the pub