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New Zealand - South Island

 
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The South Island finally emerges from the mist after a long ferry ride across Cook's Strait - one of the most dangerous stretches of open water in the world.  This is Marlborough Sound on the northeast end of the South Island.
The South Island finally emerges from the mist aft...
Our first scenic drive from Picton (ferry landing) to Nelson across the top of the South Island.
Our first scenic drive from Picton (ferry landing)...
Great Walk #2:  The Abel Tasman Coast Track near Nelson.  We had this place to ourselves, but in the high season this beach and many others along the track are swarming with hikers, kaykers, fishermen, motorboaters, etc...
Great Walk #2: The Abel Tasman Coast Track near N...
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is loaded with pristine beaches along its entire length (51 kilometers).  We only hiked about 10 kilometers of the track as a day trip, but we were not disappointed with the scenery...
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is loaded with pristin...
More pristine beachfront property at Abel Tasman National Park.
More pristine beachfront property at Abel Tasman N...
The granite sea cliffs of Seperation Point on the border of Tasman Bay and Golden Bay.
The granite sea cliffs of Seperation Point on the ...
The local marine mammals seemed to enjoy the sun as much as we did on the Abel Tasman Coast Track.  This fella weighed at least 300lbs and we ate lunch right next to him (fortunately he wasn't hungry).
The local marine mammals seemed to enjoy the sun a...
Natalie celebrates our arrival on one of the most rugged and desolate beaches we've seen yet in New Zealand, near Farewell Spit on the ocean side of Golden Bay.
Natalie celebrates our arrival on one of the most ...
I'm the tiny blue dot walking away from the camera...
I'm the tiny blue dot walking away from the camera...
This place was like Arches National Park by the sea...
This place was like Arches National Park by the se...
There were arches everywhere you looked...
There were arches everywhere you looked...
Once again, we had this place to ourselves...
Once again, we had this place to ourselves...
One quickly begins to feel rather insignificant in a place like this...
One quickly begins to feel rather insignificant in...
This thing is about the size of a small medieval castle...
This thing is about the size of a small medieval c...
I thought this sign was really funny, UNTIL...(see next picture)
I thought this sign was really funny, UNTIL...(see...
The pace of life on Golden Bay was put into proper perspective by this line of cows that stretched all the way back to the pine trees in the background...after about 10 minutes, a farmer on a motorcycle kindly rescued us from this imposing bovine roadblock and we continued on our merry way.
The pace of life on Golden Bay was put into proper...
After 3 days of rain and intermittant sun, the limestone cliffs of Golden Bay finally dried out long enough for us to get one good climb in before heading back to Nelson.
After 3 days of rain and intermittant sun, the lim...
The rugged west coast of the South Island reminds me of the Big Sur Coast in CA, but its covered in rainforest instead of coastal sage scrub.
The rugged west coast of the South Island reminds ...
The aptly named Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki on the west coast.  At high tide, there are some impressive blow holes here...
The aptly named Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki on the ...
The Franz Josef Glacier is a stunning sight to see.  From top to bottom its over 5 miles long.  This is one of two glaciers on the west coast that extend all the way down to sea level. I believe this is the only place in the world where you'll find glacier ice surrounded by rainforest at sea level.
The Franz Josef Glacier is a stunning sight to see...
The Fox Glacier is just 15 miles down the road from the Franz Josef Glacier, and it is similarly carving its way through the rainforest towards the ocean.
The Fox Glacier is just 15 miles down the road fro...
Glacier ice is awesome.
Glacier ice is awesome.
Just another 200' tall roadside attraction on the way to Wanaka and Queenstown in the heart of the Southern Alps.
Just another 200' tall roadside attraction on the ...
My first chimney climb.  The classic  "Shortcut to Exposure" (5.9) in Wanaka.
My first chimney climb. The classic "Shortc...

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