My sister, Jean Lee, who lives in Massachusetts wanted to come visit us while we were in New Zealand. She is a PhD microbiology research scientist at Harvard and travels worldwide attending conferences and speaking about her research with Staphylococcus aureus. She wrote us that she would be in Malaysia at a conference and would like to come from there, since it was closer than Massachusetts! Friends had recommended that we tour the South Island, particularly so we could visit Milford Sound. So, with our mission president's blessing, we flew to Queenstown on Saturday, 16 March 2013, and then picked up Jeanie the next day when she flew into Queenstown from Auckland.
|View from hotel in Queenstown|
|Another view from hotel in Queenstown|
|Expensive but delightful candy (lolly) shop in Queenstown|
|Pretty little Anglican church in Queenstown|
|Lakeside view from park in Queenstown|
|Visitors enjoying the lakeside view|
|...and tourists preparing to parasail|
|South Island has lots of mountains; North Island has more rolling hills.|
|Elder Farnes next to statue of extinct moa in Queenstown|
Prior to picking Jeanie up from the airport on Sunday, we attended our Church meetings at the small branch in Frankton, a town near Queenstown. Here we were able to meet three of our missionaries assigned to this area, and one of them, Elder Dorius, was the son of one of our former bishops when we lived in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Elder Christensen had only been in New Zealand for a few days.
|Elder Dorius (Pleasant Grove, UT), Elder Tarati (Tahiti, French Polynesian), and Elder Christensen (Cedar Hills, UT)|
|The small chapel in Frankton|
|With a member of the Branch Presidency (from Brazil)|
We stayed overnight in Queenstown again after Jeanie arrived, then the next day headed to a town called Te Anau. We rented a car, so we could see the sights and stop whenever we wanted to snap a picture, take a side trip, or have a meal. Here's a few of the sites we saw along the way to Te Anau and then on the way to Milford Sound the next day after that.
|Couldn't resist this one!|
|Lots of "deer farms" in New Zealand|
|...and they seem content, don't jump the fences, which are not very high.|
|Sunset view from our motel in Te Anau|
|Morning view from our motel in Te Anau|
|Great pictures from "Mirror Lakes" (more like ponds, but the views were gorgeous!)|
|The water was so reflective that the mountain looks upside down.|
|Jeanie at one of the many lookout sites at Mirror Lakes|
|The mountains as they look "right side up"|
|Clyde "holding up a tree" on the scenic walkway at Mirror Lakes|
|Now you can see both the mountains and the reflections...just beautiful!|
MILFORD SOUND - FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK
Our cruise on Milford Sound lived up to all our expectations. It was breathtakingly beautiful, filled with lots of wildlife, vivid colors, and perfect weather. We chose to take a smaller boat because of its promise to get closer to the wildlife and waterfalls, and we made the right choice. The bigger boats (ships) could only go up the center of the fiord because of the depth they needed.
|Just look how scenic...and blue!|
|Seals basking in the sun...but let's get closer!|
|Aren't they cute?!|
|One seal even did a water ballet for us!|
One of the really fun experiences on our Milford Sound cruise was seeing a large pod of dolphins performing for us. Our boat got right up to them, and as we watched them leap and swim, we noticed that there was one seal with them. Our guide assured us that it was a seal, and it was fun to watch him try to do everything the dolphins were doing. My sister Jeanie got a short movie of the dolphins, but for the life of me, I can't seem to get it onto the blog...but if I ever figure it out, I'll add it later.
|The cliff walls were amazing, no soil, but trees could grow on them, their roots intertwined and nourished by algae.|
|More beautiful sites...|
|Not as many waterfalls because of the drought this year|
One of our side trips near Te Anau was a beautiful walkway through a "rain forest". Here's a few pictures of the greenery and water we saw there.
|Jeanie and Clyde on walkway|
|Some of the rock formations looked like dinosaur skeletons.|
Whenever we saw an interesting sign, off we went to investigate. Here's another one of our stops at a place called "McCracken's Rest".
|Interesting black gulls called "Oyster Eaters"|