There isn’t a lot I can say about Milford Sound and the trip to get there that cannot be conveyed through the pictures. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and only had a half day of rain in the whole trip. We drove down slowly, taking time to stop at a variety of picture points, small walks and hikes off the road.
It is hard to explain quite how remote Fiordland really is. Its a comfy 6h from Queenstown and for 2/3rds of that drive you need to expect no cell phone coverage. Once you are past Te Anau there is none. at. all. Milford is off the grid so runs off generators and hydroelectric. If you do want to use internet its via satellite (and surprisingly usable!)
We stayed ay Milford Sound Lodge and were really super impressed with the accommodation, people and the food. And the kea who came to our door every time he saw us.
We did a lovely boat tour with a stop in at the Discovery Centre. I wasn’t really sure what we would see ‘under water’ in a fiord – for the record – plenty! A huge variety of fish, corals, sea cucumbers, star fish and anemones. On the boat tour we saw seals and little crested penguins.
After two amazing days down there, we headed back to Queenstown for a couple of nights before coming home. Great food, fun on the Luge and gondola. More great food. Then lots of driving with big vistas. Long hours. But worth it.
Alaska part two. These are some of the views and places that we will always remember and want to see and visit again.
The Marjorie Glacier. Sorry for the picture overload. It was amazing. Huge. It was almost impossible to photograph it with a sense of scale. There were sea lions lounging on icebergs at the base and they looked like little dots. Actually the entirety of Glacier Bay Nation Park was wonderful.
The train ride in Skagway was so interesting. It follows the old gold trial route and rises up above the snow line. Twisting and winding along the narrow track, clinging to the mountainside. Through unlit tunnels and beside old rickety bridges.
Flying out above the archipelago at Ketchikan and landing in the fjords. Flying beside the soaring cliffs and hill top lakes. Finding timber wolf tracks on the beach and marvelling at the tidal range.
Canopy walks in BC and hiking through the forest. Water park play and the city at sunset, eating sushi watching the cruise ships get ready to depart. There were many things we didn’t photograph, particularly towards the end of the trip. Much of Vancouver which we loved, but just wanted to savour ourselves not through a lens. Gelato, sparkly shoes. Green parks and the train rides.
That view – on top of the ship, found by going through the door to nowhere.
So … this is very late. But at least its here haha. These are the wildlife highlights from the trip. Taken on different days in different locations.
Sitka Deer seen with the Black Bear on a coastal expedition from Ketchikan. We had a 3h trip around the inlets and small islands. The bear is a youngster and was photographed on a small island that is apparently used a lot by the younger bears to keep out of the way of the bigger, older more aggressive males. The black and white Bald Eagle was taken on the same trip and we had a great encounter with harbour porpoises while motoring back to the dock (video on my instagram)
The Orca and Humpback Whale pics were all taken on a trip out of Auke Bay outside Juneau. We were incredibly fortunate to see the transient pod of Orca as they are not sighted that often in that area. We saw about four humpbacks and while motoring homeward spotted the sea lions hanging out on the marker. The bald eagle coming to land on top was a bonus. While photographing the eagle we spotted the breeching humpback. It was a 2016 baby playing with his mum. Best. Mothers. Day. Ever.
With the exception of the grizzly bear (who lives in a forested bear habitat – with a friend, both were rescued as abandoned cubs – outside Vancouver) all these are wild animals photographed in their natural habitats. The grizzly bears are within an area but are left to forage naturally for about 70% of their diet etc. It is only at certain times they provide additional meat/fish.
Things we didn’t get pics of included harbour porpoises, harbour seals, and mountain goats. Also many types of birds we didn’t have a clue about.
Please excuse the variety in editing on these. They are all hubby’s images and he has play around with them as he enjoys. All credit for capturing these amazing creatures goes to him.
Christmas has been great this year. Family. Amazing weather. Gifts galore. A broken arm to add a little extra excitement. The kid has been a bit of a star really. Coping so well and only really upset that it has meant riding her skateboard from santa has needed to be postponed for a bit. We have all be spoilt rotten and its been wonderful.
The new year is looking really very fun. 2016 has a few adventures planned already. A three week adventure in the autumn which will see us Stateside and back in the northern hemisphere for a bit. Works looking good. We have a homeschool plan. Ive started running and am committing that this year, I will be more mindful and aware.
But for now, still enjoying family, sunshine and delicious food from the BBQ!
A trip up the coast to see the adolescent seal pups at one of their more unique haunts last weekend. An inland, fresh water waterfall pool. They make their way up there by themselves, exploring from the rocky beaches. It is a magical place and to be just a foot or two away as they splash and dive and play its very special.
Supper at a little roadside pub on the long drive home 🙂
Amadee Island is a 45 min fast ferry ride form Noumea. A simply must to day trip. I’m not usually one for ‘day trips’ as such – well, not really one for anything formally organised. But this was awesome! From the ferry ride out there, the beach, wildlife (read sea snakes, extremely venomous but also extremely docile) turtles, reef sharks, multitudes of fishes seen from the glass bottomed boat. The staff on the trips were knowledgable and friendly, happy to natter away to madam and answer her endless questions. We walked and swam and lay in the shade. Had a wonderful lunch with music and rum punch. It was a perfect last day.
The first snow of 2015 fell last night. Proper big fat awesome snowflakes. Ok, by morning it was more of a icy crust on the ground. But it was pretty and sparkly and white.
Nims present arrived late on Wednesday night. She was inside, watching Mary Poppins with all the curtains closed.
Madam went to bed. I spent the evening cleaning and scrubbing, hanging and arranging. Thursday the curtains stayed closed and we blindfolded madam to get her to and from preschool. Hubby cut carpet tiles and built shelf units. I sewed curtains and hung them.
Friday morning dawn wet and raining but with open curtains and a very happy Moo as she turned 4. Four times around the sun. I am not sure where this time has gone. How suddenly my baby has changed. She is intelligent with a sharp sense of humour. Seems to excel at most that she tries but has no inclination to show off the skills she has, preferring to quietly just get on with it. She can be dramatic and stubborn. Thoughtful and staunch.
Her face was pure delight and made the preceding 36hours totally worth it. She had worked out what it was – a tiny 2 second peek while retrieving a cat from the windowsill combined with not being allowed to look outside gave it away (nice to know she has her dads detective brain) but actually seeing it up close, going inside. Well that was magic.
Easter day. Egg hunt in the garden – well carrot and bunny hunt really. Park and River. Bike and stream. This sunshine is just to good to waste. Wearing her mama made Easter foxy woxy tunic.
Total picture overload. Sorry. But really I’m not. After a week of rain the day dawned bright and there was a golden orb in the sky radiating heat. Awesome.
So on Easter Saturday we headed into the city to the museum (no pictures) and then to the botanic gardens to revel in the reds, golds, yellows and oranges of the season. Yes I am aware that for 95% of you reading this red, gold and orange are not the colours that leap to your minds when you think of Easter. I’m aware. It’s odd.
But it was spectacular – seriously beautiful. The colours, the meandering river. Dabbled light through huge leaves. The paths and our little one, dashing along on her bike. She’s so speedy now. Confident and happy. There a lot of personality but she’s fun to take out and explore with. I think it suits her ever motoring brain and active body.
It was packed with families and couples. Old, young and in-between. Tourists. People marvelling at not only the natural colour and texture of the gardens and parks but also the beauty of a city that has previously been so devastated. In so many parts reduced to a chillingly literal state of rubble.
It was a perfect autumn day. A wonderful start to the easter weekend.
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