Home, now it’s easier to post

I uploaded what I could while in New Zealand. When we travel abroad we rely on Wifi, don’t use the phone unless we absolutely have to. Certainly don’t use data. Unlike other people who sat on the bus on their phones. So now I can share more pictures easily. I should have named this post ‘Snow’.

We stayed at this lovely 1930’s hotel. Chateau Tongariro at the ski resort in the North Island. It is summer and there was a lot of snow on the mountains. This makes perfect sense, NZ is very far south, the mountains are high, there is snow on the peaks all the time.

Some interior views. Although this hotel was built in the middle of the Art Deco period, the interior has a lot of older elements to it. Which isn’t surprising, very few building are purely one style.

At this point our group was 7 people. Later more people joined in. Here we are enjoying a lovely dinner together. To be honest, this only happened when there was no choice of places to eat. People segregated out into groups. Group dynamics on a tour like this are very interesting. We got along, but I’ve learned, it is a very temporary friendship. You make do.

Another interesting thing I learned on this trip. All of us had iPhones, so we shared pictures via airdrop. A great thing, because sometimes someone else got a great picture, it was easy to share.

Here we are at the bottom of the ski resort. The plan was to go up the ski left. I’m thrilled to have brought my rain boots. I had a wool hat, but it was in the suitcase. Joel just bought those gloves, I didn’t have any at the time. Here we are posting on an old chair lift.

Joel with our guide Andrew. Thank God this is as far as we got. The Chair lift wasn’t running, too cloudy. I’m grateful, I can go up chairlifts, but they are meant to be one way. You ski down, I have gone down chairlifts and it is freaky and scary. My fear of heights kicks in big time. So I wasn’t sorry to miss out on that experience. We went for a lovely hike instead.

In the morning we woke up to this view – we could actually see the snow on the mountain. It was lovely.

With a corner of the hotel. On our travels we tended to spend one night in a hotel and then move on to the next. Not easy living out of a suitcase and moving every day. But there is so much area to cover and although I didn’t see ‘all’ of NZ, I saw a lot.

We drove around this range of mountains, by mid morning, the haze had lifted and there was a gorgeous snow peak mountain, with unreal green in the foreground as well as sheep!!! I haven’t touched up the photo, there is a reason so many films want to use NZ as a location. It is stunningly beautiful.

Look! Off in the distance, Mt Cook, the tallest peak in NZ. We were so fortunate to get such a beautiful clear view.

This was the view from our hotel room. Often people get here and never see the mountain. This happened to us years ago in Costa Rica, we never saw the Arenal Volcano. There is a reason why this mountain range is called the southern Alps. It really is like the alps, although to be honest, many things are different.

In the morning, we couldn’t see the mountain, the opposite of what happened at Tongariro.

As we drove away it began to clear a little.

At Franz Josef Glacier we initially saw nothing.

For a few seconds the next morning, this snuck through. We were supposed to take a helicopter ride, but those low clouds made it a no go, so we took a walk to see the glacier instead.

There it is, off in the distance. It has receded a lot in the last few years. It is one of the few in a temperate rain forest. Funny thing is, our guide was talking about how the road gets washed out all the time and soon they may just close that part of the country. Other people said – no way, they’ll figure it out. But if nature decides that this glaciers’ time is up, people might not want to come to this part of NZ. It is wet, grey dreary and full of awful sand flies.

Joel and the ranger, warning not to cross the ropes. Yeah, the ranger is just a cutout, still a cute image.

Next, something other than snow.

Leah

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