Picton, a relaxing spot to start your journey in the South Island.
A Maori welcome.
The views from Queen Charlotte Drive which winds around the Sound.
Havelock which lies at the end of Pelorus Sound.
Farewell Spit is the longest sand spit in New Zealand at 26 klms above sea level with another 6 klms below. It was the last land Captain Cook sighted after leaving New Zealand for Australia.
The sand dunes on the southern side of the spit face Golden Bay. The tide here can retreat as much as 7 klms making it a rich feeding ground for shorebirds.
The dunes on the Northern side are exposed to the prevailing wind and are unstable.
Resting as we cross over from Golden Bay to the Tasman Sea.
Dune runner! Jane just couldn't resist running down the dunes.
Wide open spaces with not a soul in sight.
It was here that I appreciated the huge extent of the Southern Sky.
It's a great spot for birdwatching.
Bar-tailed Godwit (plus the odd Oystercatcher).
South Island Pied Oystercatchers in flight.
South Island Pied Oystercatcher feeding. The bright orange bill and pink legs somehow don't look very colour co-ordinated.
Lovely countryside near Collingwood.
Looking towards Tasman Bay.
In the Abel Tasman National Park the easiest way to get around is by water taxi.
At the 'taxi rank' passengers board the boat and are then towed by a tractor along the lanes to the launch jetty.
Split Apple Rock, which would have split in some distant ice age when water got into a crack and then froze.
The Abel Tasman Track starts here in Sandy Bay and takes 3-5 days.
The coastline is full of coves and beaches.
Fur seal taking a snooze.
A fur seal cleaning his whiskers.
Moving on from Abel Tasman we drive past the Buller River which rises in the Nelson Lakes national park and flows down to Westport on the west coast.
These guys are demonstrating how NOT to sit in the boat!
The road to Westport follows the lovely Buller Valley.
Travelling down the west coast we come to Punakaiki, which is famous for its 'pancake' rocks.
Laid down in sedimentary layers and then battered by wind and tides, the rocks look quite wonderful at sunset.
Moving on down the coast past Greymouth, Hokitika, the delightfully named Harihari, we come to Wataroa and get our first, tantalising glimpse of the Southern Alps.
After a brief stop at Franz Joseph Glacier we make our way to Fox Glacier where we will stay for several nights. In the evening the cloud clad mountains are reflected in the beautiful Lake Matheson.
A golden sunset lights up Cooks Flat whilst clouds hide the mountain tops.
Sunset at Fox.
The following morning we were up before 6 am to dash down to Lake Matheson and catch sunrise over the mountains.
Mist on the water and a perfect reflection. What more could you want?
The light just got better and better.
Sunrise over, there was still plenty of early morning sights to behold.
Mount Tasman and Mount Cook are the backdrop to a stunning view.
Breakfast over it's time to go and take a closer look at those mountains.
Taking off you can see why it's called Cooks Flat. The Cook River flows away to the coast.
The landscape passes below.
Part of the Franz Jospeh Glacier
One of my favourite views. The Hooker Glacier descends into the Hooker Valley. The pointy mountain top right is Mount Sefton and the blue lake, top left, is Lake Pukaki.
What look like ants in the middle of this shot are five hikers!
Looking down the Fox Glacier.