Vacation 2001, Day 9
Sunday, July 29
Christchurch to Queenstown New Zealand

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Highlights of todays motorcoach trip to Queenstown include Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook National Park among others.

Created July 14th, 2001.

What actually happened on this day.

After the excitement of the last 48 hours I could only hope for some stability. As it turned out it came.

Below is a map of the New Zealand portion of the trip. I will use this map on the days that I traveled from one location to another. Each day of travel is indicated in a different colour line as in the other maps. The 2 lines that go off the top of the map are the air flights in and out of Christchurch. Brown is for the flight from Auckland that happened yesterday and the yellow line is for that flight to Sydney, Australia that happens on Friday. These lines match the colour of the lines on the large trip map. Todays motorcoach trip is the RED line snaking its way from Christchurch via Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki and Mt Cook to Qweenstown.

To properly show the sights of this part of New Zealand, and because of some weather related issues later in the week I've included some still images from the videos of my 1992 trip that did much of this area in the opposite direction. That tour actually started in Auckland and came down the North Island, took a ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island and then down the west side of the South Island to Queenstown. It actually continued on back to Auckland but in my first trip to New Zealand in 1990 I did the Queenstown to Auckland segment. So, over 2 years I took the whole tour!! In most cases I'll note when I use one of the 1992 pictures but if I don't you can tell as all those ones have dates in the lower right corner of the image and the quality will be a bit poorer. So here we go!!!

When you leave Christchurch you drive across
the Canterbury Plain before getting to the
mountains. In this 1992 picture you can see the
plain partially covered in snow. The 1992
winter caused unusual snow falls in N.Z. It normally
dosen't snow much on the Canterbury Plain.
Here, not too far from a town called Fairlee we
enter the foothills of the Southern Alps. In 1992
this area would have been covered in snow. Not
long after I was there in 1992 the snow got so
bad that many people had to be rescued and
many sheep died for a lack of food.

This is Lake Tekapo the first in a series of hydro
power lakes. These lakes all existed but were
modified in various ways for use in hydro power
generation. Water from this lake can go through
as many as 7 power plants to generate power
for the people of New Zealand.
This is Lake Pukaki. Water from Lake Tekapo
flows into this lake through a pipeline to a small
power plant on it's shore.
The hazy spot at the far end of the lake is were
Mt Cook, NZ's highest mountain is located. It's
raining quite heavily down there.

In this 1992 picture this is what the Mt Cook end
of Lake Pukaki looks like. In 2001, when we
went to the Village of Mt Cook for lunch, we
could barely see this because of the rain
mentioned above.
Mt Cook from the village of Mt Cook in 1992.
Couldn't see this at all in 2001.

As you approach Queenstown you enter the gorge
of the Kawarau River. The small building is another
hydro power plant. It's fed from a mountain lake on
the upper right. This river floods quite frequently. It's
been as high as the row of windows on the power
plant building.
Another image from the Kawarau gorge. It was
quite dark when I went through this area in 2001
so I used these older pictures to show this area.

Another of New Zealand's claims to fame is that it is
where Bungee jumping started. This old bridge over
the Kawarau gorge was the first commercial
Bungee jumping operation in the world. It's more
exciting on the video in motion than this still. These
people must be nuts!!!!
Here is the same fellow from the previous image
bouncing around on the end of his bungee cord.
They are lowered down into a rubber raft after
they stop swinging wildly through the air with
apparently the greatest of ease. Oh sorry that's
for a trapeze isn't it....

A couple of Notes:

New Zealand's chain of hydro power plants and lakes depend, as do any water powered systems, on having lots of rain to fill the lakes and watershed around them. All the lakes were very low. There wasn't much rain last year and hasn't been very much this year. Some of the lakes were 30 to 40 feet below what they would normally be at this time of year. Electricity rates were and probably still are rising very rapidly for fear of an oncoming serious electricity shortage. It was raining quite heavily on the west side of the mountains from the lakes. I hope some of it got to them.
The odd thing about this is that the last major problem they had like this was in 1992, the last time I was there. Talk about coincidences. They probably won't want me to ever come back at this rate.

When I went by the bungee jumping place this year there was nobody there so I used the old images again.

[ On to Day 10]

Last Updated September 2nd, 2001

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