Friday, January 25, 2008

South Island trip Part 1

12 days and after driving almost 3000km around the most beautiful parts of this country, I've made it home safely.

Highlights of the trip:

- International Antarctic Centre (I highly recommend doing the Hagglund ride - a unique experience on an all terrain amphibian vehicle)
- Akaroa: Set on a beautiful sheltered harbour, Akaroa is a town on the Banks Peninsula in the Canterbury region about 82km from Christchurch.

- World's Steepest Street, Baldwin St. Took us 12 minutes approximately to climb to the top. It's not quite Lombard St in San Francisco, but you can get a certificate for reaching the top.
- Dunedin Railway Station: The most photographed building in NZ
- Taieri Gorge Railway: Dunedin's prestige tourist train which travels through the Taieri Gorge towards Pukerangi. Beautiful countryside.

- Larnach's Castle: NZ's only castle. Gorgeous gardens and breathtaking views of the Otago harbour from the castle tower.

Catlins - Follow the Southern Scenic Drive route through the Catlins which begins outside of Balclutha and takes you into Invercargill. This is a long detour, especially if you stop at points of interest, but well worth the extra time and petrol.

Nugget Point: Spot yellow eyed penguins (best time just before dusk)

Curio Bay: Jurassic fossilised forest (Petrified forest)

The Whistling Frog cafe: A frog themed cafe, a good stop for a caffeine boost

Te Anau
- Manapouri - 20 min drive from Te Anau, the Manapouri Power Station tour departs from the Visitor Centre in Manapouri. NZ's largest hydro electric power station, built deep underground and inaccessible by road (only accessible by the manapouri lake waterway, the power station is one of NZ's greatest engineering achievement).

The ferry across on Lake Manapouri has amazing views of the Kepler and Hunter mountains.

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