Sunday, January 09, 2011

Last day in Fiji

Lexey and I had an amazing last day in Fiji. The sunrise was beautiful and the folks at Otto & Fanny's are second to none.

More photos with GPS maps here.

Sunrise on the Blue Lagoon:

Hermit crab:

Our goodbye party with Fanny herself:

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Full Day at Otto & Fanny's

Lexey and I spent the entire next day on Tavewa Island except our quick jaunt out in the Blue Lagoon to do some diving. Since there was a big storm for several days the water wasn't the clearest, but it was a good dive. This was the only day the sun really came out when we were in Fiji as well. I guess that is what we get for going during the wet season.

More photos with GPS maps here.

Welcome to Otto & Fanny's:

View of the Blue Lagoon:


Friday, January 07, 2011

Yasawa Flyer from Denerau to Tavewa Island

It was going to be a sea plane with Turtle Airways, but our transportation turned out the be the Yasawa Flyer. There was a big storm coming through Fiji the day we were heading out the Yasawa Group. Turtle Airways wouldn't fly. The storm made the seas pretty rough. People were sick on the boat. Lexey and I pulled through with our dramamine. At one point they announced on the loud speaker that the seas would be very rough for the next 30 minutes, "Anyone feeling sick at this point should raise there hand and someone will come around with a bag." Most of the trip out there it was raining. I did manage to get some photos at a few islands though.

More photos with GPS maps here.

Little shuttle boat from the Yasawa Flyer to an island:

One of the little islands:

Arriving at Otto & Fanny's on Tavewa Island:

Our bure:

Lexey enjoying the hammock:

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Finally, Fiji!

Lexey and I went from Auckland to Fiji. Our first night we spent in Nadi because we got in too late to get out to Tavewa Island. It gave us a chance to wander the city, pick up a few souvenirs, drink kava, and check out the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere. Unfortunately, I left my camera in the hotel. Lexey brought her's so expect some photos of the temple later...

We stayed at the Nadi Bay Hotel. Pretty decent place:

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Auckland - last day in NZ

Our last day in New Zealand was a long one. We had to be at the Christchurch airport about 5:15am for our 6:30 flight to Auckland. Once we arrived in Auckland and dropped out bags at Verandha's we headed out for breakfast and some exploring.

More photos with GPS maps here.

Breakfast joint in Ponsonby:

Spent some time at the waterfront in Auckland Harbour:

Walked up Mount Eden:

At night we had a great Japanese dinner at Kura with my old workmate, Erez:

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Lake Pukaki and Tekapo to Christchurch

More photos with GPS maps here.

After a windy night camping we headed from Lake Pukaki into Tekapo for breakfast. Lake Tekapo was that great green color that makes everything surreal:

From there we had a several hours drive to Christchurch. We stayed in the Camelot Cathedral Square Hotel with a beautiful view of Cathedral Square:

One of my favorite signs has always been this one in Chch:

Ended up spending the night walking around the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and having some local beers at Dux de Lux before hitting the hay so that we could be up super early for our flight to Auckland the next day:

Monday, January 03, 2011

Sunset on Lake Pukaki (time-lapse)

This was taken with a GoPro, so the aperture changes about 1/2 way through and throws things off a little...

Sunset on Lake Pukaki from Lenny Maiorani on Vimeo.

GoPro 1 sec/shot on Lake Pukaki.

Milford Sound to Lake Pukaki by way of an Otago vineyard

More photos with GPS maps here.

We had to leave Possum Lodge very early in the morning in order to get up to Milford Sound and do our hike at Gertrude Saddle. When we got near Gertrude Valley it was pouring rain so we decided to head down through Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound. The sun started coming out and the clouds clearning right when we got to Milford Sound. Because of the rain, there were thousands of waterfalls coming over the sides of the steep cliffs. Really an amazing experience. We ate a quick breakfast there and then headed back to Gertrude Valley. We tried to get out and start our hike, but the river was fast and deep. There was no way for us to do it without swimming in the frigid water. We decided to pack it up and head out.

Milford Sound:

One of the many uncrossable raging rivers:

When we got back near Queenstown we decided to stop at a winery and do a tasting. We ended up at Chard Farm at the end of a 2 km dirt road on the edge of a cliff:

From there we headed out for the central lakes. Lindis Pass was an incredible place to stop and stretch our legs:

We ended up camping alongside Lake Pukaki, many miles from the nearest person and enjoying a beautiful sunset:

Lexey cooked us some green-lipped mussels in a fresh-squeezed lemon and pesto sauce:

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Wanaka to Queenstown to Manapouri

More photos with GPS maps here.

After a relaxing morning in Wanaka we took off for Queenstown over the pass through Cardrona:

We stopped in Queenstown to ride the gondola and have some lunch. It was kinda crazy there due to the holidays so we didn't stay long:

We made it all the way down to Manapouri in Fiordland and stayed at Possum Lodge for the night. Manapouri is so small that there is one small convenience store, but no grocery stores or real restaurants besides one cafe. The sunset from Possum Lodge on Lake Manapouri was beautiful:

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year's Day - Franz Josef to Wanaka

New Year's morning was an early one. We got up to watch the sunrise at Lake Matheson with the incredible reflections of the Southern Alps.

More photos with GPS maps here.

Lake Matheson HDR:

Morning coffee with Lexey looking out at Mount Tasman and the Southern Alps from the deck of the cafe near Lake Matheson:

After breakfast we went back to the hostel and picked up our stuff and headed over to Franz Josef Glacier. It is about a 90 minute walk from the carpark to the glacier and back. The sheer size of everything is disorienting and no photo can ever do it justice.

Lexey and I at the glacier:

Heading south along the Haast Highway:

Completely unmodified raw photo of Lake Hawea:

After the incredible drive through many waterfalls and stunning the stunning blue lakes, Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, we arrived in Wanaka. After checking into the hostel we hit up a bottleshop for a local bottle of wine from Central Otago. The guy in the shop recommended a Pinot Noir from Wild Earth. When we asked where to go for food that is BYO he said Relishes. This was my favorite meal of our trip.

Green-lipped mussels at Relishes in Wanaka: