Whale Watch, Kaikoura

 This isn’t the cheapest of the many tours in Kaikoura, but we enjoyed it and found it to be good value for money.

We liked the fact that if you don’t see a whale, they will refund 80% of the ticket. We reckoned that meant they must be pretty confident and indeed it turned out be the case.

We saw a sperm whale very close, and many many dolphins, also albatross. The guides were witty and informative. They do warn about seasickness and there were some who were but I recommend this trip heartily.

  
  
   

Advertisements

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

This is a big varied garden just across the road from the river. It has grassy knolls overlooking lotus filled lakes, tree filled areas and nice views over the city.
It is beautifully maintained and it is possible to take a gondola ride around the lake. (They don’t sing opera, though!)

  
  
  
Make sure you walk up the hill to Guilfoyle’s Volcano, which has a fantastic collection of succulents and cacti around it. A nice day out from city sight-seeing.

Chinese garden of friendship, Sydney. 

These gardens are right between Chinatown and Darling Harbour. There is a small entry fee but with this you are allowed to enter as many times as you like during the day. It is a lovely, calm garden with, carp, birds, waterfalls and statues. Right in the midst of the the hectic city of Sydney. As such, it add a nice new dimension to this vibrant city. Take a step away and enjoy some moments of calm in the Chinese garden of friendship while visiting Sydney.


  
  

The Rose Garden, Queens Park, Invercargill

We visited the rose garden on 24th January.


The end of January must surely be the best time of year to visit here.


It was full of colour and perfume, from stunning arches of cascading blooms,


To individual beautiful roses…..


Old Port,



City of Invercargill,


Raspberry Ice,


Summer Dream,


Lemon Honey,


Minehaha,


Pink Sun Rose


Paola,


Eldorado.



  I honestly think that this is the most beautiful Rose garden that I have ever visited.

  

Miles better pies, Te Anu, South Island, New Zealand

The quality and choice of pies in this shop is excellent. They are fresh home made and have lots of filling. We had the lamb mince and cheese, and the vegetable both of us agreed they were the best pies we’d had in ages. The perfect reward for finishing the Kepler Trail!Be aware though, that the milk shakes are made with milk and a fruit syrup, so not as thick as you might expect if you are used to them made with fresh fruit.

However, it is a pie shop and the pies are spectacular!

Fox Glacier, South Island, New Zealand

This will never look the same on different days, today the low cloud cover gave it a brooding dark appearance. I’m told it can seem brilliant and shiny when in direct sunlight.

The closest view is about a thirty minute walk each way from the car park. This will be different in different seasons and dependent on the weather. It is not an easy walk; quite steep and lots of loose scree. However it is not without attractions; through the steep cliffs that the glacier has carved out over the centuries.

Glaciers are not pretty things, looking dirty and rough, but one can’t help but be in awe of something that can clear mountains out its way. It is also interesting to see how much it has receded since 1750.


  

Trans Alpine Express, Christchurch to Greymouth 

Today we took the Trans Alpine Express from Christchurch to Greymouth. It leaves at 8.15 am each day and takes a little under 5 hours. It was a dull, grey, rainy day and still the views were spectacular. On gorgeous sunny days I can only imagine that they will be even better.

The seats are comfortable and the carriages bright. The windows curve round the edge of the roof to let in extra light. There is a commentary that talks you through the history of the train line and there are two carriages that have open sides to allow better photographs.

A kia came and sat on the engine while we stopped at Adams Peak.

Greymouth is about a two hour drive from Franz Joseph glacier and there are coaches that meet the train. We hired a car.