Today I am starting a new adventure – one that takes in a number of sub-Antarctic Islands in the Southern Ocean. I will board a ship that departs from the port of Bluff at the southernmost point in New Zealand on a tour that will take 12 days to visit some remarkably scenic places that are full of wildlife and interesting flora.
This trip was scheduled to be conducted in 2019, but it has been deferred many times because of Covid-19. I am finally excited to be on my way. This morning, I was up at 3:30 am to leave home in time for a 7:15 am flight from Melbourne to Queenstown. I was at the airport well before anything was open, although the Qantas Lounge finally opened at 5:15 am so I could enjoy some breakfast and a good coffee.
We arrived in Queenstown at 12:15 pm (New Zealand time) in pouring rain. Instead of enjoying a dry crossing into the airport terminal through an air bridge we had to walk down some stairs at the front of the plane and cross over through the rain into the terminal. The New Zealanders call these mobile steps ‘air stairs’ but with that harsh Kiwi accent they come across as sounding like ‘ear steers’. It took me a little while to get through customs and immigration, mainly because my prioritised baggage came out last and by then there was a very long queue. If you really want your bags to come out first, don’t ask the airline to put a priority tag on it!
I have actually arrived in New Zealand one day earlier than my itinerary requires because at the time I made my flight bookings, the airlines were still in a state of disarray and flight cancellations were common. To be sure of arriving here on time, I allowed myself an extra day
I used my time this afternoon to drive up the northern shore of Lake Wakatipu to the little town of Glenorchy. There isn’t much there, apart from a general store and a couple of pubs and it rained pretty well all the way through the afternoon. My hopes for seeing clear landscapes were dashed. I did manage to get a picture of the historic wharf at Glenorchy and some scenes along the lake with cloud covered mountains.
By this time, I was a bit hungry as I hadn’t had any lunch. I made the mistake in the general store of buying the most beautiful looking raspberry muffin topped with a creamy lemon icing. There was no way that I could eat it in the car without getting crumbs and cream all over me The only alternative was to stand out in the rain and enjoy. Its wonderful flavour while getting wet.
Tonight I had dinner with Michael Snedic, our photographic leader on this trip. We have become friends over the years and I enjoy his company. I don’t know that I need a lot of his tutoring anymore, but he does take me to interesting places. Tomorrow he and I will head off in the car to some of the local sites for some photography before our official tour starts with a dinner tomorrow night.
While, I am in Queenstown, I will be able to repost my blog uploads onto Facebook. However, once I am on the ship, I will only be able to upload posts through my satellite phone and I won’t have access to Facebook. If you have been following my travels on Facebook and would like to follow this journey, please go to htttps://wilsons.id.au and subscribe so that you will get an email update when ever I upload a post.