One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, Oh, the Places You’ll Go, begins with the stanza,
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!”
For the last two weekends, I have had the great honor of exploring two new places throughout New Zealand. Akaroa, which is located on the Banks Peninsula, just south east of Christchurch, is the first place we chose to spend a weekend. Image 1 captures some of the rolling hills and low clouds seen from the passenger seat on the drive to the Peninsula.
Image 2 features stunning views of Akaroa from the top of one of the roads, looking down into the bay with the town visible to the right.
In image 3, you can admire the views from the bottom of Mortlock’s Mistake, a 2.5 hour trip through tropical jungle and over one-person capacity bridges.
The waterfall in image 4 was just down a small trail that branched off of Mortlock’s Mistake. Our group almost passed the waterfall by without knowing it was there, but one observant wanderer luckily found the hidden falls.
We ended our experience in Akaroa with a penguin tour by Pohatu Penguins. Here, a little white flippered penguin is shown in image 5. Originally injured as a young chick, this penguin was taken in and is being raised at the penguin breeding site.
We began our 2nd weekend at Lake Tekapo, where we admired the Church of the Good Shepherd, shown in figure 6 and 7. The church looks out onto Lake Tekapo with easily accessible pathways down to the water's edge.
In image 8 and 9, Lake Tekapo and all its beauty and peacefulness is shown, with a lookout bench to rest and enjoy the view.
Just a short drive away, Aoraki Mt. Cook stands at the top of Lake Pukaki as shown in Image 10. This image was taken out of the car window, almost by accident.
After grabbing dinner in Lake Tekapo, Images 11 and 12 are views from our trip back to Lake Pukaki during the golden hour.
Mt. Cook can be seen in the next two images as the sun set to the west and cast its last remaining rays on the tallest peak in New Zealand.
My final two images might require your computer to be at its full brightness in order to be properly appreciated. Here, the Milky Way and its many constellations are shown at the base of Lake Pukaki. You can see the southern cross constellation in the final photo in the top left hand corner.
I have been blessed with the ability to travel around this country each weekend and to be able to appreciate each wonderful view. If adventure ever takes you to the south island of New Zealand, Akaroa, Lake Tekapo and Mt. Cook are not to be missed.
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<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:2.35pt; margin-right:12.3pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.0pt"><span style="line-height:115%">One fun fact about myself is that I am not sure the exact date of my birthday! Before I was adopted, I was a baby in China and my parents could not keep me because of the one child policy. Therefore, as was the way of many families in China in the 90s, I was left on the steps of the police station. When the police found me, they estimated my age. This estimate is the age on my birth certificate and on every official document. It is interesting to think about my birthday being one day before it is written, or maybe a few days after!</span></p>