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The South Island - New Zealand - 1992

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FC: THE SOUTH ISLAND NEW ZEALAND 1992

1: In early February, 1993, Matt and Pete (Matt's dad, otherwise known as Professor P.L. Silveston) arrived in Christchurch after a flight from Singapore. They were met at the Airport by their host, the Head of the Chemical Engineering Department at Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand. Pete had been awarded a fellowship by Canterbury. The Fellowship required the reciprient to spend a term at the University and to participate in activities of the host department. The fellowship provided travel expenses from the home university to Christchurch, support for local travel in New Zealand, namely visits to other universities or research centers, use of a Canterbury University residence, actually a small cottage on the university campus, and a generous living allowance. The fellowship is restricted to New Zealand or Canadian academics and is not widely known (The donor was a Canadian mining engineer who amassed a fortune working in New Zealand prior to WW II). Pete learned of the Fellowship from a Canterbury professor he met at an international engineering conference a year earlier and who advised him to apply. Because the availability of such an award is not widely known. winning of the Fellowship is not a significant honor. Pete suggested Matt take a break from his studies at Georgia Tech to spend an academic year at Canterbury University. Matt wasted no time in accepting the suggestion. The cottage allotted to Pete, though small,, had two 2nd floor bedrooms so Pete suggested Matt stay with him until he could find digs with other Canterbury students. Matt stayed in the cottage for about a month until he moved in with a group sharing an off campus apartment. During the first days, Matt registered as an Engineering student, while Pete got acquainted with members of the Canterbury Chemical Engineering Department. In the few days before classes started, the travelers walked around Christchurch. The campus is at the edge of the city so a bus was needed to travel into town.

2: AKAROA Matt and Pete's 2nd weekend in Christchurch began with a bus ride to Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula, southwest of the city for a long weekend hike over the Akaroa circuit....a walk highly recommended by Pete's Canterbury colleagues. The circuit has several hostels with bunks and where meals are served. Although, Matt & Pete got there late in the evening without bedding they got bunks and were able to borrow blankets. They had no meal utensils, but the locals helped out and they were able to get breakfast before starting on the circuit. On the right.... the view from the hostel toward the Akaroa Bay. The circuit started from the hostel, climbed up over a grassy hill....opened to spectacular vistas as shown on the following page. Below are photos of Matt on the climb up from the hostel and near the top with a view of the Akaroa Bay in the background. | On the bottom..... a look at the entrance to the Akaroa Bay from the hilltop in the morning.

3: The trail then dropped to the shore disclosing a sea cave (right) and a steep, rugged coast (Below left). As the trail continued along the coast and began to climb, the hikers came upon a water fall (below right). | Telephoto shots of the entrance to Akaroa Bay from the hill top.

4: Matt descending the trail above Laverick's Bay on the Akaroa circuit. On our two day hike we encountered only a handful of hikers. Photo below shows Matt resting on the trail. | View of the cliff edge on Laverick's Bay. (Above). To the right, the shore across the Bay. Below.....Seals in the seaweed and rocks along the shore. To the right, a cormorant about to take off. | Pete perched on a cliff edge during the descent to Laverick's Bay. Below, another view of the Bay.

5: Matt & Pete stayed in a quaint hostel just off the beach at the end of Laverick's Bay. The hostel had a unique bath......... A cast iron tub perch over a fire pit. For a warm or hot bath, the bather had to build a fire and regulate the temperature by emptying a bucket (s) of cold water into the tub. Neither Matt or Pete tested the system. Pete did try swimming in the Bay. The photo on the above left shows Pete belly surfing.. The next day the hikers climbed the trail out of Laverick's Bay (Photos on the left and below). The trail crossed a creek flowing through a grove of typical New Zealand trees. Below....... Matt on the trail through the grove and Matt looking back at Laverick's Bay from the top of the trail. | PORT HILLS These low hills, remnants of an extinct volcano, are close to the Canterbury Campus allowing Matt & Pete to make several day trips for their spectacular scenery.. The photos below and on the next page give a glimpse of the views.

6: Matt & Pete hiking in Christchurch's Port Hills. On the right, Pete with Lyttelon Sound in the background. | To the left...... the coast of the Banks Peninsular on the South Pacific. Above.... another view of the Lyttelton Sound. Below on the left, a glimpse of Christchurch from the Port Hills. Directly below..... several views of the Port Hills.

7: Further photos from the Port Hills above the Canterbury University campus. Notice the flock of sheep on the right below. | More sheep..... You can't get away from them.... they are everywhere on the South Island. Right: Pete surveying the Port Hills. | Above and to the right.......Christchurch harbor and the hills south of the harbor as viewed from the Port Hills.

8: KAIKOURA Along the South Island's east coast, some 70 miles north of the city, it is just a day trip from Christchurch, Matt and Pete took a rented car there for snorkeling and dolphin watching. Once in Kaikoura, they boarded a cruise boat for Dolphin watching and snorkeling. | On the left, a dolphin pack swimming along side the ship. Right, Matt in the water with a snorkeling mask getting ready to communicate with the Dolphins. | Snorkelers from our ship swimming along a rocky shore | Above....... a dolphin clearing the water astern of the cruise boat. | Below and to the right: Pete attempting to photograph what he thought was a penguin......... and the bird. | The Kaikoura shoreline with a school of dolphins in the foreground.

9: HAMNER SPRINGS Matt and Pete made a weekend trip to this hot springs resort in the rugged hills due north of Christchurch. Once there, they watched bungy jumping from a high bridge over the Waiau River. Neither had the nerve to try a free fall from the bridge with just a rubber sash tied around your ankles. It was expensive too. Instead, they climbed the hills above the river and took a half-day hike. The photos below are from that hike. | Above left...... Pete posing along a trail above the Hamner Springs resort area. On the right, the view from the trail toward the Southern Alps illuminated in the afternoon sun. The view northward from the trail (Left below). On the right below, a directions sign along the trail. The dry brush and grass are typical for he hill country northwest of Christchurch.

10: ARTHUR'S PASS This pass, the highest in New Zealand's Southern Alps, connects Christchurch with New Zealand's west coast. One of Pete's Canterbury colleagues, John Peet, gave Pete the keys to his cottage in Arthur's Pass, a tiny village just under the summit of the pass. We took our rented auto on a long weekend to stay in the cottage, hike in the alpine area and then continue to the west coast for a short visit. The photos on this and the following page chronicle that outing.. | On the right, the view from Arthur's Pass. On the left, the Punchbowl Falls in the Arthur's Pass National Park. | Right...... Alpine Peaks of the Souther Alps from Arthur's Pass | Left....... Looking West into the valley on the Pass highway. Below left: A snow bowl near the summit of Arthur's Pass. Just below, snow in a small valley in the National Park.

11: Chasm located in the Arthur's Pass National Park viewed from the highway. On the right: a lower, grassy peak in the Park with some lingering ice. | The Bay shown to the right was the terminus of the Arthur's Pass road on the west coast near the village of Paroa. | Photos below: Pete and Matt chatting with locals on the beach at the end of the Arthur's Pass highway. | From Paroa, Matt & Pete drove north along the coast for about 25 miles through the town of Greymouth to the Paparoa National Park. The photo on the right typifies the rugged coastline.

12: The photographs below and on the next page were taken in or nearby the Paparoa National Park. Matt and Pete are wandering among the resting and sun-bathing seals. As can be seen the native seals are not "spooked" by people. If you approach to close, an animal will raise its head (below) and "bark". They are big animals and they can bite. In the bottom right corner is an overall view of the rocky shore where the seals congregate.

13: More coastal scenery in the Paparoa Park below. Right: Matt fiddling with a washed up fish trap. | A "field" (shore) of dozing seals below....... | Below right and left: dozing seals up close | Rock table along the coast (left). We stayed a night on the West Coast and drove back over Arthur's Pass to Christchurch, stopping a while the near the coast to look at the unusual tropical rain forest.

14: Left above,,,,,,, on the Arthur's Pass Highway looking west towards the Tasman Sea. On the right.......the view east towards Christchurch. | Devil's Punchbowl Waterfall....... the whole falls on the left and a close-up on the right. Below: a view from the Pass eastwards on the return crossing. | Pine forests of the Arthur's Pass region: new growth on the left and old growth on the right

15: Matt and Pete stopped shortly after the Pass for a short hike. The photos below are from that hike. They show the views from the hills or rather mountains of the area | As the pictures above show, the "tops" area along the Pass are quite arid. This can be also seen in the local plants and flowers. Below are two photos of some of the common flowers.

16: CANTERBURY UNIVERSITY The Canterbury campus was designed to look like an old U.K. institution, think Oxford or Cambridge. However, inside the building walls, it was functional. Indeed, the University buildings and even the grounds look like those in Canada or the USA built in the 1st half of the 20th Century. . Life on the Canterbury campus was certainly relaxed. Classes were 45 to 90 minutes long with about 15 minutes to change rooms. Teatime takes up about 45 minutes in mid morning and there is afternoon tea at about 3 PM of about the same duration. Faculty and students have separate tea rooms. The faculty room is outfitted with tables, sofa and stuffed chairs..... the room is packed during teatime. There is a pub on campus, perhaps faculty only. Custom is for perhaps the entire teaching staff of the University to gather in the pub on Fridays after classes end for a roisterous time that lasts well into the evening. The Pub on Fridays seemed always jammed with drinkers. Compared to Canada and the U.S.A., university life in Kiwi Land seems much more pleasurable. For the faculty, there seem to be little pressure to engage in research. There was no "Publish or perish "angst". | Arthur's Pass scenery driving from west to east. All of these photos are from the west side of the Pass where the highlands are kept verdant by the moist air sweeping eastward from the Tasman Sea.

17: MOUNT COOK HIKE Matt and Pete took a long weekend in March, 1963, to drive through the center of the South Island to the Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park for a hike to the foot of the Tasman Glacier descending from Mt. Cook, New Zealand's highest peak. We stayed overnight outside the Park, entering in the early morning. The photos on this page are from that trip. | Pete at the beginning of the hike to the glacier. Below........ In the afternoon a "cirque" appear in the sky. On the right: Matt skipping flat stones on a small lake with the "cirque above in the sky. | Below and to the below left: Matt skipping flat stones on a small pond formed below the Tasman glacier descending from Mt. Cook | Gravel moraine and lake below the glacier on the left. Pete snoozing during a rest break on the hike to the glacier base.

18: Photos from the hiking trail of Mt. Cook (?) and other high peaks in the Southern Alps. | MILFORD SOUND TRACK One of New Zealand's premier walking attractions...... the Track is so popular that access is controlled and one has to write to an agency to get a place in a trekking group, just one group of 15 to 20 walkers is permitted each day of the season. Pete applied to take part in a trek and got a spot at the end of March just before the season ended at the start of Winter. Wiser from earlier trips, Matt & Pete packed eating utensils and blankets for the trek.....of course they were unnecessary in the hostels along the 4 day trek. They traveled to the Southland through Dunedin and then onto Queenston, Photos below and on the next page are from that car ride..

19: The above photos show Lake Te Anau looking north from Te Anau Downs (left) and looking south from the start of the Milford Sound Track at the end of the arm. | To reach the start of the Track, Matt & Pete boarded a boat in Te Anau Downs that traversed the northern arm of Lake Te Anau. | The 1st day of the hike led through a grassy plain into a narrowing valley. The blue hills are an effect from a hazy, overcast sky. | The hiking group had a Kiwi leader or guide who pretty well left every one to walk at there own space. Matt & Pete generally lagged behind. After several hours and after valley began to narrow we reached the first hostel where there was a kitchen to cook a meal and there were sleeping bunks (the hikers carried their own bedding). The pictures below show the Track as the valley became narrower and eventually turned into a ravine. | Climbing began on the 2nd day.

20: Near mid way on the Milford Sound Track. On the right, the trail begins to climb towards a high ridge that separates the two streams or small rivers that runs along the Track' Below left and right..... Matt resting on the trail. The track is notorious for lousy, wet weather. Fortunately, Our trek enjoyed beautiful, warm weather except for haze on the 1st day and the usual morning mist. | The 2nd day on the hike ended at a hostel below the ridge. After leaving the 2nd hostel, Matt and Pete climbed along a a steep trail for over an hour to the high ridge (Mackinnon Pass) overlooking the separate valleys. | Photo above: Pete on the ridge. Not shown are the gaggle of Keas....a green-grey parrot..... that inhabit the ridge and steal food or objects left on the ground or on a backpack. They were not afraid of people so you had to swing a backpack at them to force them to fly off.

21: Above: two further views from Mackinnon Pass at about the half way point on the Track, On the left...... snow covered summits above the Track. On the right above, the view into the valley we were about to descend into. Directly to the right: Pete on the ridge with Milford Sound in the far background. | A spectacular waterfall became visible as the hikers climbed down the steep trail (below on left). Reaching the valley floor, Matt & Pete took a side trail to the foot of the falls (Photo directly below). The last hostel on the Track was just after the falls. | After the last hostel, the track is fairly flat and easy waking. Small streams emerge from the steep valley walls (Photo to the right).

22: After a leisurely walk along the Track for several miles, Matt and Pete arrived finally at Milford Sound....a small grassy plain with a few wooden houses, a beach and a parking area. On the way, the Track crosses the river that runs alongside through about the length of the valley. Below: Matt crossing the Arthur River on a cable bridge, Below on the right, a small peak on the Sound bathed in late afternoon light. | Below....... Views down Milford Sound looking into a sun low in the sky. The famous (for the Kiwis) Mitre Peak appears below in the background of the photo on the left. | Above on the right: Pete marveling at the scenery somewhere along the Milford Track

23: TRIP TO THE NORTH ISLAND In early April with the Winter Term at Canterbury coming to a close and the conclusion of Pete's Fellowship, the travelers undertook a trip to the North Island. Pete's intent was to visit and give lectures at several Universities on the North Island as well as the New Zealand Coal Research Laboratory near Wellington. Matt's intent on the trip was tourism, or, perhaps adventure. Matt & Pete took the coast train along the east coast of the South Island from Christchurch, through Bleneim to Picton where they boarded the ferry crossing the Marlborough Sound and landing in Wellington. The 3-hour ferry trip is quite dramatic as the photos below suggest.

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  • By: Peter S.
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  • Title: The South Island - New Zealand - 1992
  • Matt & Pete's Visit to New Zealand's South Island in 1992
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  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Updated: 11 months ago

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