The Ewing Five -
RSS

Recent Posts

When did the movies become a bargain?
You're Not Special
Where Boston beats Sydney #1 -- Musical Theater
Where Sydney beats Boston #1…
An orchestra conducted beautifully...

Categories

April 2011
August 2010
August 2011
December 2010
December 2011
February 2011
January 2011
January 2012
July 2010
July 2011
June 2012
March 2011
May 2011
May 2012
November 2010
November 2011
October 2010
October 2011
September 2010
September 2011
powered by

My Blog

God’s brochure for earth…

I imagine at some point God’s marketing director was thinking about creating a new brochure to show off the best that earth has to offer.  Being a good marketer she wanted the very best pictures possible, at which point, God likely said, “leave it to me, I’ll just create the South Island of New Zealand.”  It is that incredible.  From the rolling agricultural hills around Christchurch, to the mountains and glacial lakes around Queenstown, our 2,000 km drive around the island generated more “wows” from the backseat than I’ve heard in any other place around the world.
 
Our adventure began in Christchurch, a lovely colonial town that has been absolutely devastated by two huge earthquakes in the past year (more on that below).  After our flight in we only spent about 12 hours before we headed out to Queenstown.  Before we left, we vowed to return, and we visited the Antarctic expedition center.  In addition to the being the second largest city in New Zealand, Christchurch is the forward base for nearly all Antarctic expeditions, so the airport is home to the US Air Force’s operation deep freeze – appropriately named.  At the Antarctic Expedition Center we visited with friendly penguins, we went into the ice-room with sub-zero temperatures and a simulated storm – tons of fun in shorts – and we took a ride in a Hagglund tracked vehicle (self-explanatory picture above) to really get the full idea of what a trip to Antarctica would be like.
 
The drive from ChCh (what the locals call Christchurch) to Queenstown was just an appetizer of things to come.  Our first stop was a glacial lake called Lake Tekapo.  The color of the water here is so blue, almost Tiffany blue, it’s hard to believe.  I kept looking around thinking I was actually living in a postcard.  From Lake Tekapo it’s another couple hours through the mountains to Queenstown.  And, when I say through the mountains, it’s hard to explain exactly how steep, wonderful and amazing the roads through the passes are.  And this was just the first of many… the road to Milford Sound was even more amazing!
 
Queenstown is accurately described as the adventure capital of the world – and it lives up to that reputation.  This is where bungee-jumping originated, in the winter it’s a ski-town, in the summer it’s adventure central.  There are jet-boats, para-gliding, hard-core mountain biking, giant mountain swings, mountain and rock climbing, kayaking… pretty much anything you can imagine.  If you can dream it up, someone will take your money and help you do it in Queenstown.  Wendy threatened to bungee jump at one point, but I think the threat wasn’t that real (although she is quite accomplished at the mountain luge).  The one can’t miss attraction in Queenstown is the shot-over jet.  I won’t even try to explain it, just go to this website and watch the video.  We have our own video of Alex nearly falling out of the boat, but you’ll have to come visit us in Boston to see that one.
 
The drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound is remote, beautiful and breathtaking.  Especially amazing is the last 10km as the road winds through a 1km tunnel with a 15% slope, drops 1,000 meters down the side of the mountain through countless switchbacks in a clear attempt to test the upper limit on my blood-pressure.  The four-hour drive culminates in a rain forest glacial fiord so picturesque we had to sign a waiver before our boat-cruise up the sound in case we ended up in a magazine photo shoot (not really, but it was that amazing).  Milford Sound gets so much rain in the course of the year, that there is a 20 foot layer of fresh water on top of the salt-water in the sound.  The seals and seabirds seem to enjoy the sound's beauty as well.  Absolutely breathtaking.
 
No trip to the Fiordland national forest would be complete without a visit to the glow-worms at Te Anu.  I couldn’t find a picture that really does this place justice; imagine you’re in a cave, it’s pitch black and the roof of the cave has so many glowing worms on it that it looks like the night sky on the clearest night you’ve ever seen.  The glow worms really don’t do much, but they are remarkable, unique and downright bizarre. 
 
Franz Josef glacier and Fox glacier sit in what is the wettest place in the world (at least that I’ve experienced), and it is an absolute exercise in contrasts.  The two small coastal villages are in the heart of the rain forest, BUT, just a couple minutes walking up the mountain and you come to incredible, massive, ancient glaciers.  Weird, right.  I never would have thought that there would be glaciers near a rain forest, but in this case, the glaciers are actually IN the rain forest.  And in less than 30 minutes you’re at the beach.  Unfortunately our time in Franz Josef was defined by rain, rain and more rain… it is after all a rain forest.  So, we didn’t get a chance to helicopter up to the top if the glacier, but we donned our duck-like rain gear and trudged up the mountain to the face of the glacier.  Pretty amazing stuff.
 
Leaving the wet of Franz Josef behind us it was time to finish our clockwise circle of the South Island and head back to ChCh.  On our way we stopped to view the wild and unpredictable Tasman Sea.  The boys figured if they started swimming West from that beach, they’d hit Australia eventually… they didn’t try.  We had a little more time on our second visit Christchurch and we made sure to stop and look at the South Pacific (two oceans on opposite sides of the island in the course of about three hours).  We spent time exploring Christchurch’s beautiful botanical garden including a short cruise (on a Venice style gondola) on the Avon river.  It was easy to see why the people are so attached to their city, why they have been so devastated by the earthquakes that have destroyed much of the city in the past year – and why they’re committed to rebuilding better than before.  We were able to get close to the “red zone” which is the central part of the city surrounding the cathedral that is cordoned off and remains unstable, but we didn’t go in.  Right at the edge of the red zone there is a restaurant where you can look through the window and see the tables set for an elegant lunch, some tables with half-eaten meals and half-full glasses of wine on them, as it was abandoned and never touched again at the time the earthquake hit nearly a year ago – it was pretty eerie, and a bit heartbreaking. 
 
On the last night of our amazing New Zealand adventure we went to sleep in our hotel not knowing that we would learn first-hand how much earthquake activity Christchurch has seen in the past 18 months.  In fact since the first major quake in September 2010 there have been 9,907 measurable earthquakes in the Christchurch area (learn more here).  In the middle of the night we were shaken awake by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale.  As perspective, that’s not nearly as powerful as the 7.1 quake from September 2010 or the 9.0 Fukushima quake, but it was among the 50 +/- most powerful quakes experienced in Christchurch, it was enough to wake us up, and certainly enough to make us all happy we’re back safely on solid Sydney ground with the US in our sights in just under a week. 
 
With the exception of our rumbling exit, New Zealand was a 10/10.  Queenstown lives up to all the hype, the mountains are breathtaking, the people are fantastic and it is like nowhere else on earth. 
 
I feel so lucky to have seen God’s brochure.

14 Comments to God’s brochure for earth…:

Comments RSS
Carol Ewing on Saturday, January 21, 2012 2:16 PM
Thank you all for your wonderful blogs! You are great writers. I am blessed to be able to share your experiences online. I am looking forward to your return to Boston -- I love all the hugs.
Reply to comment


paperwritingpro.com on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 7:49 AM
Gods brochure for earth keep making and improving the better marketing director was thinking about new brochure. The visited with friendly penguins with this informative ewingfive blog for great simulated strom.
Reply to comment


ebook writing service on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 12:02 PM
We have fulfilled thousands of local students studying in these universities and other universities in the UK by submitting them best quality online ebook writing service. Our expert team of experts aims at providing the premium quality ebook writing service to the university scholars in the UK.
Reply to comment


elite assignment help on Saturday, October 13, 2018 4:34 AM
Diverse sustenance and their seeds all have their very own seed. Every one of these seeds are helping them in the development of these seeds. After the development of these seeds we find solid however unique sustenance. Be that as it may, on the off chance that we never found their genuine seeds then its hard to discover their seeds.
Reply to comment


Assignment Help on Friday, November 09, 2018 10:32 AM
Your blogs are amazing and I am glad to read them. Thanks for sharing the tips and samples of our assignments. They are useful in knowing the key points that can increase the value of an assignment. And a special thanks to the My Assignment Help Australia for helping the students 24/7. You can email us at Info@Myassignmenthelpau.Com or Phone Number: +61-2-8005-8227
Reply to comment


My Assignment Help on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 12:49 PM
My Assignment Help being one of the most active Assignment Help websites has a pool of over 5000+ assignment experts from Australia and USA. They are highly qualified and skilled professional writers who have vast experience in writing assignments. Each My Assignment Help expert is chosen after rigorous testing and has to prove his academic credentials.
Reply to comment


write essays on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 9:35 PM
Get on board with Rushessay professional essay writers for essay writing service USA & essay help, get amazing discount on you all orders of essay writing!
Reply to comment


essayhelptoday.com on Tuesday, July 02, 2019 7:55 PM
Looking for best essay writers in USA? Look no further because we provide trusted essay help to students that's why they approach us for writing assistance.
Reply to comment


ultra keto boost reviews on Monday, September 30, 2019 9:31 AM
Them three are Sodium BHB, Calcium BHB, and Magnesium BHB. The main thing that brings ketosis vigorously is the BHB inside the human body. The utilization of outer portion chops down and begins the generation of vitality right away and weight reduction is than on rise. Ketosis separates quicker.
Reply to comment


Bhaiya dooj on Wednesday, October 02, 2019 6:09 AM
In South India that triumph of the perfect over the ordinary is commended in a particular manner. Individuals wake up before dawn set up a glue by blending Kumkum in oil, symbolizing blood and in the wake of breaking an unpleasant natural product that speaks to the leader of the evil presence King that was crushed by Krishna, apply that blend on their brows. At that point they have an oil shower utilizing sandalwood glue.
Reply to comment


Do my Assignment on Saturday, October 12, 2019 8:41 AM
Get the quality assistance of highly qualified writers and experts under Buy Assignment who have PhD and Master Degree in their respective fields.
Reply to comment


4k video player on Thursday, October 17, 2019 11:38 AM
I need to disclose to you this astonishing most recent films application likewise present on Google Play store with high evaluating. Clients making wonderful surveys on this motion pictures application on the Google Play store Review.
Reply to comment


Stuart Broad on Monday, October 28, 2019 6:48 AM
Your blog is very amazing and interesting. I am very glad to read your blog. I hope you will soon share your next post about this discussion. Thanks for sharing and keep sharing. Great selection of garage racking
Reply to comment


spss help on Saturday, November 02, 2019 7:06 AM
Great content. This was really valuable experience. Thank you so much for sharing this informative article. spss help
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Website:
Comment:
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment
Website provided by  Vistaprint
Website
provided by Vistaprint