Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 21

Day 21: January 28, 2014

Today is the last leg of my trip home and something like back to the future.  I leave South Korea at 11:40 am on Tuesday and arrive at Chicago, Illinois at 9:00 am on Tuesday.  The flight was about 13 hours.  I had the same good service I had on other Korean Air flights.  I left at -9F from Chicago and returned to -9F.  In between my ranged from a high of 95F in Cairns, to a cool 70F in Queensland, to 40F in Inchon.  These were all daytime temperatures.

I returned home and began the process of unpacking and preparing for work which began the next day.

Trip Statistics



Travel Days
Flight (Jet) Hours
Flight (Prop) Hours
Helicopter Hours
Distance Traveled by Jet
Airports (non duplicated count)
Jet Boat Hours
Bus Hours
Cab Hours
Walking Hours

Cities/Towns visited

—Inchon, South Korea
—Brisbane, Australia
—Cairns, Australia
—Port Douglas, Australia
Mossman, Australia
Kuranda, Australia
—Sydney, Australia
—Christchurch, New Zealand
—Hokitika, New Zealand
—Arthur Pass, New Zealand
—Makarora, New Zealand
—Wanaka, New Zealand
—Arrowtown, New Zealand
—Queenstown, New Zealand—


Green Island
Norman Reef
Michaelmas Cay

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 18

Day 18: January 25, 2014

This morning I was greeted to a large market around the lake in Queenstown.  Artisans brought their handicraft and the prices were much more reasonable for many of the same items I saw in stores throughout New Zealand.  They also had unique items.  It was quite fun looking at the wares and talking with the vendors.  Later there was music in a grassy area where people were taking in the sun.  A few other brave souls ventured into the lake swimming.

There was a hamburger place that was constantly busy called Ferberger.  The burgers were good.  They also had a bakery where the wares looked delicious.  I had a beef and cheese pie.  Meat pies are popular in New Zealand.

Today was my last full day in Queenstown.  Tomorrow I begin my three day trek back home.

Picture of bakery
Picture of burger place
Picture of fancy soap

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 17

Day 17: January 24, 2014

I cancelled the last two days of my hiking trip because of my sinus infection and stayed in Queenstown to recover.  I have been on antibiotics and needed the rest.  However, I couldn’t stay in my hotel room, as nice as it was for me.  I walked around the town some more and the lake taking pictures and enjoying the warm weather, about 18C or 68F.  I found a relatively old cemetery and took some pictures there.  It was interesting to note that the European settlement of New Zealand was much later than that in the United States so the grave sites don’t go back much before the 1860’s.

Picture of church
Anglican Church
Picture of Queenstown street
Shopping in Queenstown
Picture of tombstone
Queenstown Cemetery

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 16

Day 16: January 23, 2014

Today we had the option of spending a free day in Queenstown or hiking.  I was fighting a sinus infection so decided to skip the hike.  It had rained the night before in Queenstown, but in the mountains it snowed leaving them speckled above a certain height, and this is their summer!

Queenstown is beautiful, vibrant, and full of young people.  It seemed to be a significant crossroad for New Zealand’s South Island.   The town has lots of restaurants, bars, and shops.  With it nestled on Lake Wakatipu, there are many water activities and in the winter, snow skiing.  I walked around the town most of the day then took a gondola midway up a mountain to catch the sunset.  All was working well until clouds started coming in and blocked out the sun during the early stages of sunset.  Oh well, the scenery was still beautiful.

Picture of Lake Wakatipu
View of Lake Wakatipu
Picture of snow on mountains
Freshly Snow Covered Mountains
Picture of sunset on Lake Wakatipu
Sunset on Lake Wakatipu
Picture looking down on Queenstown
Queenstown from Above

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 13

Day 13: January 20, 2014

Today I took a helicopter to the Frans Joseph Glacier.  Once there, we hiked on, in and around the glacier for two hours.  We were kept warm by wearing heavy rubberized boots with spikes attached for walking, gloves, hat, heavy coats and rain paints to keep dry.  It was an interesting and rewarding experience.  During our visit to the glacier, chunks of ice were dropping from a cliff.  It sounded like an explosion each time it happened.  Thankfully we were not near the dropping ice.

Picture of helicopter
Helicopter to Frans Joseph Glacier
Picture of Frans Joseph Glacier
Frans Joseph Glacier
Picture of falling glacier
Falling Glacier



















I returned early and rested on a park bench while waiting for my colleagues who took a hike up the mountains overlooking the glacier.  By the sounds of their day, I had the easier trip.

We headed out from the Frans Joseph Glacier to Bruce Bay.  Another beautiful deserted beach along the west coast.  There was a Maori tradition that those who died were put onto floating devices and sent out to sea.  Now, people write notes on rocks along the shore.  Some are of the type that “Kilroy was here.”  Others expressed sentiments of love for one another, memories of lost ones, etc.  After our brief visit here we were on the road again to another short hike and beach.

Picture of rocks on Bruce Bay
Bruce Bay
Picture of Bruce Bay Shore
Bruce Bay Shore




















We walked through a swampy forrest.  The scenery was amazing.  There was a type of tree that was as straight as an arrow and grew to about 800 years.  Even here in the swamp, the water was crystal clear reflecting back to the sky.  The swamp was a brief walk to another beach on the west coast.  It was exceptionally beautify and amazing to me to see so much deserted beach.  The water was cold and there are only 4 million inhabitants in the entire South Island.

Picture of swamp ferns
Swamp Ferns
Picture of path in swamp
Swamp Walk



















We walked through a swampy forrest.  The scenery was amazing.  There was a type of tree that was as straight as an arrow and grew to about 800 years.  Even here in the swamp, the water was crystal clear reflecting back to the sky.  The swamp was a brief walk to another beach on the west coast.  It was exceptionally beautify and amazing to me to see so much deserted beach.  The water was cold and there are only 4 million inhabitants in the entire South Island.

Picture of west coast beach
West Coast Beach



















We pushed on to our accommodations.  There were mountains surrounding us and cows grazing in the pastures around us.

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 12

Day 12: January 19, 2014

Sunday is the beginning of my adventure through Active New Zealand.  They are a first rate company providing guides, accommodations and other logistics for active adventures in New Zealand, South America, and the Himalayas.

This started out to be a long day.  Out first stop was at Kura Tawhiti or Castle Hill.  The scenery was extraordinary.  The “Lord of the Rings” was filmed not far from here on private land.  The area where we walked and the large folders were once the bottom of a large ocean.

After about an hour hike, we drove on to have lunch at Arthur’s Pass and more beautiful scenery.  Through the back window of the Chapel, one could see a beautiful waterfall through the forrest background.  We hiked a short distance to the waterfall.  The water was crystal clear.

We drove some more and stopped at the Devil’s Punchbowl.  This was another waterfall, but much larger than we had seen so far.  We had to hike up a little in the mountain to get a good view.  If you stare straight at the waterfall for a little then move your eyes horizontally to the right or left, the mountain looks like it is shifting up, an optical illusion.  On our way back down we saw red rocks.  They were red because of an algae on them.  We also saw some wild Kia Parrots.  The feathers on their wings were beautiful, but I couldn’t capture a picture of them.  The are supposed to be among the top four intelligent animals on the planet.

We continued our drive seeing more waterfalls and large river beds with small streams running in them.  During rains these river beds fill up with water.  We are in the middle of summer and most of the snow melt has occurred.  One interesting feature was a water fall along the road that was directed over the road to keep traffic flowing.

Out last stop before arriving at our accommodations for the night was Hokitika, a small town on the west coast that was nearly deserted.  I picked up some green stone (New Zealand Jade) for my wife here.  The prices turned out to be the best of any place we visited.

Pictures of Castle Hill
Castle Hill
Picture of Castle Hill, NZ
Landscape at Castle Hill
Picture of waterfall at Arthur's Pass
Waterfall at Arthur’s Pass
Picture of waterfall at Devil's Punch Bowl
Devil’s Punch Bowl
Picture of Kea Parrot
Kea Parrot
Picture of River Beds
River Beds
Picture of beach at Hokitika, NZ
Beach at Hokitika

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 11

Day 11: January 18, 2014

I arrived at Christchurch at 1:30 am.   When I arrived at the hotel, they didn’t have my registration on file.  This is the only hotel I booked through my New Zealand guide and they forgot to make the reservation.  Lucky for me they had room and I found my way go a bed.

I slept in late then took some time to walk in the neighborhood of Christ Church near the hotel.  I stayed in the part of the city that was less impacted by the earthquake of a few years ago, but there was some damage.  This part of the city was residential and very nice.  There were lots of flowers in peoples yards and along the streets.  Here are a few shots of Christchurch, NZ.

Picture of hotel
Accommodation in Christchurch
Picture of house
House turned into hotel
Picture of Driveway
Hidden Elegance
Picture of wedding
Wedding in Christchurch
Picture of school
St. Andrews College
A private high school
Picture of administration building
St. Andrews College