Wednesday, April 15, 2015

NZ 7: Natural Beauty

I really shouldn't be surprised that this post has more than 40 photos. New Zealand is so full of natural beauty. Some of it is strange and beautiful, some of it is simply brilliant. Here's 40+ of my favorite beautiful nature pictures from our trip.
Lake Taupo, which was created by one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. The sky was blacked out as far as Rome and China for months afterward. 
Some of the most sublime landscapes we encountered were on our day-long hike of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, in the next several photos.
You have no idea how high up we were. It looks like a gentle descent to the left, but that ground is sooooo far below us. We were basically sitting on the edge of a huge cliff.
Yup. That's an active volcano. Let's just say even though we were exhausted, we picked up our pace to get out of the "blast area" where a sleeping hut was destroyed just a few years ago.
This water was grey. Not sure if that had to do with the volcano, but it was weird.
There was always beauty to be found outside the window on our long drives, as well.
Saw many areas along our drives that looked like this. Dotted with trees. I thought it was so strange and pretty.
Not surprisingly, the ocean was also stunning and gave us a lot of beautiful photos.

We also visited the very beautiful botanical gardens in Christchurch.

Honestly, though, nature was so prevalent in New Zealand and such a focus for us that we always found something beautiful to look at around us.
This was in Arthur's Pass, a mountainous and remote region of the South Island.
In Franz Josef, with the Aorki Mt. Cook mountains (I think) behind.
Down a windy dirt road on a 4 x 4 tour.
Another amazing and stunning adventure was our kayak trip though the Doubtful Sound. We drove a long time to get to a boat that took us across a lake and down a river, then onto a bus that was originally brought there by boat and has no access to outside roads, then back on a boat before we could even get to the kayaks. Talk about remote.
Ok, one more spot to show you guys: the Moeraki Boulders, which were created by salt deposits over thousands of years.
All I can think of right now is this art print I saw recently that reads "There is beauty in this world." So true. And I've got the pictures to prove it. :-)