Day 31 - Antarctica is just over there!

Trip Start Dec 15, 2005
Trip End Apr 02, 2006

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Monday, January 16, 2006

It rained last night. We forgot to close the upper vent window and awoke to a partially wet comforter. Jim had closed it halfway through the night thank God or we would have been really wet. Today's intention was to get as much sightseeing done as we could and still make it to a holiday park in Invercargill. We've had a slight problem with our auxiliary battery. It doesn't seem to carry a charge and are afraid our food in the fridge will go bad. We have to have it checked in Invercargill since it's the biggest and only city (if you can call it that) in southern NZ.

Once we got on the road we knew we'd have to change our plans according to the weather. In some areas of the sky it was blue and down the way it was gray as it could get meaning only one thing- rain. We thought we'd get as much done as we could. First stop, Purakaunui Falls which turned out to be a waterfall in the native forest. When we arrived, it was raining, but thought, what the hell, it's only a bit of water and was a short 10 minute hike. Once we arrived at the falls we looked at each other and frowned. You call this a waterfall? I'd say it was only a 12 foot waterfall and it was pretty, but hey, we live in Hawaii, where the falls are 10x bigger. We weren't impressed and drove onward to Curio Bay, where the fossilized forest was located stopping at Niagara Falls Café for an awesome breakfast. The fossilized forest dates back to the Jurassic period over 180 million years ago. It sits right at the waters edge and when low tide occurs you can see fossilized tree trunks laying on their sides and the holes were the trees root systems once laid. It's one of the very few fossilized forests in the world which has been undisturbed. It was formed by at least 4 volcanic eruptions which occurred over a 20,000 year period. Layer by layer adding itself up and then over a certain period of time more recently the ocean has revealed it. It truly is amazing! I feel like I'm getting a history lesson.

We then headed over to Slope Point, the southern most point on the South Island of New Zealand. It was a 15 minute walk to the point in howling cold wing. You could lean back at an angle and the wind would hold you up. I've never felt that kind of wind before in my lifetime. Stewart Island lay directly south of us and then, Antarctica. Check out the video on that one!

OK, enough could. We were headed for Invercargill and on the way we were greeted by a nice little hail storm. Wind, rain and hail, all in a days weather pattern. Not! Since arriving in Invercargill we've been told this summer is not exactly normal. It's been changing the past few years. This couldn't have anything to do with global warming could it? Hmmmm...

So, we're here sitting in a very nice restaurant café in Invecargill avoiding the weather. Since we've been here we've seen sun, rain, wind and hail out the window. Just another day in Southern NZ.
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