Why does 100 km/hr in NZ seem so much faster than 60 mph in the US?

We took a train ride from Christchurch on the east coast, across the Southern Alps, to Graymouth, on the west coast...and back. While the scenery was spectacular, it was difficult to get any decent photos from the moving train...so we got this one at one of the stops.

There actually was an "Observation Car" on the train...it was an open car and pretty breezy and cold, so I didn't spend too much time out there.

Down the coast a bit from Christchurch there was a colony of Yellow-eyed Penguins, said to be the world's rarest penguin.  They are usually out to sea in the daytime and come ashore in the late evening.  The only exception is when they are moulting and they stay ashore and mostly in their burrows.  We stopped to see if we could get a glimpse of any of these rare birds.  Here's a shot of one standing outside his or her nest.

By moving around to another area I was able to get this shot...

They're not great photos, but they do show a view of a creature not many people get to see at all.

We spent a day in Dunedin, where we had the sleet and hail and cold weather...but we did manage to drive around the Otago Peninsula which was a dramatic drive...the road went from right down by the shore, to up on a high bluff looking out on the water.  Around one corner we saw this Royal Spoonbill browsing in the water for supper.

Since the weather was not that great in Dunedin, we spent some time at the Cadbury Chocolate Factory...Paula was thinking of going for a swim in the pile of chocolates...

From Dunedin, we went to Invercargill and to Bluff, which is the southern point of the South Island...we were closer to the South Pole that we were to the equator.

On the way from Bluff to Te Aneu (where we were going into Fiordland National Park, and Milford Sound), we saw something that made us stop and turn the car around...Yes, that was an elk...and one with a magnificent rack...

Description of our trip into Fiordland NP will have to wait...as will our great adventure yesterday on the ferry crossing the Cook Strait...the seas were 3-4 meters.

Today we are back on the North Island heading up to Auckland...where next week this phase of our adventure will end...but the next phase will begin!

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