Thursday, March 27, 2008

Heading Further South

Downtown Queenstown

Sally & Tony Fodie with Mary Ann

On the River into Queenstown

In Queenstown - View from our hotel

With our navigator being very efficient we made a fast getaway from Christchurch today. Through the flat lands of the Canterbury Plain and then headed up into the South Southern Alps. When we got to the lakes at the foothills of Mt. Cook, it was unfortunately overcast and as we say when in Seattle, the mountain was not out.

On towards the south to Omarana where we had a special reason to stop. Several years ago Barb and Jerry Gibbons had been visiting New Zealand and became acquainted with a lady ferry boat captain on the Auckland – Devonport run. Sally and her husband Tony became good friends resulting in the Gibbons visiting their home and eventually their new friends visited Wenatchee. Upon retirement they moved to Omarana and opening a gift store. We stopped and passed on greetings from Barb and Jerry and had a wonderful conversation before continuing to Queenstown. Sally has published a wonderful book of the great stories of being a Ferry Boat Captain (the first woman in the fleet) titled Waitemata Ferry Tales. She generously gave us a copy and I am already enjoying her humor and her history on the boats.

By that time the sun was out and the remaining drive through the gorges and over the rivers to Queenstown was great. When you see and visit Queenstown it just takes your breath away. Some of the great cities by the water, Cape Town, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Hong Kong, and Wellington all have their beauty and charms, but Mary Ann and I think that Queenstown may top the list. As you see the photos published with the blog it will make you want to visit without delay.

In the evening my timing was good, and I was able to visit the Queenstown Rotary Club. It is a club of about 80 members. They were informed of the Australian-New Zealand Rotary Pacific area child surgery project and the plans for a 2009 Winter Olympics pre-event contest to be held in the Queenstown (Otago) region in August about 6 months prior to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Quirky Driving Note: The roadway billboard advice today was "Arrive Alive - Drive to Survive.

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