Diane Ross
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1. Ashburton  2. Canterbury Plains  3. Te Anau  4. Doubtful Sound 

5. Milford Sound  6. Route 6  7. Surf and Turf  8. Oahu Seal Colony

Day 2 - Canterbury Plains

I get a late start today because I have to wait for the book store to open.  I have not decided if it was worth the wait.  The directions to Mt. Sunday were sketchy at best.  I found more from the names of the places that were mentioned than the directions for the roads to take.

Anyway, I make my way out on to the Canterbury Plains and head for Mt. Sunday on Ashburton Gorge Road.  I am really not sure how far to go.  You can't actually get to Mt. Sunday on a road.  The road becomes dirt which I expected.  Then the dirt road narrows until it is really only one lane.  I keep following it when grass starts growing in the middle and I have to drive through a herd of cows.  I go past a couple gates that make me wonder if I have trespassed onto private land, but the scenery keeps pulling me forward.  When I get to a place that I would have to ford a steam in my rented Toyota Corolla I decide I have gone far enough and turn around.  The scenery is amazing.  Snow capped mountains surrounded by plains of scrub.  There are very few trees here.  It is mostly grassland.  The colors remind me of sunset even though it is mid-day.  This is the area were Edoras, capital of Rohan, was created for The Lord of the Rings.

The other place I visit today is the Moeraki Boulders.  The parking lot is 300 meters from the boulders.  When I first walk onto the beach I almost turn around and leave.  From a distance the boulders are unimpressive.  Just a bunch of rocks on the beach.  The are also a lot of people around them.  Nature photographers do not want lots of people milling around in their photographs.  I decide I have spent too much time in the car already today and the walk will do me good even if I can't get a decent photograph.  As I get closer the boulders get more interesting and the people start to leave.  The boulders are actually quite amazing when you get close.  I keep thinking they look like dinosaur eggs sitting on the beach, which is a pretty strange thought since I don't really know what dinosaur eggs look like.  The boulders are large and round.  Some of them have creaked apart.  Others are still partially buried in the bank at the edge of the beach.  It is getting late in the day and the lighting is wonderful.  I spend at least an hour photographing the boulders from different angles.  As I leave another large group of people come in.

I drive into Dunedin to spend the night.