So New Zealand (South Island) was great. Of course the driving was bonkers but so was the climate. I just couldn't accept that a subtropical rainforest can exist within a quarter mile of an actively moving glacier. Buckets of warmish rain falling in torrents, warm steam rising out of the jungle and oh yea, that's ice just ahead.
---Franz-Joseph Glacier Track---
Also the water situation threw me off. There's a lot of water in New Zealand whether it's coming down from the sky or in a river roiling down from a melting glacier, grey with sediment. Sometimes the rivers can be clear dark blue or bright light blue or milky turquoise blue. The lakes...well their color changes with the sun. There's even the Tasman Sea which gets a piece of all these shades of water. And I haven't mentioned the white water which cascades down a cliff face only when it rains hard and long.
grey water from the glacier above, the river is full of emulsified sediment (Mount Cook)
----Hooker Valley Track---
clear blue glacial water with no sediment ---Rob Roy Glacier Track---
milky blue rivers in the valley, a combination of glacier runoff and rainwater
clear multi-blue lake near Queenstown
slate blue Lake Tekapo
baby blue Lake Pukaki (fed by the Mt Cook glaciers)
orange Lake Wanaka
The Tasman Sea (west coast)
AND....Milford Sound (fiords)
THE BIGGEST "WOW" OF THE TRIP
This only happens when it's raining....on our way back through this canyon at the end of the day the cliffs were dry