We took the Crown Range Road from Queenstown to Wanaka, there’s a very nice lookout at the top of the road (Arrow Junction Lookout point), we stopped here and I snapped an eleven shot panorama with my FA43 (portrait mode). These panoramas always end up being ultra wide because I don’t take the second layer of pictures on top to get more resolution. Due to the massive resolution of my K-1, this picture is probably somewhere in the region of 180MP at full resolution, I didn’t process it at full resolution due to the ridiculous size I’d have to work with, and the fact that it will probably only be displayed here.
The drive up the road is fun, and the view is amazing, it’s probably even better when you get to the top of the road (Crown Range Summit), there’s a lookout point that seems a bit hairy to get to (just on the shoulder) but well worth it, actually looks like there’s a walking track there too. And with that, I think I’m done with posting my pictures from this visit of New Zealand (I’ll be adding to Flickr for a while still though), I was going to post another Throwback Thursday this week, but it’s probably a bad thing if the only content here is archived news, so I’ll save that for next week.
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One more morning in Kawaguchi-ko, and the weather was amazingly clear so we decided to head back up the Mount Kachi Kachi ropeway to get some good views of Mount Fuji before catching a bus to Tokyo. Too bad the bright daylight haze settled in by the time we got up to the lookout, it was super busy and the queue was over 20 minutes long when we joined (which wasn’t as early as I would have liked). Oh well, you have to make do with what you have, and I think we had a pretty successful morning nonetheless.
We hurried to pack all of our stuff so that we could check out and go up the ropeway as soon as possible, and even then we didn’t manage to leave until about 10.30am. Once we got to the Mount Kachi Kachi ropeway entrance we saw a line, not a good sign as at the end the wait was twenty minutes so we jumped in to reserve our spot. The line moved at a reasonable pace and eventually we got to ride up and it’s only a three minute trip.
We had a quick wander around before we went looking for our spot, which is a small clearing on the way to the Mount Tenjo shrine. There is a bench there and a good view of Mount Fuji, we aimed to recreate a romatntic pose that we did on our first trip to Japan but this time with an additional participant. After a few tries, and then a few more (thanks to the endless stream of other tourists walking past), we finally managed to get the shot we were after.
Afterward we continued along the trail toward the Mount Tenjo summit and shrine, it’s a great little stroll as the trees lining the trail are all coloured in brilliant Autumn colours (yellow at the time). The hike to Mount Mitsutoge is a further three hours (so six hours return), this will be my target the next time we are in the area as I’m not sure that I’ll ever summit Mount Fuji. I am pretty sure that there would be some excellent views of Mount Fuji along the trail as well as other nice things to look at, it was extremely busy being a Sunday with fine weather, so maybe next time we will try to visit the area on a weekday.
Finally it was time to go and head back to the station and get a bus to Tokyo, unfortunately, having not booked tickets beforehand, and this being a Sunday with very nice weather, there were a lot of people trying to get on to a set number of buses. We managed to get ourselves on to a bus headed for Tokyo station (as opposed to Shinjuku) that was supposed to take two hours. Well, it tooks four and half and little Oscar was getting pretty restless by the time we were nearing Tokyo, fortunately the super moon was coming (he loves the moon), so that was an interesting distraction for him for part of the ride.
So to conclude, never catch a bus on a Sunday (maybe Saturdays too) afternoon during peak season in Kawaguchi-ko headed for Tokyo, especially not when the weather is basically perfect (except for the lack of fluffy clouds). You’ll be stuck in traffic for hours. Next, we’re on the home stretch, Tokyo, which was mostly shopping and eating :D.
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Here’s a bit of a bonus post, which is especially convenient because Oscar’s been sick since Saturday and we haven’t been able to get out of the house pretty much the whole time. So while reviewing my pictures from Vietnam, a couple of panoramas popped up and I had the chance to process them, they’re okay but not the best. Both are panoramas from Da Nang where we probably had the best views the whole trip. First from the hotel, room (Brilliant Hotel) then from the Chessboard Point on Monkey Mountain (Son Tra). The lighting was not perfect in either one, if it was, I guess we’d be looking at a couple of pretty spectacular photos. Let’s hope that I can replicate all of the factors in my most popular flickr photo (Morning Light) soon, cos I haven’t been able to make anything really striking for a while.
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Hey, finally, work has finished, and it’s the xmas holiday break, finally I can get on my arse and do this. If you did stick around because of my last post, well, you’ll be glad you did with this doozy coming your way. Without a single doubt, this was the absolute highlight of the trip, by the time we arrived in Mürren, the weather had finally turned for the better, and the sun was out and ready to keep us warm and happy. We only had two nights in Mürren arriving pretty early in the morning and leaving in the afternoon, so two and a half days (sort of). I wanted to do some hiking and take in some lakes and mountains from the best perspectives (that only hiking can get you, I suppose flying or rock climbing can give you some pretty spectacular views as well), but my pregnant girlfriend was apprehensive about it all.
So in our two days there we managed to:
So yeah, a really beautiful place with so many things to see, I don’t think I’d get tired of the mountains even if I could afford to spend a month there, it was a bit disappointing not to get a good shot of mountains with a lake so that’s something to aim for next time. Definitely worth the price of admission, it’s also very peaceful there, small population, Mürren is a car-free (only local traffic for delivieries and supplies I suppose) town and so the atmosphere is one of quiet serenity (for me any way) and a really nice place to go at the end of our trip, wish I could’ve spent more time there.
Accommodation, Food, and Transport
Well, as I mentioned in the previous Switzerland post, we were using the half-fare card so were paying relatively normal prices for train tickets around the place (it’s worth it just for the Top of Europe pass which costs about 200$ bux AUD).
We stayed at the Hotel Alpina in Mürren which is a ‘budget’ option (still not cheap at all) but does have all of the amenities you should need (including a great view of the Alps from your room balcony, should you pay for it). We were put in room number 1 (or 2) which was good in that we could access the wifi in the lobby from our room, but was bad because we had to walk past the toilet to get to our room, so it was a bit smelly (the walk, not the room). Breakfast buffet provided with a decent spread, I’d recommend it if it has a good buffer in prices from the other hotels in the area, nice, friendly staff too (although no kettle in the room).
Pretty much all the hotels have restaurants where you can get normal food although I didn’t get to try much of it due to my Em’s little worm! 😀 OK, one more stop in Europe (Paris) but I won’t bother with that one because we’ve already been there twice now, and we didn’t do anything on our last visit other than a bit of shopping, so last stop on our whirlwind, whistlestop tour, not in Europe, but Hong Kong, for one night, and one night only, what did we do? You’ll find out next time (if I can be bothered), so stay tuned!
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