Sunday, January 04, 2009

Driving in an Elvish Paradise

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Team America decided to go jet-boating on the Dart River today, but that's not exactly my thing ( the kayak back down the Dart would have been, but it requires jetting there first), so I opted for one of the half-day 4WD expeditions to some of the sites used in The Lord of the Rings.

STA_1794-97 towards Glenorchy [ice]

We drove along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy, and then out onto unsealed roads through the farmlands of Paradise. I caught a last pair of road signs stating "Paradise / No Exit" as we passed into the realm of Lothlorien and Isengard. During some shooting periods, a dozen buses full of extras might be brought in each day to enact various crowd, battle or massing scenes.

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Just about here I had my first experience with an (unmarked) electric fence. I was using a wooden fence-post as a tripod to get some panoramic shots, and as I knelt to check the view-finder, got a jolt up through my left elbow. It wasn't painful; I was more mystified as to where I'd come into contact with the fence-wire.

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These are manuka flowers, known mostly for being the source of Manuka Honey. Found also in Australia, it's related to the melaleuca (tea tree) - both have well-documented anti-microbial properties. The Waikato Honey Research Unit has studied honey as a wound-dressing and for various treatments of tinea, acne, streptococcal infections…

IMG_1851-53 log [ice]

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The most remote point of our journey was to this spot beside the Dart River. Just after I got there, this jetboat came screaming past, Team America lashed into the rear seats.

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The sand-flies came out to feast as we stopped for a tea break - my first notice being that I had blood running down my left arm. That limb was getting the worst of it today.

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Below is my final shot of Team America, gathered down at Queenstown dock. L-R: Bryan, Charles, Marni, Matthew, June, Glenn, Pug.

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