A Travellerspoint blog

Southland

Arthur's Pass to Franz Josef, Queenstown and Doubtful Sound.

semi-overcast 24 °C

So fresh off the plane from Northland and about 6 hours sleep later we boarded Peter's SUV headed for Franz Josef. Famous for the glacier named after the Austrian emperor of the time by Herr Haast ( apparently it was said to resemble his long flowing beard...and Hasst had named far too many things after himself anyway !! ) we, well Peter ( Tracey's father )actually , drove the 6 hours or so by way of Arthur's Pass & Hokitika ( and a Greenstone shop ) over ( literally ) to FJ.

We arrived with about an hour or so to spare and after a quick lunch we were off to climb the glacier. Reporting to our guides and promptly being kitted out with all the climbing gubbings we boarded the bus which ferried us up towards the glacier's terminal face. A 2km hike or so we'd reached the glacier and it was time to don our Ice Talons ( removable crampons which fit over your boot soles ) and mount the glacier.

I think it was at this point that it dawn on Tracey and Sheryl ( Tracey's mum ) that this might not be the "walk" they'd expected. Climbing through and up the ice face, and over crevasses for the next 45 minutes of so we'd reached the limit of our excusion, further than most groups apparently because ours was a small one. To be honest words can't really descibe the view, the experience or the sense of achievement to get where we did.

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I really felt at home on the ice and was well up for progressing further, but sadly we had no more time. I can't remember when I'd had so much fun !!

A 45 minute descent and the 2k walk back to the bus wasn't exactly welcome by any of us, neither were the aching bones, joints and muscles the next day either !!

..pushing on to Queenstown

Next day it ws a reasonably early start for the trip to Queenstown via Haast and Wanaka. Peter, again enjoying the climbs and descents was chaffeuring and we reached Wanaka at lunch time for a sandwich. After a short break and photo stop it was on to Queenstown which arrived after about 2hrs and a breif stop to watch those Japanese nutters at AJ Hackett throwing themselves off a bridge attached by an elastic..and the bravest young lad, just over the age and weight limit ( aged 10 ) who was watched from the sideline by his seemingly unconcerned parents !!

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Posted by j140870 02:31 Archived in New Zealand Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Heading back to CHCH

all seasons in one day 22 °C

Leaving the BOI was a little sad, especially as we probably could have done a few more things given time and money and we both agreed that when the weather was fine it would be a really great place to be. Just as we left Paihia the sun was out, bright and shiny, and it looked like it was going to be a really great day - typical !

We took the scenic route back to Auckland, stopping one night in Waiwera (which was a major disappointment - don't believe everything you read on the internet !) but did manage to stumble across the most amazing of beaches at Waipu Cove. This looked like real surfing territory and whilst a few people were out in wetsuits Tracey & I decided this was too good an opportunity to miss, so we changed into our swim stuff and got straight into these great Pacific waves. Bloody cold at first but you soon grow accustomed to it.

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Headed back to Christchurch satruday evening. Just enough time to doing washing, check emails and write blogs (!) before heading off to Franz Josef and Queenstown early sunday morning and a great chance to get to know tracey's Mum and Dad better.

Posted by j140870 04:02 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Bay of Islands and the far North.

Four Seasons in one day

all seasons in one day 22 °C

BOI

After collecting our transport from the airport we headed up state highway one (SH1) to Paihia, Bay of Islands. A pretty long drive with Tracey and I sharing the driving which was an experience as I hadn't driven an automatic for a while and tracey hadn't really driven at all for a long time before this trip.

The weather was well, lets call it changeable. We got caught in a massive shower on our lunch break but eventually made it to the Beachside Holiday park after about 5 or so hours.

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After a small panic about whether we had any bedding / towels or etc ( which we did ) we ventured into Paihia a few miles away to pay for our trips for the following two days.

* Hole in the Rock / Dolphin watching cruise

  • Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach.

The next few days were rather eventfull weather wise but a great laugh and real good fun anyhow.

The Hole in the Rock cruise out to Cape Brett was an adventure, especially for me as I am not that fond of boats to be honest. Tracey was loving the cruiser bobbing up and down on the waves on the way out, but feeling rather green on the way back. We did get to see some Dolphins, unfortunately we couldn't get to close as their was a smaller craft closer to the Dolphins already. At "The Rock" we managed to get up along side but not go through as the trip normally would as the sea was too rough.

That afternoon was spent visiting Whaitangi where the very controvesial treaty between the Maori and English was signed and the Harurur Falls just up the river. The weather had actually cleared by then and it was quite a nice afternoon.

Next day was an early start. We were collected by our Dunerider vehicle and set off for 90 Mile Beach with about 20 other passengers and a rather talkative guide Paul, who was great. After a brief stop to view some Kauri trees ( the second largest tree type in the world ) we were lucky enough to get onto the beach going up to the Cape. All the vehicles before us had missed the early tide and so had to drive back down the beach. It was great fun being in this 4 wheel drive monster , blattin' up the beach , and stopping for photos now and then.

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Some bright spark had managed to get his old Merc stuck in the beach the day before so we all took pleasure in taking photos of that submerged and tossed around.

Finally in the afternoon the weather cleared and it was off for a spot of Dune riding ourselves which involved troggin' up a larger sand dune and then coming down on what can only be likened to a tea-tray. We have some great movie footage of that ! A spot of lunch and then it was off to Cape Reinga itself, which is the most northern most point of NZ, a sacred Maori place where spirits of the departed leap off for the after life after travelling together up 90 Mile Beach. Quiet possibly the most stunning and beautiful place I've been to.

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On the return we were promised , and definately got the best fish 'n chips of our lives ( Blue Nose fish )at a small village called Manganui. That evening was a riot as a storm broke out with full on thunder and lightening and we thought the campsite was going to flood. Queue comical Kiwi's running around in their shorts in the pitch black trying to control excess amounts of water !

Posted by j140870 03:28 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Heading up North

Auckland ..then Bay of Islands

sunny 25 °C

Auckland, the BIG city

Monday (13th) and a morning flight to Auckland from Christchurch with Air New Zealand. First time experience for me but tracey had travelled with them lots. Only a short hop (1h20m) up to the North Island, no real service except for drinks. My tea lasted a tiny sip and then was shoved aside. No good at all !!

Arrived in Auckland to sunshine and managed to fall on our feet with a reasonable transfer downtown ( 30 bucks ) to our accomodation for the night at the Hotel Mecure Windsor. Bargain 90 dollars for the night, smack bang in the middle of town and a stones throw from the water !

Just had time to drop our stuff off and then head off to Devonport on the other side of the harbour on the ferry. A quiet relaxing place, not too busy at the moment but can imagine it being packed in the summer. Had a brief wander around and managed a beer ( caught up with Packers game a little in a pub )and an icecream ( managed to drop it ! ) be catching the boat back to town. Trip was $9 return which wasn't too bad.

After a brief respite , a shower and change of clothes it was off to the SkyTower, the main attraction in Auckland which was opened in 1997. Its a great vantage point from which to see all the city ( like CN Tower in Toronto or Sear's in Chicago but not as big ). Luckily the weather was fine and holding for us so we had a great view. Following this it was off for a bit of Thai food ( at the second attempt - long story ) and then a reasonably early night for Tracey. I, ofcourse had to try and get on-line to secure tickets for the football in Germany next June on the hotel internet access which I'd manage to complete just after half past midnight.

Posted by j140870 00:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Family and friends

semi-overcast 16 °C

(Tracey).... A relaxed day today, Jason was up early and got to watch two football games on sky first thing...

Spent today catching up with friends, visited Rebecca and Andrew and baby boy Ollie, and Robyn and Fred this afternoon and Mum's friend Wendy called round this morning. Then home for a nice dinner and throwing some things together for our trip to Auckland tomorrow...

Jason still suffering with his cold and not feeling so great today 0:(

Posted by j140870 00:14 Comments (2)

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