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Trip of a Lifetime Our 10 month journey around the world.

South New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 3 January 2010 | Views [636]

December 16


To day was the ride on the Blue Bridge Ferry over to the South Island. The ferry was a converted tanker ship.  Not reel fancy like our ferries as at $50 is very expensive for the three our trip.  We were meeting our new friends from Fiji today as they were picking us up.  They were there waiting for us and off we went to to see if they could go whale watching.  We stopped and I tried to play with the fur seals but they were in a bad mood and just grunted at me when I got close..  They look cuddly but the have sharp teeth.  We arrived 15 minutes before the tour and they got on so we took there van and went to book our van for the south island and the trans alpine train.  We also did as small walk out to the point while waiting for them to return and made dinner for the bunch of us.   After they returned they said they did see the whales and were glad they did the trip.  We then were headed to a small town about 2 hours away for the night at our friend were going to take us and drop us at the train station tomorrow in Greymouth. 


December 17


Today we set out for Greymouth.  We made a few stops along the way including an old gold mine where we tried our luck panning for gold..  No gold so we headed out and arrived in town just in time for us to make the Trans Coastal Train.  The train ride was 4 hours from West coast to the East Coast.  The ride was very scenic as expected and a nice change from all the diving.  Just sitting back and enjoying the great view out of the comfortable cab..  We arrived in Christchurch and walked over to our Hostel which is the old Jail House.  We will be sleeping in cell block D  room 29..  Hoping to see a ghosts or two tonight   LOL..  Tomorrow we get our juicy camper van again and will be heading down south to possible meet up with our friends in a few days. 


December 18


Today started good as the van company was right on time and we headed out to see if we could find the Forestry and Conservation office to get a map of all the cheep campsites.  There we got stuck in one way down town hell…  We did eventually find the office and got our maps.  Along the way we stopped at Castle Hill and walked to the huge rock formation.  We were headed back to the west coast to see the place called pancake rocks (some strange rock formations created by the sea and wind)  and then find a place to stay for the night.  The weather is a little on the cool side about 15deg but still not raining so we are happy.  Know that we have wheels again we will head down the coast.


December 19


Today was laundry day as we hadn’t done it in a while.   Then we would be off to the Glaciers.  We walked down to Fox glacier to see the blue ice but the trail was washed out from a storm and we could only get about 600 m from the actual \ice.  There was a curios parrot on the cars when we got back.  We travelers magazines warn of the parrots that will steel keys or anything you give them and this guy was no different.  We headed down the coast and did a nice walk by lake Mathison to see the reflection of the mountains but it was too foggy in the mountains today.  Finally we got to the coast again to a typical West coast foggy day where there was rock statues pilled everywhere.  I did manage today to get the Juicy cruiser stuck turning around in the grass LOL  though I would get suck going somewhere a lot crazier that the side of the road..  Hehe..  A few more waterfall views  and off to our campsite.


December 20


Today would start with some more walks to waterfalls, and the Blue pools which were a little more like brown pool due to the recent rain.    We made a stop in Queenstown to see if we could get a hold of our friend from Sweden but they were not around.  We had though about going ski diving but the weather wasn’t the best as it was cloudy..  I got some good fudge and Holly an ice-cream..  Our treat for the week.  We headed to the campsite early and found that it was on a lovely little lake.  I was crazy windy.  Holly wanted to read her book so I decided that I would try to scale the nearby mountain.  I did make it to the top but it was 10 times harder that I though.  I took some pictures from the top of the valley and headed back down for dinner and bed.


December 21


Today we are Headed to the famous Milford Sound where all the good walking trails start.  They  have the Milford track that is similar to our West Coast Trail but takes 5 days to walk the whole track.  When we arrived it was amazing the number of water falls.  The seemed to be twelve or so in sight at all times.  We stopped along the way at a few and headed on to the end of the road.  We finally arrived at the sound.  It seemed very similar to the Port Alberni sound but the mountains where steeper and again water falls all over the place.  The was a boat cruise into the sound but we got there to late for the last cruise.  We did a few short walks to a lookout and then to the point.  We would camp in the park a short distance from the Sound by a lake.



December 22


We got up early today and watched the sunrise.  Still a little chilly as we are still in the mountains.  We got up so we could get an early start to do a few of the longer treks.  One to a large waterfall and huge vertical face of rock, and another through the forest to spectacular views of the valleys below.  To day we were headed out of the mountains and back down to Queenstown to pick up food use the internet and get cleaned up..  We of course stopped along the way.  A few great beaches, more waterfalls, and lookouts.

 We would be staying in Invercargill for the night  Showers  good to get clean again.. 


December 23


To we would travel down the Southern scenic route along the coast.  We stopped at curio bay and were lucky enough to see the Yellow eye penguins. They are very shy and only come out at certain times of  the day.   They just appeared out of the water and waddled up the beach to the awaiting babies in the bushes.    We also stopped a little late for dinner at a bluff and saw a pod of dolphins feeding.  After dinner we realised that we were low on fuel and found out quickly that everything was closed in all of the small towns.  We crossed our fingers and headed for a larger town. Rolling in on fumes we made it and then headed to the camp for the night at Purakaunui Bay.


December 24


We awoke to a massive bus/camper across from us..  We were not sure how he got it down the road were we had gone.  I guess he didn’t do it in the dark..   After breakfast we went for a quick walk on the beach at our site and watched the fur seals.  There was Purakaunui falls that we stopped at on the way and then into town to e-mail and Skype friends and family to see what is going on for x-mas.  After lunch we headed back to the coast to Nugget put for the lighthouse walk where there was more fur seals and some strange rock formations and caves.    Back in the car and off to the old hand dug railway tunnel.  1.5km long all dug with pick and shovel.  Crazy….    Before dinner we arrived in the Dundien and walked around the town as it was one of the bigger towns.  We were looking for a nice beach for dinner and ended up at Tunnel beach.  A wealthy man had a tunnel dug through the rock so his daughter could swim at a private beach.  We wet a Canadian couple at the beach and drove them back to the city as the were hitch hiking.  So we headed out to Otaga Point to see the Albatross (biggest bird in the world).  They were huge.  They made our seagulls look tiny.  We found a quit beach close by and made dinner..   One last beach before we headed for the campsite and we got to see one more curious little penguin.


December 25


Holly slept in so I went to the small caves by the sight and a climb to the mountain top for a view of the area.  We were close to the Moreki Rock beach so we stopped along the way..  They are huge round boulders just sitting on the beach.  They looked like giant dinosaur eggs.   On to Timaru to the board walk for lunch.  We went to a small town further up the coast to talk to family on the phone and x-mas wishes..  Still is very weird having Christmas away from home with no tree no presents no family on snow..  25 deg our today and sunny.  Don’t think I would be asking for a snowboard here..  Maybe a new motorbike J  Well off to the Wooded gully campsite early to relax and have our x-mas hamburgers L..  No turkey this year.  They don’t even sell them.  Everyone goes to the beach and has a family picnic.  Seems so strange.


December 26


Today was a long hall driving day as we wanted to make it up to the very north of the South island.  We did stop for lunch at another nice waterfall..  We arrived at the campsite about 3:00 (5 hours of driving) and had a snack and just relaxed with a walk on the beach and found some eels that it said lived 90+ years.  Then a few board games and off to bed.


December 27


Today we drove out to the Northern most point of the South island to Golden Bay where there was suppose to be great golden sand beaches.  All we found was a hole lot of fog and rain.  Very similar to our West coast.  So we headed back inland as the weather was better there.  We visited the springs where the clearest water on earth was.  14,000 leaders per minute pumping out of a hug pool in the middle of the forest at the top of the mountain.  I figured it was the fountain of youth but there was a no swimming sign.. L. We headed down the mountain to find a place to stay for the night and ran into heavy fog.  Couldn’t see 5 feet in front of the car on the windiest, narrower, roads in the world with no shoulder and a 1000ft drop at every turn.. Fun Fun…  We ended up at a small town and just parked in a parking lot only to be kicked out by a security guard at 10:30. So we moved to the boat launch for the night.


December 28


After breakfast at the golden sand beach that was right in the town we stopped at.(I think they trucked the sand in as it looked to perfect)  we headed to the Abel Tasman national park for a walk to the point.  The weather was improving and there was tourist everywhere going out of the boats to the islands for a day trip.  After the walk to headed back to Nelson to walk around the city and do laundry have lunch. We picked out a site that was in the Southern inlets similar to Port Alberni inlet.  The roads were of course insanely windy and it seem like it will take forever even only 10km.  When we arrived the site was very full but we where fortunate and scored an awesome site as someone had just left..  Holly and I went to test the water expecting the same as always  cold cold cold, but it was actually quite warm as we were at the very end of one of he inlets.  Holly even when in for a swim.. Fist time in New Zealand..  The water is a wonderful turquoise blue not like our dark green ocean water.  We were tired from a poor sleep the night before and headed off to bead early.


December 29


Well \the sun is gone it rained all night just lightly, but when we finally rolled out of bead at 9:00 and had breakfast the weather was improving so we went to a beach about a 10 minute walk away where Holly sunbathed and I tried out my luck fishing.  We stopped at the store on the way back and got ice cream bar as a treat and then played games and relaxed for the rest of he day.  Holly kept saying she was going to go for another swim but the weather never got hot enough for her to take the plunge before bed.


December 30 - January 2


The last few days we have just relaxed.  We stayed at a few nice beaches and just hung out in the sun.  We spent new years at a Beach site where we watched the moon over the ocean and the locals put on a very good fire work show that we weren’t expecting just after midnight which was nice.


December 3


We have returned to Christchurch for our last few days in New Zealand and are staying at a nice little hostel.  We walked to town to use the internet, have diner, and see what was going on.  We will be off the Australia Tuesday January 5th.




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