A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand (Wanaka)

Wanaka

overcast 18 °C
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We set off to Wanaka after leaving Franz Joseph, and had been advised to take our time as there were some great sighs on the way. They weren't wrong.

First we hit Lake Matheson, which as it was overcast was not the best view. However we did get out first lok at Mount Cook. Immediately afterwards we got a view over Fox Glacier, which was beautiful.

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All along the road to Wanaka are waterfalls, and pools which are well worth stopping for. The views of snow capped mountains are also amazing.

We weren't disappointed when we reached Wanaka either. The weather was lovely. Our hostel, the Purple Cow, looked straight over the lake. What a great view. The evening was ended perfectly with a glass of local wine watching the sunset. (After we had a light hearted game of table tennis. I'm getting quite good now and will be giving Mark a run for his money by the end of this trip.)

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The next day, before leaving for Queenstown, we went to Puzzling World. There is a massive maze which took us an hour to finish (much to Marks frustration). The tilted room is worth a look, although it made poor Mark feel a bit queezy.

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There are also loads of chinese puzzles to try, which tested my patience. I had to escape for my sanity.
After taking some amusing photos outside we headed to Queenstown.

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Posted by blytonrtw 17:04 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

New Zealand (Franz Joseph)

Glaciers and Pancake Rocks

overcast 17 °C
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Hello all

After we left Nelson we headed on a long drive to Franz Joseph. The journey took us through mountains and coastal roads with lovely views.

On our way we stopped off at the Pancake Rocks. This is a natural area of rock formations that look like a stack of pancakes. There are blow holes where water shoots through in spectacular fashion.

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We continued on our way, and after about 7 hours in the car we finally reached Franz Joseph. The YHA here is very comfortable and is complete with a sauna. We bumped into 3 groups of people from various parts of our trips, including Fiji. What a small world. Its amazing how the same faces keep popping up.

The following day we went on a half day hike up the glacier on a guided tour. A good leg work out walking up the steps that the guides had cut into the glacier. This tour took us high enough up to see the blue ice and some crevasses. It was enough to give us an overview, but we didn't get up to the top.

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We were satisfied with our first taste of mountaineering and felt the business with the full boots and cramp ons.

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That afternoon we took advantage of the sauna and had a relaxing evening, ready for the next leg of our South Island tour.

Posted by blytonrtw 16:53 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

New Zealand (Nelson)

At last sunshine & free chocolate pudding!

sunny 21 °C
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Nelson is indeed sunny, nice to have a break in the weather. We arrived in good time, settled into the Tasman Bay backpackers (very comfy) and after our free chocolate pudding we were invited out with a group of people. We had a really nice night out, and a late night yet again.

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On our first full day, we headed to the craft market, famous here in Nelson and then drove out to the Able Tasman National Park. We did a 2 hour round trip "tramp" (or hike/walk to me and you) and saw some lovely views, over pretty beaches in the sunshine. Some people do 4 hour kayaking trips but we were a bit tired after our late night so walking was active enough. This was a really nice day out.

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We have found the hostel so comfortable that we are stopping tonight, and having a chill out day before a long drive to Franz Joseph to do a Glacier walk.

Posted by blytonrtw 17:28 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

New Zealand (Picton & Blenheim)

Ferry & wine tasting.

rain 15 °C
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We got the Bluebridge ferry, instead of the interislander as it was the cheaper option, a little bit longer but not by much. We watched "Goal" for part of the journey, but when they put on "Valiant" we escaped and went outside for views as we entered Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. It was really pretty but so windy we we being pushed around on deck. We were glad to have windproof jackets at that point.

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We had booked a night in Picton, where the ferry goes in. Picton is a tiny place that seems to close down at about 8pm, we had a bit to eat and chilled out at the hostel and planned our next bit of the trip.

The next day we drove, in the pouring rain, to Blenheim. This is the heart of the Marlborough wine region, supposedly the best wine producing area in NZ. We were keen to try out what we learned in the Napa Valley. It's a really picturesque area, and many Wineries offer free, or very low cost tastings. We had a great time and visited several, including Hunters, Saint Clairs, Seresin an organic producer and our favourite Highfields. This has a tower with great views and a lovely member of staff Claudia, from Chile, who really knew her stuff. Thankfully the weather had started to pick up by this time, so we got some really nice photos. We personally preferred the New Zealand wine tasting over the Californian as it was much more low key and relaxed along with mainly free tasting!

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After this place we headed onto Nelson where we had been recommended to visit, which is reported to have the most hours of sunshine in New Zealand and also is said to lie at the centre of NZ.

Posted by blytonrtw 17:10 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

New Zealand (Wellington)

The Capital & meeting one of the Pythons and a Kiwi bird!

rain 10 °C
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On first arrival Wellington seems quite a picturesque city. Although it is New Zealand's capital it is not the largest city. It is set on a bay similar to San Francisco but for some reason has an increase of wind by a factor of 10! After arriving early evening we had a brief explore and had an early night ready for the next day.

On our second day it continued to rain, so whilst Mark checked out teaching possibilities I went to the Te Papa museum. It's so big (and free) that I was there two hours and had only seen a small area. The girl, Claire, I was with and I stumbled across a lunch for the Book Society, with special guest, modern day Phileus Fogg, ex-Monty Python member and King of the Parrot sketch Michael Palin. I broke for lunch and to meet, and tell Mark. After a brief lunch we went back to the museum, to find he was there but it was a private function.

So we set off to see more of the museum, and along the way found ourselves on a staircase overlooking his Q & A session. So we got to see a bit of him talking. It got better though, as a little bit later we came across him and I took a photo of him with Mark. He was in a hurry so we didn't get to talk to him, but what a small world.

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We didn't finish in the museum, which also has a lot of art exhibits, until late afternoon. After tea we joined Claire and a friend for some drinks. We found another Karaoke night! Mark couldn't be held back, he was choosing his songs and ready to go. It ended up being a late night.

The YHA is a fantastic hostel, really worth its reputation. The only problem we had was with the strange German guy in our room, who kept strange hours drinking beer at all times, and insisted on having a howling gale blowing throughout the room all night.

On our last day we headed to Wellington Zoo. I didn't want to leave NZ without seeing a Kiwi bird. We have no photos to post, as they are nocturnal and timid. We saw a less nervous one called Tahi, who only had one leg after having a disagreement with a trap. He was a lot bigger than I expected, 2kg. I can be satisfied now that I have seen one. The rest of the Zoo was really good, although not the biggest we've been to.
After this visit we drove up to Mount Victoria for a view over the city as it was sunny. It was also really windy! It was an effort to stand up, good views though.

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We then headed back to the hostel for a relaxing evening, chilling out before before we moved on again.

Posted by blytonrtw 00:45 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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