dave and lisa byrne


dave and lisa byrne

We are thirty something DINKYs fulfilling a lifetime ambition to achieve some of the great walks in New Zealand. We hail from Bath and are both fun loving outdoor types when given the chance!

Oceania February 7th 2010

Well we headed to the Central Otago area of Southland with mixed expectations. On the one hand we had been told that the rail trail was a must see but after the slightly dissapointing Southern scenic route we held judgement. We needn't have, driving through to the Central Otago area we were immediately impressed with the town of Alexandra where we stopped for a beer or two on what was a schorching day. The surronding countryside had impressive tussock ridden grasslands and strange Tors (schist outcrops that have weathered less rapidly then the surronding rock formations) and evidence that this was an ocean millenia ago. We drove to Clyde and up an innocent looking sign that pointed to a lookout, ideal for freedom camping! Ten minutes later of a steep climb we were slightly concerned but ... read more
middle of the trail
keen as mustard
Photo 26

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Southland February 4th 2010

We left Manapouri and Fjordland with high hopes to begin the Southern scenic tour which we had been recommended previously. First stop was the tallest Totara tree reserve to see the tallest Halls Totara tree (see photo). They were indeed impressive although lacked the girth of the Kauri's in Northland. We stopped en route sat the Clifden suspension bridge, reputedly one of the oldest in NZ having been built in 1899 and one of the longest bridges in NZ. The southern loop road to Invercargill took us through Riverton, an eerily quiet place of around 2000 people surronded by open farmland plains. It was quite a dissapointing route having been cleared for farming many moons ago and there did not appear to be any life in the towns. We found that this theme continued in Invercargill ... read more
v tall
cheeky NZ Robin
hoping the tide takes the van!

We made it to Manapouri at the edge of Fjordland National Pack in our leaky Spaceship in time to put it in the garage for repair and catch our ferry taking us across Lake Manapouri. This was the start of our 2 day wilderness cruise in the Doubtful Sound. The lake is interesting in that it feeds one of NZ's largest hydro-electric power stations producing nearly 5% of its electricity, whilst the majority of plant is underground we could see the control station and transmission wires as we crossed the lake. We then took a coach across Wilmot pass to Deep Cove at the heart of Dountful Sound. This 21km stretch of road is completely isolated from the mainland so the few coaches and plant machinery goes back and forth on this stretch! It was only ... read more
doubtful sound from wilmot pass
doubtful sound
doubtful sound

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Queenstown January 30th 2010

Heading to Queenstown we called into Arrowtown, an old Gold town that seems to have retained some of its heritager and the buildings looked as if they would have done back in the day. We spent the evening strolling along the old street and parks and enjoyed a few drinks in the beer garden of "The Tap" the most Brisitsh of pubs yet! It was a fantastic place particularly because it was quiet which we understand during the day is quite different (read into that tourist buses again). Thankfully we missed them! We had heard a lot about Queenstown, i.e. it being a real party town and perfect for adrenalin junkies but what we hadnt been prepared for was the beaurty of the setting nestled amongst the Remarkable mountains next to the deep blue Lake Wakatipu. ... read more
kawaru river gorge
queenstown from skyline gondola

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Fox Glacier January 27th 2010

Well we arrived at Fox Glacier expectant of some stunning scenerey and the initial drive to it did not dissapoint! However upon arriving a thick fog enveloped the town of Fox and we were unable to see the mountains let along the glacier! We had booked a heli hike and it didnt look good, although we needn't have worried as the weather cleared the following day and we were on! Firstly, you get how can I say it what is a rudimentary safety briefing telling you to sit calmly in the crash position should the helicopter be plummeting to its demise. Yeah right, I think we all know you are a gonner in that scenario. We got picked up by some young pilots who had seen Top Gun a few too many times (not that I ... read more
Photo 3
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Photo 5

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Karamea January 23rd 2010

Arrived at Kohaihai (most Northerly point of the West coast by car) in anticpation of 2 days of the Heaphy track. Only to find that the day of the walk there was a severe weather warning with thunder and lightning and we were unable ot leave (Dan I know you would have gone anyway but I know how lost you were in that Argentine forest!). Time for plan B, spoke to the isite ladies who I think had gone West a number of years ago and considered plan B the Oparara basin! Arranged a guided tour through the infamous limestone (Kaast) honeycomb hill caves, a unique landscape formed through millions of years of undisturbed isolation. We spent the afternoon exploring this and the impressive arches to which no photo can do justice, if interested check out ... read more
oparara basing limestone kaast caves
oparara basing limestone kaast caves
wood stained river

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Nelson Region » Golden Bay January 19th 2010

Well getting the bus back from Motueka to Old McDonalds Farm we saw goats and sheep and pigs and..... no!!!! we met up with a friendly chap Simon whom we had met on the Queen Charlotte Track. He's from Manchester and was kind of stuck with the weird Kiwi backpacker bus connections so we offered for him to join us on a tour of Golden Bay. First stop was Collingwood, the only thing I can remember about this weird old school place is that is near the farewell spit and had something to do with gold. I think everywhere in NZ has something to do with gold!! Therefore after admiring some linoneum artwork I decided that all are is too expensive and I cam going to do my own with that bit of lino off the ... read more
wharaiki beach
wharaiki beach

Well after camping the night at Old MacDonalds farm (yes you wouldn't adam and eve it) we awoke early on the 14th to embark on the Abel Tasman great walk with slight trepidation! We loaded up with everything we could possible need for the next 4 days, then put some of it back in the van.... We were embarking on one of NZ's Great Walks and the weather was glorious, it really doesn't get much better than this. We were leaving from MaraHau going via Anchorage to Bark Bay where we were to sleep in a series of shared huts. First off a causeway traverses an estuary and it is soon clear the tidal nature of this walk. Past Tinline Bay, we turn inland at Yellow point winding in and out of small gullies whilst having ... read more
at start of abel tasman
tidal crossing torrent bay
Photo 25

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Murchison January 9th 2010

Leaving Kaikoura we headed inland to the Nelson National Park region (North Central South Island) through the Mauri plain, a vast grassland with some beautiful driving country. Onwards to the forests of Hammer Springs which is fabled for its mountain biking. We had no time to stop maybe next time! The route had many things to see along the way, the most notable of which was Maruia falls a stonking falls which is shown in the attached piccies. We then climbed through the Nelson National Park to the Buller Gorge region of NZ to Murchison. Not just a great place to stop and rest but also as we found out the home of the New Zealand Kayaking school being at the centre of covergence for 4 rivers in the region. We had to have a go ... read more
Nelson National Park mountain view
Maruia falls
Owen river kayaking

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Blenheim January 8th 2010

Starting out from Picton we camped the night at Curious Cove, well I wasnt that curious as it definitely was a cove! This formed part of the Marlborough East Coast scenic drive which certainly offered some of the most challengin driving terrain to date, needless to say the Spaceship is definitely rear wheel drive! We stopped off at Monkey Bay where Lisa seemed in her element frolicking around the rock caves and had a sudden urge for bananas, she certainly did not want to leave. The views from here were magnificent and the bay almost empty, a great intro to the South Island scenery! From here we travelled to Blenheim & Renwick vineyards of which there are over 30 in a very small proximity but unfortuanetly we only had time for 3. Whats funny is turning ... read more
East coast morning view after freedom camp
Monkey bay
Cheeky Monkey (no bay)

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