Page 5 of cateandrog Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Northland » Cape Reinga April 22nd 2016

R: So first, a little explanation. We were going to go to Fiji/Samoa/Tonga. We have not. This is for 3 main reasons. 1) Most importantly, we love New Zealand and we feel like 5 weeks was rushing it and we're happy to stay on. 2) It is NZ school holidays this week which makes all the islands more expensive and out of our price range with the exception of Fiji. 3) Cyclone Winston ripped through Fiji recently damaging infrastructure and we were told we could go to resorts, but most likely nothing else will be open yet. So we happily decided to stay on here. So we flew back to Auckland from Dunedin on a cheeky Air New Zealand flight and landed in an Airbnb in a 8th floor city central apartment, with a new host, ... read more
The drunken oyster
Back to the Bay of Islands
Marlin fishing in Russell

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin April 19th 2016

R: Heading south, we drove down the same section of route 1 we had previously driven up with Dave and Shannon. So we put the boot down, and were straight on to Timaru. After a short lunch break in the sunshine, we were on to Oamuru, known as the Steampunk capital of New Zealand. For those of you not familiar with steampunk, it's art and design made in a futuristic version of the industrial revolution using mechanical bits of junk, mainly. It's a very odd town. We headed straight for the steampunk museum which was filled with some of the most bizarre structures, statues, vehicles and even an old JEOL SEM (similar to instruments we have at work) which was displaying X-ray images of skulls when we walked placed. Some of the exhibits had come from ... read more
The portal
Easy rider
View from Lanarch Castle

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch April 16th 2016

R: On 22 February 2011, a earthquake with magnitude 6.3 struck Christchurch, just a few months after a previous earthquake had already caused major damage to the city. This time though, the epicentre was nearer and not as deep. The effects have left a huge scar on Christchurch - 185 people died, and 80% of the CBD was either destroyed or needed to be demolished. In the suburbs, liquification of the ground caused further destruction to residential properties and streets. The power, gas and sewage systems were heavily disrupted. 5 years on, some people told us that it would be depressing, some said inspirational, so we went to make our minds up. We once again lucked out with the Airbnb we had booked - a smart town house on the outskirts of town. Our first day ... read more
Construction sheep
Containers are being used for everything
Re:start mall

R : After Queenstown, it was into the Central Otago region. It's autumn time here now so the trees are turning a wonderful mixture of oranges and reds and it's really cooling down. We headed into Gibbston Valley first, which is home to the first of the regions wine producing valleys. The first winery was closed for a wedding, but had great views over the autumnal valley. We stopped for a picture and headed on to Gibbston wines where we began our wines of the day. Luckily Dave was driving and he doesn't really drink wine, so he was mainly occupied taking photos and eating cheese. The region is known for its Pinot Noir and its different from those you find in the Malborough region. At Gibbston Valley wines we had a four wine taster, and ... read more
Survey of barrels
Müller Hut
Hooker Lake

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Milford Sound April 11th 2016

C: The next morning was an early start as we had a long journey to get to fjordland. Annoyingly Milford Sound is only about 30 miles from Queenstown as the crow flies but due to some very large mountains you have to drive the long way round, about 180 miles. The road is very scenic though we have to admit we did doze a bit on the first leg as our hostel had not been the quietest! After about two hours we stopped for some much needed coffee and a bacon sandwich in Te Anau, the gateway town for the fjords. It was another two hours from there to Milford and this was when the rain started. It steadily got heavier and heavier and we were feeling a bit disappointed until we headed into a valley, ... read more
Grand waterfalls
Being "blessed" by the waterfall
Water, water everywhere

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Queenstown April 10th 2016

R: Wanaka was a cool town. It's on the shores of Lake Wanaka (surprisingly) and has a fun selection of shops and restaurants amid a setting of mountains and the lake. We had a decent Airbnb here with a hot tub. After an amble about and a happy hour drink or two, we headed back to cook, drink and hot tub! It's actually quite cold outside here when the sun goes in due to it being higher up than the coast, so the hot tub was very welcome. The next day Dave went out to hire a mountain bike while the rest of us opted for a lazy morning, followed by a walk around a lake to the winery on a sharp hill just outside town. Dave met us there after chugging up the hill on ... read more
Winery with a view
Burrito cook-off

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Fox Glacier April 5th 2016

R: We stopped at Hokitika on the way through which is filled with jade shops, being a prominent feature on the local beaches. Since we hit the west coast the weather has dramatically changed. The drive down to Hokitika was wet. We had a brief look around the I-site and town before heading out to the sunset point, in the pouring lane for a picnic lunch. To the Brits this was perfectly acceptable, but possibly a bit much for those of us who are used to Western Australia temperatures... We did a spot of beach combing and found some of our own jade, which is now stashed in the car for some later purpose, and headed off to Hokitika gorge which was about 35km from town. As we headed out, the heavens opened completely, and when ... read more
Fox Glacier
Haast Coastline
Sunset at Fox Glacier

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth April 4th 2016

R: Our plans worked. We drove into the Christchurch car hire place and found Dave lurking in the car park, and Shannon sensibly hanging out in the office. It was raining after all. After a quick switch over of bags from one vehicle to the other, we were off in the RAV4 towards Springfield - which is a tiny hamlet with a pie shop, and a giant concrete model of a frosted donut, built to celebrate the Simpsons movie coming out, and it just sort of stuck. We headed on up towards Arthur's pass, which takes you over the centre of the South Island, and down to the West coast. As we did so, the weather closed in and the cloud level dropped... We stopped at Castle Hill, which has an impressive array stones sticking out ... read more
Castle Hill Portaloo
Castle Hill

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Kaikoura April 1st 2016

R: We drove away from Jane's place and headed for Kaikoura on the east coast, on our way to Christchurch to meet Dave and Shannon who we will be travelling with for a couple of weeks. First we stopped at Pelorus Bridge, which is a wooden swing bridge over the Pelorus river, and situated between Nelson and Havelock. We had already covered this section of road, but it was amazingly dramatic with steep mountain passes and beautiful forest. When we got to Blenheim, we stopped in at our previous favourite pub for some more delicious chicken wings.... Then it was down to Kaikoura via route 1, over a scenic mountain pass and along a stunningly dramatic coast line. As we wiggled our way along, there were lookout points, some with seal colonies, but given it was ... read more
Seal close up
Kaikoura seafood BBQ
Seal time

R : We arrived in Mouteka at about 4:55pm and hadn't got a reservation for the water taxi the next day which is "essential" apparently. We decided not to call the lonely planet and leaflet's combined bluff and headed to I-site - New Zealand's national tourist information service which seems to have an office in any town that has more than a goat and two people. They booked us on the next mornings water taxi and we headed for our next Airbnb which was stunning. It was near Marahau - one of the gateway towns to Abel Tasman which can't be reached by road. It was basically a studio on the back of someone's house but it had a gorgeous deck overlooking the park and was magic with a glass of Pinot Gris we had picked ... read more
Medlands beach
Medlands beach from above
Swing bridge

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