Pauline and Dick


Pauline and Dick

We are two outdoor loving people who are making a long time dream of travelling in New Zealand a reality.

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland » Central May 5th 2012

We are flying over the sunny Pacific Ocean as we write this last blog about our trip to New Zealand. Following our previous post we made our way to the Bay of Islands - a very beautiful playground for the rich about 3 hours north of Auckland, on the east coast. Starting as one of the earliest areas to be settled by Europeans in New Zealand, it is steeped in history and is currently the residence for artists, sailors and the very well-to-do. We pretended we fit right in by sipping our $5.00 coffees on the Strand, strolling through art galleries and joining a sailing charter for a day. With the hope to see the nocturnal, flightless kiwi bird in the wild, we re-visited the Kauri forest. We were able to hug a tree but the ... read more
Sailing on Vigilant - Bay of Islands
Riding the Wind - Sailing - Bay of Islands
Waipoa Forest - Kauri tree

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Islands » Russell April 27th 2012

Tramping continues to be one of our favourite activities since it affords us an opportunity to experience great vistas and to get off the beaten track. The most challenging tramp we have done so far was the Kauaeranga Track located on the southern part of the Coromandel Peninsula, southeast of Auckland. The origins of this track go back to the 1860s when it was used to bring in supplies by pack horse to those logging large Kauri trees high up and deep in the bush. This tramp proved to be the longest in terms of time - about 8.5 hours - as well as the steepest. There were sections requiring ladders, clambering up and over boulders, and to reach the top of the pinnacles, pulling ourselves up by iron rungs embedded in the rock. The effort ... read more
Kauri Tree - 1500 yrs old
Cape Reinga Lighthouse
8th Anniversary @ Te Werahi Beach - Cape Reinga

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Coromandel » Thames April 20th 2012

New Zealand is blessed with numerous incredible beaches. Heading up the west coast of the North Island from Wellington, we discovered a black sand beach in Wanganui that extended into the horizon in both directions. The black sand is one of the remants from volcanic activity. Scattered along the beach are pumice stones and chunks of lava amongst the driftwood. North along the coast is Mount Taranaki - the most recent volcano in this area. In his early days, Sir Edmund Hilary developed his climbing skills on this mountarin. We tramped through the lush rain forest up to and just above the tree line, and that was high enough for us. Mount Taranaki looms over the nearby town of New Plymouth situated along the coast. We were fortunate to be camping close to where the town ... read more
Mt Taranaki (Egmont)
Road Sign
Forgotten World Valley

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington » Carterton April 9th 2012

After 6 1/2 weeks on the South Island we have crossed Cook's Strait and are now sitting on the docks in Wellington. Since our last blog we visited Hanmer Springs - a small alpine village whose origins go back to the late 1800's when the benefits of the natural hot springs drew people 'to take the waters'. Shortly thereafter, a sanitorium was built and its main feature was to provide therapy and convalescence for emotionally stressed returning soldiers starting with the Crimean war, up to and including World War II. It is now a tourist destination where the hot springs have been commercialized, but are not lavish. We enjoyed soaking in the various hot pools and sulphur springs, especially the private pools that people can rent for 30 minutes at a time (sorry no photos!). Continuing ... read more
Dolphins jumping
Dolphins under water
Taking air

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch April 2nd 2012

On our way to Christchurch we detoured to the Mount Cook National Park - Mount Cook is the highest moutain in NZ at 3,800 m. 50% of the time Mount Cook is obscured by clouds. On Dick's 66th birthday this is certainly the way it started out, as we trekked up a very steep, rocky path for 1.5 hours. Suddenly, we emerged above the clouds on to a plateau to be greeted by a truly magical scene of Mount Cook and the surrounding peaks and glaciers bathed in brilliant sunlight. After spending two serene hours drinking in the scenery Dick's need to get down from the heights compelled us to tackle the most difficult part - descending - which felt like stepping off the mountain side into thin air. In September 2010 and in February 2011 ... read more
Mount Cook
Valley floor - our starting point
Red Zone Border

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin March 26th 2012

This country is truly one of many contrasts. In this blog will talk about our experiences with the sea from very different perspectives. At the beginning of the week we spent 1.5 days on an overnight cruise of Doubtful Sound on a small charter boat. To begin with the weather was phenomenal - bright sunshine in an area that sees about 280 days of rain per year; and clear skies at night revealing stars and the milky way so close it felt like you could almost reach out and touch them. Not only were we treated to unbelievable scenery, wildlife (dolphins, seals, albatross and shearwaters) and excellent meals; but were also able to kayak in the fiord, catch numerous species of salt water fish, including blue cod and spiny lobster which ended up on the dinner ... read more
2 - Doubtful Sound
3 - Kepler Great Walk
4 - Routeburn Great Walk

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Fox Glacier March 18th 2012

Hello folks! Our adventure continues. This past week has been marked by two wonderful experiences. We took the TranzAlpine train from Greymouth on the west coast to Christchurch on the east coast over the Southern Alps through Arthur's pass, following along the various glacial rivers situated in broad valleys with large herds of sheep and cattle grazing - staying over night in Christchurch and then returning the next day. This provided us with the opportunity to see a part of NZ that we would otherwise not have seen. At this time of year, the water level in the rivers is quite low, revealing expanses of gravel on either side that indicated just how wide the rivers would be during the spring runoff. Although only in Christchurch for one night, we stayed in the Y on the ... read more
1-Train view
2-Train view
3-Fox Glacier

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth March 10th 2012

Hello from New Zealand, We continue to be fascinated by the variety of landscapes we experience as we head from the South Island's (SI) northern tip south along to the west coast of the South Island - from the expansive sand dunes that constitute Farewell Spit (the SI's most northerly section), to the high altitude pasture land where we saw sheep grazing, to the forests up to the treeline, and the changes as you move down to the coastal regions. In this country if you want to see the various corners, it involves some backtracking due to the limited number of highways that cross the moutainous terrain. We are now just beginning our trip along the South Island's west coast. Here are a few highlights of our trip since we last blogged: - Farewell Spit: 35 ... read more
From Abel Tasman looking west to Kahurangi National Park
Overlooking St Arnaud Range & Lake Rotoiti from Mount Robert
Paific Ocean

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Motueka February 28th 2012

We are coming to the end of our second week in New Zealand and now are beginning our tour of the South Island. Leaving the North Island, we spent a day in Wellington and now know why they call it ‘windy Welly’ – wind gusting to 100 km/hr rocked our van throughout the night. The Te Papa Museum of NZ in Wellington was superb and free! Canada should take a lesson. The past two days have been the most spectacular so far. We are in Abel Tasman National Park, which is in the Marlborough-Nelson region – or northern section of the South Island. One day we took a water taxi up the coast and tramped up and down for about 10 km through amazing scenery, beaches and lagoons to a pick up point to be taxied ... read more
Abel Tasman National Park

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Hawkes Bay » Napier February 19th 2012

Hi Folks, We’ve been in NZ for 5 days and have a few observations to share with you: ‘give way’ means ‘yield’; ‘way out’ means ‘exit; ‘long black’ means an espresso coffee with hot water on the side – the only way to get what we consider a regular black coffee; ‘white tea’ means regular tea frothed with milk; people thank the drivers when exiting the bus; residential mail is delivered via bicycle to mail boxes located at the edges of sidewalks; speed limits are 100 km/hr on narrow, hilly, curvy highways – we would be used to limits of 70 – 80 km/hr in these situations; Auckland ambulances are Mercedes; there are few flower gardens adorning residential homes – mostly green shrubbery; gas is $2.12/litre – yikes!!! We are currently in Napier – completely destroyed ... read more
Our hippie van!
Tea party

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