These blogs were started to record our Europe May to August 2011 trip. The Blogs were great for us to diary each day, for others to follow and for us to review when back home. Several have been published into personal books. And so it has continued adding:

Europe - Italy,Switzerland, France, 2011
The Hurunui High Country Walk 2011.
Tasmania 2012
Europe 2013 - Austria, Switzerland, France and Ireland.
Alps2Ocean and Clutha Bike Trails 2014
A Christmas in Switzerland and Germany 2014
Biking the Danube, the Italian Dolomites and Austrian Lakes 2015
Vancouver, Lake Chelan (Washington State), Whistler, Powell River, Victoria (Vancouver Island) 2016
Switzerland and Germany 2017. Some with Brendan and family
Switzerland, Austria and Germany 2018

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Mackenzie District March 27th 2021

Since it is our last day in Twizel, we wanted to go a little further afield in the other direction near Omarama. We had been told that the new part of the A2O bike trail was one of the best parts of the trail. It is new and has been purpose built by Cycle Journeys to cover the area from Sailors Cutting through to Otematata where you used to have to cycle along the road. Also, the path from Omarama to Sailors Cutting had been improved with a new surface. This was considerably better than the loose metal we struck a few years back. Also the last part of the trail into Oamaru has been finished and is now off the road. We parked at Sailors Cutting and set off through the camping ground and onto ... read more
The huge penstocks of the Ohau B Power Station
Foehn Cottage

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Mackenzie District March 26th 2021

Another fine, sunny and calm day. Wow! We know it can blow like mad here as we've been in Tekapo a couple of times before in strong winds, so it's not always faultless. As always, we stopped at the bottom of Lake Pukaki to admire the view up the lake to the Alps beyond. They were completely clear apart from a few clouds sitting on the back of the Alps on the West Coast side. The view was yet again, absolutely stunning. Mt Cook and other mountains alongside were snow covered and there was the layering of mountains in the front that you get when the sun sits in the North East. After the dam at the bottom of the lake, we wound our way up hill and onto the plateau of the MacKenzie Basin which ... read more
The best cafe view in New Zealand
The immortalization of the MacKenzie Collie Dog

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Twizel March 25th 2021

We set off to Cycle Journey's this morning to rent bikes for the day. A smile by me because an ebike was available. Cycle Journeys now have quite a large operation in Twizel and it seems to be running a very good, helpful business. After some advice on a route to take near Twizel we set off on a cloudy and coolish morning. We took the route used by the A2O trail through to the canals and then hung a right instead of a left and biked out along the Pukaki Canal. The canals have roads on both sides but we took the sealed side towards Lake Pukaki. The roads are elevated above the farmland which stretches across the whole McKenzie Basin in one large tussock filled basin. Irrigation has now been introduced so patches are ... read more
Lake Ruataniwha, Twizel
Lake Ohau

After the gorgeous day yesterday, we woke to light rain and cloud. This was looking the best of the next few days so we decided to stay with our original plan and head up to Mt Cook Village and hope that the weather would be kind to us. It is 70kms from Twizel so the weather could be quite different. But first, we wanted to check out some hired bikes for tomorrow. Real Journeys manage many of the cycle trails down South as well as the A2O which passes through here. There doesn't seem to be a problem with hiring bikes, just not ebikes. They are well and truly booked out for months! Ah well, we'll stick to some canals and avoid some of the more challenging parts of the trail further on from here. We ... read more
Aorangi/Mt Cook finally shows it'self
Swing bridge and Mt Sefton
Hooker Glacier lake with icebergs

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Twizel March 23rd 2021

A most stunning day. Yet another fine, clear and calm. We left our most comfortable home for the last week (Settlers Motel), had our last coffee at Provisions and set off for Cromwell. I was staggered to see how many more vineyards have been planted in the Gibbston and Dunstan valleys since we were last here. Then, there were patches here and there, now, there are kilometres of wall to wall vines. These are all planted on the north facing terraces. Above the terraces are barren hills of rocks and not much else - matagouri and sparse tussocks. Our first stop was at Roaring Meg in the gorge to take a look at the gushing blue water and small power station. Also some swimmers in the water with boards to float down the rapids. Out of ... read more
Lunch stop along Lake Dunstan
Mt Cook at sunset over Lake Pukaki
Foehn Cottage, Twizel

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island March 22nd 2021

It's our last day in these southern lakes so we figured we'd better spend some time locally. Firstly we set off for the Chinese Village to view the old huts and read about the Chinese history. I can only say that they were treated very badly and discriminated against when all they wanted to do was to work hard and send money back to their impoverished families in China. The houses were tiny and the doors not much more than 1.5 metres. We could learn a thing or two about building cheap houses with what is available - rocks, clay, wood and scrap metal. That's all. Amazing, considering the cold miserable area it must have been by the river. We then did our last daily pilgrimage to Provisions Cafe for coffee and take away picnic food. ... read more
Lake Hayes
Queenstown from the top of the Gondola
At Provisions Cafe

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Wanaka March 21st 2021

Today was a Wanaka day so up and over the Crown Range again. This is our most favourite place in all New Zealand so we wanted to go and soak it up while it's still peace and loveliness without mass tourism. The weather was perfect - clear, sunny and windless apart from the cloud at the top of the range to drive through. My gosh, I just LOVE this climate. No wind. Unbelievable. And the best part (I can hear the detractors already) you don't have to walk through hours of bush to see the view! I should mention that despite our love of the area it is very barren, rocky and hilly. No doubt winter is pretty severe too. The hills are covered in tussock, rocks, matagouri and merino sheep. Beauty with a rough background. ... read more
Diamond Lake set in a rocky basin
250 steps.  Are we there yet?
A view of L Wanaka from the Rocky Mountain Track

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Central Otago March 20th 2021

After a leisurely start today which was once again chilly and calm, we walked down to the village for our usual coffee at Provisions and to pick up some picnic food for lunch. We then walked down by the river to the Bike Hire location where we were set up on two mountain bikes. Since this was to be a half day trip I opted for a mountain bike and not an ebike which would have cost twice as much. The assistant assured us this was an undulating trail along the Arrow and Kawerau Rivers and shouldn't be too challenging. Now, please note, that I hate biking up hills hence the reason I have an ebike. What a mistake to make. The trail was indeed undulating but it also had some nasty hills to get up ... read more
Autumn is starting to arrive
Destination, Kawerau Bridge

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Cadrona March 19th 2021

The morning started cold and cloudy. We had our morning pilgrimage down town for our morning coffee and picnic supplies for lunch. We also visited the really good district museum which is a "must see". It shows the tough and unruly lives of those who came here in the early years mainly to seek gold. It seemed that most men would have wasted any gains on booze. There were 18 pubs just for Arrowtown and a whole lot more for Queenstown. It must have been awful. No wonder they brought in the temperance movement. The museum has a fine collection of items from the past and the portrayal of the various types of businesses (papers, bakers, banking, transport, education, supplies etc) was very well done. It's a bit disconcerting to see how many items I could ... read more
Love this sheep sculpture
Me at the summit with the Southern Alps in the distance
The historic Cardrona Hotel

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Lake Wakatipu March 18th 2021

Yesterday was mostly a driving day from Manapouri to Arrowtown so not too much to report other than we stopped at Te Anau for an hours walk on the lake front and also at Kingston to check it out at the foot of Lake Wakatipu. We are now based at Settlers Cottage Motel for most of the next week. We chose this place as it's the least like a motel and more like a homely cottage which it is. A good choice, with plenty of room and good heating since I'm sure the temperature plummeted to almost zero overnight despite the lovely calm weather. I guess this is the norm for being inland and it now being autumn. We spent the rest of the day checking out the village, visiting the information centre for information on ... read more
The Dart River with the Alps in the background
Me in the beech forest on the way to Lake Sylvan
Lake Sylvan from the viewing platform

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