Blogs from Arthur's Pass National Park, South Island, New Zealand, Oceania


Yesterday, February 28, we hiked up Mt Iron in Wanaka and then headed to the Fox Glacier Lake Matheson Track. There we saw just a peek of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman due to the cloud cover. The walk around the lake was beautiful, like walking around a Hobbit movie set! Today’s hikes were in Arthur’s Pass! There were lots of steps up steep paths and at one point we were gifted with a wonderful waterfall! Finally, we were lucky to catch a beautiful sunset at the end of the day in Hokitika!... read more

Our drive to Greymouth today was full of anticipation - we had received the good news that our consignment had finally been delivered! So with homes to find for a lot of extra kit, and several camera batteries to charge, we planned a short day. Our first stop took us to a Seal Colony at Cape Foulwind - the name of the place explained the crashing waves! A beautiful spot lined by snow capped mountains in the far distance. A handful of seals, mothers and pups of about six months, were well camouflaged by the dark rocks and some distance away. The second stop of the journey took us to Pancake Rocks, at Punakaiki. Limestone formations, once under the sea themselves, hold their own in solid forms, stacks and arches in the raging sea. To this ... read more
How Far From Home?
Pancake Rocks
Pancake Rocks

So as anyone reading my few blogs will know they are very inconsistent, partly due to lack of internet while I'm traveling but mostly me being too lazy to write them once I get home... After the hard word from my wife saying it would not be in my best interests to go over seas this year I had to turn my sights to bird watching in my home country of New Zealand. So I took this chance to take a shot at some of our more obscure natives, the main two being the NZ Rock Wren and the Okarito Brown Kiwi, the latter turned out to be a complete failure due to very heavy rain so ill focus this brief blog on the Rock Wrens. The New Zealand Rock Wren is an endangered Passerine which ... read more

Today we were to travel by train from the East Coast to the West Coast. The Tranzalpine boasts one of the most scenic rail trips in the world. Unfortunately, that doesn't really hold up when a former cyclone arrives with rain. While we did get to see some beautiful country with the fall season just underway, the weather was not ideal. The observation car was a bit cold and we did get wet (again).... read more

After returning to Westport on Tuesday morning (7thMarch), we finally put the West Coast in our rearviewmirror and headed inland through the scenic lower stretches of the Buller Gorge; before turning south and passing through the former gold-mining town of Reefton – which according to the local tourist propaganda was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to receive electric street lighting. With rain falling for most of the day – including a long-overdue downpour that finally washed away the past week's worth of West Coast gravel road dust accumulation – we wisely decided to call an early halt to proceedings at the Slab Hut Creek DOC campground, where I was able to finally finish reading Heinrich Harrer's excellent 'Seven Years in Tibet' while Linda indulged her inner German engineer by constructing a flood channel in ... read more
Spectacular Road
The Devil's Postcard
Stoney Stream

On m'a souvent dit : qui écoute la météo reste au bristot ! L'adage c'est encore avéré juste, j'ai repris la route avec Lorenz un autostoppeur allemand de 19 ans, et nous avons eu des jours magnifiques. Les filles se sépareront en haut d'Arthur's pass, Cécile partira en stop, mais Susan récupérera Henry un autostoppeur chillien de 28 ans. Randonnée le premier jour à la cascade Devils Punchbowl, et le lendemain Avalanche Peak (1833m) Il fait un vent là haut, bon sang ! Le soir free camp site au paradis au Lake Paerson, des couleurs magiques, une vue fantastique. Quel bonheur de conduire ici. Arrêt à Castel Hill comme prévu, cet endroit est magique (In 2002 it was named a "Spiritual Center of the Universe" by the Dalai Lama) puis route vers la péninsule de Banks ... read more
Waterfall Devils Punchbowl
Avalanche peak (1833m)

22 mai: Debout assez tôt car on avait prévu d'aller marcher un peu le matin avant de reprendre la route mais il pleuvait!! Malgré cela on a quand même décidé d'aller se promener un peu et aller au point de vue. Le sentier était en forêt et donc très humide et boueux ! J'ai découvert que mes chaussures étaient inadaptées et pas étanches! En arrivant à un espèce de point de vue on ne voyait pas le lac en contre bas donc on a rebrousser chemin. On n'allait pas mieux voir plus haut. Donc retour au van et reprise de la route direction Christchurch . On s'est arrêtées à Arthur's Pass pour déjeuner et c'est ici qu'on peut voir le mieux les fameux Kea, perroquets alpins, que je voulais absolument voir. Il n'y en a qu'un ... read more
Christchurch, Arthur's Pass, Lake Brunner (9)
Christchurch, Arthur's Pass, Lake Brunner (17)

Nov teden sva začela s premikom z vzhodne obale južnega otoka na zahodno. Iz Kaikoure sva se ob obali najprej podala južno proti Christchurchu. Na poti sva prečkala številne široke rečne struge, po katerih spomladi in ob nalivih z gora odteka voda. Najin prvi postanek je bil v zalivu Gore Bay, kjer sva si ogledala znamenite klife Cathedral Cliffs. Pred mestom Kaiapoi je cesta zavila v notranjost - usmerili smo se proti najbolj znanemu novozelandskemu prelazu Arthur's Pass. Ko je v 19. stoletju Novo Zelandijo zajela zlata mrzlica, so evropski priseljenci potrebovali povezavo med zahodom, kjer so bila nahajališča zlata, in vzhodom, kjer so živeli. V ta namen so zgradili cestno in železniško povezavo med Hokitiko in Christchurchom. Pri tem so moral prečkati Južne Alpe, ki ločejo vzhod od zahoda. Najtežji del poti je bil čez ... read more
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Viadukt Okita

My friends from China and Malaysia, Xiao and Rachel, were also leaving Kaikoura the same day I was so we travelled to the next town (and the biggest city in the South Island) together - Christchurch! Christchurch was devastated with two major earthquakes in the last few years and the damage it has done, both physically and emotionally, is still very much noticeable. Despite the damage to the city centre and all the historic buildings, it was lovely to see the beautiful graffiti and art showcasing ChChs positivity through it all. I stayed a night in Christchurch with Kira's (see: Kira is a friend I made in an Auckland hostel, who ended up being my flatmate when I lived there for a few months and worked for Greenpeace) family, the Mance-Freires! Chris and Ceci, her parents, ... read more

From Christchurch, on the East Coast we drove over Arthur's Pass, 737m above sea level, to the West Coast. The journey across the Pass was amazing, so many incredible views through breathtaking countryside. In the Summer it is easy to forget how formidable it must be to live in an area which can be so quickly transformed by the weather. We stayed in Arthur's Pass YH which was newly built and very nice. Having dropped off our bags, we carried on to Punakaiki on the coast to see Pancake Rocks. As the name implies the rocks have the appearance of a pile of pancakes but at high tide the waves come crashing in and spurt out of holes in the rock. It was a long journey but well worth it! On Weds we drove south to ... read more

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