Blogs from Nelson Lakes National Park, South Island, New Zealand, Oceania


Our host said to us when we arrived that the weather pattern had been the same each day for a few weeks recently, cloud at dawn which gradually broke to brilliant sunshine. And this morning was no different. The thermometer showed 2C so not much above freezing but the cloud cover was definitely clearing as arose to start the day. It wasn’t warm enough for breakfast on the terrace so we planned our day inside as we fed ourselves getting bolstered for a walk along the shores of Lake Rotoiti going as far as we thought we could manage with the knowledge that we also had to walk the same distance back to the car. We wanted a bit more knowledge of the trails along and around the lake shore so the obvious place was the ... read more
Looking south,Lake Rotoiti.The point in the mid distance was our walk target
Lake Rotoiti
One of the shingle bays enroute

Our mornings in Hanmer Springs so far had all started with cloud and a threat of rain but this morning the story was different with broken cloud and blue sky apparent. This bodes well for our drive over Lewis Pass and onto Lake Rotoiti when we expect the mountain scenery should be spectacular. Gretchen had washed off much of the visible dust on the car that we had picked up in Molesworth Station but there was still plenty in the sills in the door and other places where the hose water didn’t reach and it was hard to avoid dusting ones clothes when climbing into a seat. We avoided the bakery we had been to for the last 3 days this morning for food for lunch on the road somewhere and decided that a break in ... read more
From just past the summit of Lewis Pass
Motorcyclists enjoying the curves,Lewis Pass
Driving the Lewis Pass

Arriving in St Arnaud, another small town - hamlet? - in the 'wop wops' was stunning. Beautifully designed houses set among trees, towering hills or mountains as their backdrop and just a stone's throw from Lake Rotoiti. While there had been no fresh for several days, the peaks were still snowy and highlighted in white. It was very windy; then, it got stronger overnight! We had left a cosy 18C in Marahau, now it was just 4C. Our choice of walk for the day was dictated by our kit and the snowline; the anticipated 5 hour round trip of Mount Robert wasn't to be. So choosing a lower route through bush at first, then taking the trail up the mountain to detour, was actually a great find. The route opened up to views back over the ... read more
Nelson Lakes NP
Lake Rotoiti
Nelson Lakes NP

Our last hiking adventure to South Island, New Zealand in February-March 2018 was fantastic! Period!. We had some great hiking in the Mount Richmond Alpine Park which we accessed via Nelson, we also had some wild weather from the get go when we flew from Sydney to Christchurch and right into the CYCLONE GITA that affected many parts of the South Island (including some townships being cut off by landslide damage and extensive road closures). All internal NZ flights into and out of Christchurch were cancelled so we had to scramble to find a hotel room in Christchurch and it was crazy as so many visitors were in same predicament as us.....we tried booking rooms using online services but when we called the actual hotel to make sure we had a physical room, it was often ... read more
Slaty Hut - Mt Richmond Alpine National Park
Slaty Hut to Mt Rintout
Lake Chalice

Christ, it knows how to rain here. The cyclone split in two, clobbered places north and south of where we were and pretty much left us alone. So Day 2 of the tour dawned bright and beautiful, with departure planned for nine o’clock. And therefore, when we were still faffing about at ten thirty, it was bound to mean trouble ahead, trouble in the form of rain. Heavy rain. Heading south from Nelson, it took fourteen glorious minutes of riding in sunshine for us to encounter the first splash of the stuff. Hah! I thought. Cunningly, we had brought our BMW Rallye 3 suits that had a gore-tex inner lining for just such an eventuality. These liners were stored in the panniers. But since the tough exterior Cordura fabric would probably hold out until we got ... read more
Lunch Stop
Cheltenham House, Hamner Spings
Unused Snooker Facility

My third entry for the trip to South Island will be shorter and more succinct as I can tell, but not show in too much detail, what we've been up to. Firstly, if you are ever in Central South Island, around Nelson Lakes, then I FIRMLY recommend you camp at Murchison. The hosts are welcoming, it's very clean and a perfect base for adventure. Secondly, I did what I said I would in the post 2 days ago on day 3 : I rested and fished in the Buller River for the day. Wowzers! 6 very large fresh water fish caught on Spam! I released them all as fresh water fish always tastes like mud to me. BBQ garlic lamb shish kebabs. Bed. Thirdly : You are going to be bitten a lot by Sandflies, mossies ... read more

Après 1 semaine passée à Nelson, nous prenons la route vers les Nelson Lakes (Rotoiti et Rotoroa). Le temps est clément et nous profitons donc des paysages enchantés de l'automne... mais aussi des températures qui descendent rapidement! On découvre déjà les bords de route gelés et la neige sur les toits des voitures. Au bout d'1h30 nous arrivons au lac Rotoiti. La température glaciale et l'air humide ne nous incitent pas à prendre un des chemins de randonnée proposés, aussi simples soient-ils. On profite juste du moment et d'être là, dans un lieu magique, au calme et entouré de chants d'oiseaux qui se répondent. L'accès au lac Rotoroa se trouve bien plus loin par la route et encore plus par un sentier de randonnée. Nous ne nous y arrêtons pas car nous avons beaucoup de route ... read more
entre Nelson et Nelson Lakes
entre Nelson et Nelson Lakes
entre Nelson et Nelson Lakes

Je quitte Takaka vers midi le 4 janvier, mon colis n'est toujours pas arrivé...rien ne sert de l'attendre je dois organiser le transfert depuis la nouvelle poste de réception. Arrivée à Nelson Lake National Park vers 17h, Susan et Cécile sont encore là. Nous mangeons ensemble. Elles partent le lendemain, on échange nos programmes. Le lendemain rando de 24 km pour moi (rando de deux jours, bouclée en un jour car la hut Angelus est complète) Superbe, mais j'ai modifié le chemin de retour pour faire une boucle, et cela c'est avéré compliqué, descente dans un canyon, au milieu d'une rivière qui commençait en ruisseau et fini en gros torrent, à traverser plusieurs fois... puis un jeu de piste pour daltonien : trouver les triangles oranges en forêt... ma patience à été mise à l'épreuve... Aujourd'hui ... read more
Lake Rotoiti au reveil
Content de trouver la neige
Rando Hut Angelus

This morning Robin and Sandra drove us to Glenhope to visit Sandra's brother, Paul and his wife, Jean. Paul and Jean have 100 acres of land bordering Kahurangi National Park. When we arrived Jean greeted us with a pump pack of Nivea hand lotion which she recommended that we put on to deter the sandflies. Somewhat sceptical I slathered my arms with Nivea and then sprayed Aeroguard on my pants and around my hiking boots ... just to be sure! Jean is an avid collector, keen gardener and talented artist and they have created an amazing property that is a mixture of sheep farm, river, botanic garden, bush, museum, art gallery and home. They purchased the property about 15 years ago from the leader of a commune whose followers had deserted him. It is completely off ... read more
Jean's amazing room of collectibles
The big lake
The outhouse

We escaped Sydney and all the lead up mayhem of the annual Christmas celebrations to head across the Tasman to Picton in the South Island of New Zealand for the start of Dave’s adventure program (22+ days of hiking – largely no electricity, no wifi, no hot showers, no ‘get out of jail’ cards….you get the vibe). Side note: we had experienced the amazing Department of Conservation (DoC) series of Tramping Huts located on various trails, when we did some hikes in Queenstown / Wanaka back in Jan/Feb 2014 –refer earlier post Queen Charlotte Sound (QCS) track – The Warm Up 4 days of hiking (Mon 7/12 to Fri 11/12) We started with our ‘warm up’ hike to awaken our legs, feet and backs with a 4 day-hike of the Queen Charlotte Sound (QCS) track, which ... read more
QCS walk
Crystal Clear....

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