Blogs from South Island, New Zealand, Oceania


Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Saint Arnaud October 1st 2020

The day dawned again with a partly overcast sky robbing us again of a full sunrise on the mountains surrounding Lake Rotoiti.There was still a hint of sun gleaming off the melting carpet of snow on the tops but we would be left to wonder what a fully clear sky might have bought by way of dramatic light as the sun rose above the mountains to the east. We joined the Hoofs again in their cottage for breakfast and then they readied themselves to head north to the Marlborough Sounds while we stayed encamped at the Tophouse for a further day and night. After the Hoofs departed we decided to put our feet up and spend the rest of the morning reading and just chilling out admiring the ever changing view of the mountains. Today was ... read more
New Zealand Bellbird just above on the track
View across to West Bay on the Peninsula Walk,St Arnaud
The edge of Mt Robert from a seat beside the lake just off the track

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Saint Arnaud September 30th 2020

It must have been overcast during the night as there was no frost on the ground outside our cottage at Tophouse,near St Arnaud but it was still decidedly chilly. The rising sun on the Mt Robert just across the lake from the DOC office down in the village was stunning and the forecast for the day was promising now that the 'weather bomb' was spinning off to the east far to the south of the country allowing an approaching high pressure to drape itself over New Zealand from the Tasman Sea for a day or two, bringing calm and clear conditions. I felt like I was still recovering after my brush with hypothermia a couple of days ago on the Heaphy Track so I 'booked' myself in for just the morning walk around the Honeydew Track ... read more
Brave woman,no wetsuit just in case she fell in !
Protected eels off the wharf at St Arnaud
Mt Robert

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Saint Arnaud September 29th 2020

The ‘weather bomb’ continued overnight with all three elements,wind,rain and thunder continuing although by the time daylight was making an impact on the day there did appear to be an easing of the conditions. One thing that had changed overnight was the wind direction which had moved from the west/norwest to the south and the air temperature outside had a definite chill to it. The radio news had details of a number of road closures including Highway 63, because of snow ,which we would eventually get to in our drive to St Arnaud today.This put some doubt around us reaching our destination but there was really no option but to head south back to Westport and see what the road closure news by the time we got there around midday. At least at Westport we had ... read more
Seas are still stormy near Granity
Traffic lights in the lower Buller Gorge
Not qute sure how this lookout got its name but it is just after Hawks Crag,Buller Gorge

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Kahurangi National Park September 28th 2020

There was more wind and rain along with a measure of thunder during the night and it didn’t appear as though there was going to be any moderation of the weather during the day. However we had come to the Buller with a plan in mind and a bit of a wild ‘weather bomb’ wasn’t going to put us off. To set ourselves up for the assault on the first hour or 3.9km of the Heaphy Track,one of New Zealand’s Great Walks we had to drive to Karamea some 90km north of Westport. The suggested time to walk the 7.8km round journey from the car park at the start of the track to Scott’s Beach and back was around 2 hours and with the trail described as easy to moderate it looked like that could be ... read more
The hikers(minus me) ready for the track
Two hours return to Scott's Beach....we shall see
The swing bridge in relative calm conditions at the start of the hike

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Westport September 27th 2020

As expected the weather bomb arrived overnight into Westport.A howling wind from the northwest,driving rain and some thunder announced its arrival some time during the night. Dawn bought passing heavy showers with horizontal rain and a wind that was incessant. However it wasn’t that bad to stop most of our plans for the day. The bush train at Charleston however was only taking adventurers who wanted to get into the bush to do some rafting and other activities on the river. So as we were only up for the bush train ride we gave the drive out to Charleston a miss and instead headed straight for the seal colony at Tauranga Bay,south of Westport and on the southern side of Cape Foulwind,so named by Captain Cook in 1770 when his ship was blown offshore. We arrived ... read more
Heading towards the seal colony,Tauranga Bay
Seals not interested in a swim today
Some great wave action at Tauranga Bay

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Westport September 26th 2020

We managed another 'sleep-in' but still beat the sun rising over the hills of Akaroa to be up and about ready for a long day on the road. Today we meet up with family,who we will call 'The Hoofs' to shorten any description as the blogs unfold over the next few days while they join us on the roadtrip for 5 nights.So we need to be up and on the road aiming to meet The Hoofs after their flight arrives around 9.30am in Christchurch and they pick up their rental car and head for the meeting point of Darfield. No breeze at all this morning meant we could have breakfast on our terrace and watch the morning walkers as they strolled along the waterfront,many of them exercising their dog or in quite a few instances,dogs. Our ... read more
The Bealey River crossing just before Arthurs Pass
Gretchen and Cormac in the horizontal rain at the Otira Viaduct lookout
Near the bottom of the Otira Gorge

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Akaroa September 25th 2020

We were so pleased that we did manage to switch off from working one day to being on holiday the next. There was no waking up at 5am or before thinking that we had to go to work with Gretchen on her way by 7.15am and me by 7.45am. We get get to hear the 6am news before a Fulton Hogan street sweeper truck drove by sweeping the few leaves that had fallen from trees onto the road at the seaside and disturbed the otherwise peaceful environment adjacent to our upstairs accommodation. We decided today that brunch, rather than breakfast was the way to go.This way we could lie in bed for longer and then having eaten 'breakfast' later in the morning we could bypass lunch and by the time dinner comes around we would be ... read more
Looking back towards Akaroa Village
Great uncle Patrick Mahoney resting place Akaroa cemetery
Wood pigeon getting drunk on the spring flowers

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Akaroa September 24th 2020

We were supposed to have visited Corsica in the Med back in May but COVID-19 reared its ugly head just before we were due to leave New Zealand and of course we didn't even get onto the aeroplane to take us to Auckland and then faraway places. Instead we traded our Air NZ tickets for flights to and from Christchurch and here we are Day One flying from Tauranga to Christchurch in the Air NZ Bombardier Q300 with a full load of travellers,many in holiday mode. Leaving Tauranga the weather looked threatening to the west,which was to be our takeover route and the pilot did warn of 'a few bumps' we would experience during the near 2 hour flight to Christchurch. We are sure he really meant 'air turbulence' as 'a few bumps' to us was ... read more
Russian Fudge courtesay of Air NZ
Akaroa Harbour from Hilltop Tavern
Multi coloured seaside boat sheds at Robinsons Bay,Akaroa Harbour

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Routeburn Track May 27th 2020

After finishing the Milford Track, I overnighted at Te Anau, before been picked up by the Ultimate Hikes coach to take us to the start of the Routeburn Track. The Routeburn Track is only a 3 day and 2 night trek, covering just over 32 kms. The start of the walk was up hill and after about an hour we came to Key Summit. This gave you some great views over the lake and towards the mountains. The trail was quite easy and the rainfall over the last few days, gave the landscape some great waterfalls and swollen rivers. When going through some tree lined areas, the track was surrounded by trees covered by moss and granfathers beard which gave it an enchanted look. Absolutely beautiful. Day two, was probably the best day of both treks. ... read more
Routeburn Track
Routeburn Track
Routeburn Track

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Milford Sound May 26th 2020

Having lived in New Zealand many years ago and loved the countries beauty, I decided to go to its South Island, which I had never been to before and walk the world famous Milford Track. The Milford Track is quite short only just over 50 kms, so I decided to add the Routeburn Track to the trip. For ease of booking, I decided to book the trip with a local company called Ultimate Hikes New Zealand and their Classis trip which covers both treks. In this blog, I will cover the Milford Track part of the trip. So in November 2019, I headed off to New Zealand and after an overnight stop in Auckland, arrived at Queenstown. I stayed just outside the town itself and found it easy to get into the town by local bus ... read more
Milford Track
Milford Track
Milford Sound

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