Mounting Isobel before a relaxing spa

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Kawatiri Historic Reserve

Flag of New Zealand  , Nelson,
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We woke up and cooked some sausage and egg butties for breakfast whilst drinking tea like it was going out of fashion, we also somehow managed to find ourselves watching the biggest loser, an Australian programme where lots of huge people go and train for weeks losing loads of weight, however it is a reality tv concept and if people do not lose enough weight they disappear from the programme. It is amazing what you may find interesting on TV when you haven't really watched it for 7 months. Anyway we were also watching the updates on the news from yet more earthquakes in Christchurch. I spoke to a guy in the North Island who said it is still tremoring a little bit down there at the moment. I don’t class factor 5 on the richter scale as tremoring a little bit. Well we are only 100km away and hadn’t really felt anything. We did check the records of recent earthquakes and found that there was one while we were on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in that location, perhaps those were the noises we were hearing.

It was therefore a fairly late start for us and I was still trying to convince the Lady that we would mountain bike instead of walk today. We popped into the I-site and read the $3 map, we decided we would climb Mount Isobel, so replaced the map after trying to memorise it and headed off. The evening seemed to have been rainy and windy however in the mountains it had clearly been snowing and the forests and peaks were all covered in snow. Never mind if we can do the Tongariro Alpine crossing we can do this. The views were glorious and at the bottom of the mountain the light coating of snow on the fern trees made for spectacular views. As the snow started to melt though large snowballs and fine snow showers fell from the tress all over the pathway going down your back. As the snow got thicker we were able to start making snow men and placing them on handrails on staircases or on the steps for other people following us. We got to the waterfall which was gorgeous probably about 45m high but we have seen quite a few waterfalls on our trip. We then set off to the summit up the path which said "this track is unsuitable in some weather conditions", not sure what type of conditions they could mean but they couldn’t have meant snow could they?

The climb was steep and slippery but we took our time, we both had thoroughly wet feet again and we stopped for some lunch on top of a cliff looking out across the green valley over to another set of mountains. We continued walking and reached the summit of Mt Isobel I think it is only 1300m but still it’s a good bit of exercise in the snow which turns tramping into a whole new ball game. We descended at maximum speed we had a few near misses I slipped over at one point but that was nowhere near as bad as when the lady decided to put her foot right on the edge of the path to avoid some knee high snow and nearly disappeared over the edge (one gentle push while no-one was looking and I could halve the cost of the rest of the trip).

We got back to the car and immediately decided it was time to hit the spa. Hanmer Springs Spa is perhaps the most famous on South Island and it doesn’t cost the world to get in. At about $12 (6) for about 15 different pools it’s pretty good). For us though despite the snow capped mountains being visable from some parts of some pools, it didn’t measure up to the Polynesian Spa at Rotorua. We spent about one and a half hours there and as the clock hit 4pm we knew that unless we left soon we would end up staying another night in Hanmer Springs. There are loads of walks and mountain bike tracks here but we suspect that this will be the case everywhere on South Island so we feel like it is time to move on.

We drove through some of the most wonderful mountain scenery as we drove inland from Hanmer, with endless supplies of snow capped mountains and forests. I think the route was Lewis Pass? I’m not quite sure because we are a few days behind with the blog again. It probably took about 3 hours of driving before we finally made the town where we found a free DOC campsite. It was cold by this time and not long off going dark so Erica made us go to the chippy! It’s horrible to say but it is cheaper to get a bag of chips than cook anything and the bags of chips are huge. They are so unhealthy though it is a real double edged sword.  Whoever would have thought that two scoops meant a newspaper size bag – yes the size of a page of the Daily Mirror!
Slideshow Report as Spam


Gregg on

After looking at your pics I think you may be able to subsidize your trip by selling them as postcards.....some real stunners there!!!!

How big are these scoops Andrew?!?!? Did you mistake it for a shovel,lol......the size of a page of the Daily Mirror?!?!? (Maybe you could go a step further and take a broadsheet newspaper in to show them??? ;) )

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