The highs and lows of nature in New Zealand
Trip Start Nov 07, 2009
20Trip End Jun 17, 2010
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Where I stayed
As we went to Christchurch downtown the following morning, we caught a first glimpse of the autumn at daytime. Having followed summer on our trip so far all of a sudden we realised that we missed having seasons. Seeing the trees changing colours, walking through the leaves on the floor in a sunny crisp morning just felt so good! We were planning to try out some hiking trails and therefore hit the outdoor shops for buying some rain jackets and hiking boots
After our shopping spree we picked up our Jucy Crib (no, it's not a spelling mistake, it's called Jucy and not Juicy - that bet cost Matt £20), which was going to be our home for the following three weeks, and drove North to Blenheim, where we were staying with Huia and her lovely family. Huia and her mum were great hosts, Sander spoilt us with his cooking and Maui, their five month old son entertained us with his smiles and giggles - what a true sunshine! (Thanks so much guys, it was great seeing you all!) The view from the house was amazing! Soft rolling hills and the vinyards of Blenheim and on a clear day you can see the North island. As NZ is one of the new age wine countries, wine tasting is available all around Blenheim. Hmm... we had some truly good wine. We actually even found the cellar where the Sauvignon Blanc from our wedding day came from and we acquired four bottles for our Crib-trip.
From Blenheim we went further West on the North coast, past Nelson, to the Abel Tasman National Park, where we gave our new hiking boots a good one day test walk
The next fire we found in Franz Josef, village to the glacier of the same name. As it was much colder we felt justified to sit in front of a fire with a nice glass of wine. The morning after we went for a walk to the face of the glacier. Unfortunately the weather closed in so we didn't stay too long and gave Fox glacier a miss, heading straight to Queenstown.
Queenstown is probably the home of adrenaline sports. In fact, I believe they invented adrenaline. Next to bungee and swing jumps, you can go skydiving, paragliding, sit in an aerobatic stunt plane, hang-gliding, heli skiing, quad biking, rock climbing, abseiling, take a jet boat, rafting and canyoning. This makes kayaking, skiing, horse riding and mountain biking look like a walk in the park
Rain greeted us in Te Anau and but we were reassured by the receptionist on the campsite that you can see some marvellous waterfalls on the Milford Track when it rains. A rather optimistic way of looking at things at least! Meeting up with Naomi again (this time organised) and her boyfriend Wally for drinks that night, we sat over some beers and were discussing each others plan of action as by coincidence they booked the track too, only a day ahead of us.
Whilst they took off on the track, we still had a day to give our boots a final layer of waterproofing (we emptied a whole can in preparation for this trip) and rented some gaiters and over-trousers. Hiding from the rain in a cafe over some coffee and hot chocolate we kept on wondering into what mess we brought ourselves. Next morning came and we packed our back-packs, all in double and triple bin liners just to make sure that the clothes, sleeping bags and food stay dry. But the gods were with us and the rain stopped. So we set off, albeit with the warning of possible heavy rains from the Department of Conservation.
The first part of the track is only five km along the river and we admired the beauty and diversity of the moss in the rainforest
Back in Te Anau we heard that the town was completely cut off from the rest of the world due to flooding
On our way back to Christchurch we stopped for two nights in Arrowtown, a beautiful former gold rush town which has almost perfectly retained its original late 1800's architecture and we felt like walking through a toy town. Again we found a pub with a massive open fire and a comfy sofa! Arrowtown is only 20km from Queenstown so the next day we went for a three hours horse ride and on the way back to Arrowtown my shoulder devil took over and made me bungee jump off the bridge. A little bit shaken by my own courage we returned to Christchurch as we reached the end of our three weeks stay here.
We thoroughly enjoyed the wild beauty of New Zealand. From soft and gentle rolling hills to snow covered rocky mountains, from white sandy beaches to rough cliffs, from river to glaciers, from bushland to rainforest - you get it all.
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