Our journey continues....
Trip Start Sep 21, 2009
19Trip End Ongoing
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After a 3 month summer holiday in Australia Tim and I are now back in New Zealand travelling around the South Island in our campervan. We left Australia early morning in a day that would finish in a 43 degree maximum temperature – thankfully we missed the heat! We arrived in Auckland to a windy, overcast 23 degrees, a full twenty degrees cooler than it was in Port Lincoln. Our lovely kiwi friends Sarah and Vanessa looked after our camper while we were gone and Sarah picked us up from the airport.
Quick observation – more and more Germans are wearing glasses and have short brown hair!?! – Weird!
Tim and I wanted to get the South Island as soon as possible as his Cloggie friend Lia was in Kaikoura
We left Auckland at 11 pm and decided we would drive for as long as Tim could stay awake. We camped in Cambridge a few hours out of Auckland and then started the drive down to the ferry in Wellington. The drive down was really nice even though we were super tired and were having trouble staying awake in the warm car. After lots of stops we drove into windy Wellington and booked on the 2:00 am ferry as it was really cheap. Our car parked in the ferry carpark with a view of the Beehive (New Zealand parliament house) we slept until 1 in the morning when we awoke to check into the ferry.
The ferry crossing takes 3 hours and once again we slept the whole way in super comfortable chairs. It was a little bit rough but as I was asleep I didnt really notice it. The ferry arrived at Picton and 6 am in the morning and we make our way to Kaikoura and to Lia.
Kaikoura was beautiful. Rocky beaches with seals on the coast and beautiful water when the sun came out. A really nice summer destination for a holiday the town was super relaxed. Lia hitchhiked to Christchurch to rent a car and Tim and I explored, had dinner and then rather than pay 40 dollars for an unpowered camping site in a holiday park drove out of town about an hour and camped alongside the road
We had decided to take the inland scenic route to Lake Tekapo, however the road was not as scenic as the road suggested. There really was nothing at all to see and when we got to Tekapo it was really raining. There were no free camping places there – every car park had no camping signs. We saw the weather was forcast as sunny for the next day and as we were heading to Mt Cook we decided to drive on further so we could arrive at Mt Cook village early in the morning and enjoy a full day of walks.
As there were no real facilities at Lake Tekpo for self catering we set up a kitchen out the front of the visitor information centre, cooking a Mexican feast. The tour buses full of Asians thought it was hilarious that we were cooking there but it was the only placewe could find that was under shelter! We drove on to Lake Pukaki and awoke to a blue bird day withamazing views of Mt Cook over the lake. We were so lucky to have nice weather as some people go to Mt Cook for days and never see the mountain. It was an amazing drive in with beautiful scenery. The day was spent walking to the terminus of the Hooker Glacier through the Hooker Valley. It was an amazing walk with streams, glaciers, beautiful flowers and suspension bridges
The next day we drove on to Queenstown and decided to spend a few days there before heading on to Milford Sound. We booked our Milford Cruise on a day that was forecast sunny but we are now staying in Milford to wake up early for our cruise tomorrow morning and it has done nothing but rain all day!!! Fingers crossed for tomorrow.
Queenstown was beautiful and so different from anything on the north island. Tim and I finally saw why so many people enjoy New Zealand so much. Thefacilities are good for travellers and the scenery was amazing. We took the gondola up to the lookout and then had 3 luge rides each which was a lot of fun
Our plan for today was to drive the Milford Road slow doing a few of the hikes along the way however it was rained all day. The road was amazing though – waterfalls cascading all down the walls of the peaks around, a scary tunnel leading down into the sound and huge parrots. We are staying in another campground tonight as we have to stay here and be up early for our cruise in the morning.
Our plans after this is to drive the Southern Scenic Route along the south coast in Dunedin on the other side. There is not much to see but the road has lots of wildlife and rugged coast and it will be nice to have a few nights of free camping! Lia will then leave us in Dunedin and go to Christchurch for her flight back home. Tim and I will cut through the middle on a different road, cutting past Queenstown onto the glaciers and the West Coast.
So all is well and good and we are enjoying travelling again. Although packed full of tourists this is a beautiful part of the world and something everyone should see at least once in there life.