March - May 2016
  • Day54

    Up we go, 3600ft straight up

    May 21, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌬 8 °C

    Today our plan was to do a fairly aggressive hike up to some peak. We found what sounded like the perfect hike and drove to Mt Alfred, just outside of Glenorchy. Unfortunately the directions didn't result in a clear entrance to a path so we drove around for over an hour before finally getting better directions from a cop. Unfortunately now our starting time wasn't giving us a lot of room for error being that it could get super sketchy and cold after sundown.

    Anywho we started our hike. From the get go it was up, literally straight up. And it never stopped, approximately 3500ft up in just over 2 miles. We started at about 1000ft and rose to 4510ft. By the end we were taking 100-200 steps and resting.

    A couple hundred feet from the top we hit the tree line and then it was almost like rock climbing except at this point my legs were not very enthusiastic with this idea of reaching the summit. Begrudgingly they made it.
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  • Day53

    What you do when it's overcast

    May 20, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

    Woke up today and it was overcast and rainy. As I noted before on a dirt road near Nelson a rock had hit something under the car and it made a noise when hitting about 100km/hr. Well at some point in the Haast pass Tom had hit a pot hole and now the noise was worse at 60km/hr and the steering wheel did funny things at about 10km/hr. So long story short we took it in and exchanged it for a new car before we did anymore damage.

    Then we head to the cute village of Arrowtown for lunch. Had pies and a Guinness in Irish pub and walked around the shops.

    After we got home we went to a place right next to us, the Craft beer house. Tom had a flight of 6 IPAs (including some double one).

    Went home and took a roast chicken out the oven and had a great meal.
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  • Day52

    Umm. Queenstown and golf. Yes please!

    May 19, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Woke up in the morning to a beautiful day. We had reserved today to check out the town. We walked around for a bit. It's a small CBD bustling with tour companies, outdoor gear shops and restaurants. It's situated right on Lake Wakatipu surrounded by towering mountains, luckily for us recently snow capped.

    We hadn't had breakfast so we opted for an early lunch at the reknowned 'Fergburger', known as the best eat in town. The burgers were pretty darn good but I'm not sure they beat an original Shake Shack.

    The weather was so lovely and it was forecast to get colder so we decided to go play golf. Best decision ever. The course was spectacular. I'll let the pics speak for themselves.

    That night we chilled at home and Tom cooked us tacos. He thought they were so good that he had 8 and not 10 because I was already appalled at the 8! They were pretty good though.
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  • Day51

    Through the mountains we go

    May 18, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    We were supposed to check out Fox Glacier and Lake Mathieson today but it was raining and they were both fogged in so we head southeast to Queenstown.

    We head through the Haast Pass over the mountain range. The weather cleared up a bit and we were able to see some beautiful snow covered peaks, waterfalls and classic rainforest vegetation. At one point we stopped for a short walk through the forest to a large waterfall.

    On the other side of the pass it opened up to a beautiful lake, actually 2 lakes so we stopped for our ceremonial glass of wine and took in the view.

    We got into Queenstown just before dark and checked into our hotel. We got 6 nights in Queenstown by trading in miles. I could see that the location was really good, right in town but the reviews had been very mixed with a lot of people complaining about cleanliness. So needless to say we were a little nervous.

    To our surprise the place was great. Nothing special but clean, full kitchen, couch and TV, washing machine and dryer, decent bathroom, daily cleaning and a comfortable bed.

    We head out to dinner and found a pub on the wharf literally 2 minutes walk from our place and had an excellent meal for NZ$20 each.

    We then tried to find World Bar, I had read had good music but to no avail and ended up at a dive pool bar. Played some pool with 2 friendly locals and called it a night.
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  • Day50

    Clear skies for the glacier

    May 17, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    The sun came out finally the next day. Annie even said we may see some snow on the peaks. It was 4C there and you know it was colder up top. When we had arrived the rental agent had said there was no snow and we would probably not see any.

    We were not disappointed. All along the west coast is a range of mountains that jump up dramatically from the ocean. We drove down to our next town 2 hours away admiring the snow covered peaks.

    We drove right to Franz Josef Glacier and was lucky enough for clear skies. We had our picnic lunch and then did the 45 minute walk to the glacier. On our way, who do we meet but the couple that we had kayaked with in Abel Tasman. Small world!

    They stop you quite far from the start of the glacier for safety reasons. We then jumped a fence (like everyone else) and climbed up to chill and get a better view. We broke out our mini wines and took in the view with a great Marlborough Pinot!

    We head back to our Airbnb and after a little confusion found our cottage. Really nice, on a farm right next to a paddock with miniature horses and a view of the mountains. Unfortunately at this point the clouds had moved in and we couldn't see much.

    After setting in we went into town for a drink, home for dinner and another successful day in NZ.
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  • Day49

    Sometimes you just need to relax

    May 16, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌬 12 °C

    The crazy night made way for a similar morning so we slept in for the first time in literally months. We had lost electricity so what was the point. I still think we got up around 10.

    The storm was strange in how it came and went in spits and starts. We had no electricity or internet so we read. We enjoyed the fresh bread. Later in the day the storm seemed to let up so I went into town to get hiking pants. Tom voted for the bed and more reading.

    That night we cooked another great meal with the fresh eggs they had left for us. The rain pittered and pattered a bit but we still decided to venture an outdoor bath and a little fire in the fire pit. The bath was more successful (think hot tub on a cool night).
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  • Day48

    No rest for the weary, almost literally

    May 15, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    Up early the next morning with a fairly long drive down to the West Coast. We had heard our luck with beautiful sunny weather was about to come to an end down there. We crossed over and almost as soon as we hit the coast the clouds came in.

    The ocean was certainly wild. The way we saw it, I can't imagine it is ever swimmable but apparent the west coast can get tropical flows of water at times.

    We checked out Pancake Rocks after our usual picnic lunch. Fascinating formations of rocks that look like crepes stacked up together. We were advised to go at high tide to see the blow holes. Unfortunately that was at six and we still had a couple hours to drive. Fortunately though because of the weather the sea was wilder than usual and we caught a few.

    On to Greymouth for supplies and our next place where we would be for 2 nights.

    This place was 12km off the main road. Our hosts were so sweet and hugging us within a few minutes. They have a cottage behind their house. You walk in between 2 greenhouses to a little clearing with chairs, tables and a fire pit. To the right is the 'mancave', a little hut with a wood stove and chairs to hangout. The fire had been going for a while and it was cozy. Behind the fire pit is an outdoor bathtub.

    To the left was the cabin. Tiny little thing but so cute and well organized. A bed with electric blankets and lots of regular ones. A heater on the wall and an extra portable one. A kitchen table. And a small kitchen arranged in a way that worked well, with everything you could possibly need. The fridge was stocked with milk and bacon, butter, fresh bread, eggs and homemade cookies left on the counter.

    Cooked dinner and hit the sack. It was raining when we went to bed but boy did it get worse. In the middle of the night I woke up to what I thought was a gun shot right next to my head, thunder. It continued on and off throughout the night. Quite honestly the craziest thunder and lightening storm I can remember.

    Welcome to New Zealand #3
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  • Day47

    Sunset in our luxury apartment

    May 14, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    From kayaking we rushed back to our next place in Nelson. This Airbnb had a balcony overlooking the water and we wanted to catch sunset. We just did. And boy we were not disappointed. The apartment was gorgeous, large balcony, spacious open planning living/dining area and bedroom, all with large windows overlooking the water. Finally cooked the dinner we had planned for 2 nights ago and then cuddled up on the couch to watch a movie.Read more

  • Day47

    Kayaking with seals

    May 14, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Woke up super early to make it to the Abel Tasman National Park, a couple hours away. Head to the gateway town of Montueka and booked a cruise/kayak tour. We only had the one day to see Abel Tasman. Big mistake as we only had time for this. If we had had more time we could have gone further into the park and done some hikes along with more kayaking and cruising. Next time I would overnight camp it too.

    Anywho, we drove a little north through a cute beach town of Kaiteriteri to Marahau. Had lunch on the water and checked into our tour.

    They loaded us up on a water taxi with our kayaks and dropped us off with our guide on a beach further north. There we were to wait for a couple who walked to this point from the south and another that had started their kayak from the north. Tom and I walk inland up to a hill with gorgeous views while we waited.

    The kayak was lovely. We went out to Adele island where there were a ton of Native New Zealand female sea lions. Unlike the males were saw in Kaikoura these looked more like seals, much smaller and much cuter than the men!

    Then we wondered our way back to where we had started, taking in the views.
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  • Day46

    Celeste, cars and dirt roads...

    May 13, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    Still enjoying the jetlag i caught the sunrise over our beautiful view. The wind storm was nowhere to be seen and it was nice and calm.

    We head out to Pelorus River, one of the great scenes of the Hobbit. We went for a lovely walk through the rainforest.

    On our way back i saw a small sign for a bay. We followed it down a dirt road for a long way and ended up at a new development in this gorgeous bay tucked on this amazing coast. May have broken something under the carriage on the rental car but who cares, it was worth the journey.

    Back home for a quick lunch enjoying the view before we were to be picked up for our wine tour.
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